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Record Entry for The Exe Hammer Challenge 2017

Over 100 stand-up paddleboarders took part in the annual Exe Hammer Challenge on Saturday 30th September, bringing a huge display of colour and action to the Estuary as the Armada paddled from Topsham To Exmouth. Despite the poor forcast competitors travelled from all over south England to take part in this event which grows in popularity each year. Check the action HERE

The paddleboard armada’s course ran towards Turf Lodge and Starcoss then out through the mouth of the River Exe and on to the landing at the Rockfish Restaurant for the finish. Participants faced a strong headwind the whole way with an increasing wind during the afternoon, the tail enders faced the biggest force. The front of the fleet was quickly dominated by the more experienced paddlers who used the river’s topography to gain extra distance on their rivals despite the challenging wind.


From the start, it was clear that previous Exe Hammer winner, Paul Simmons from Salcombe was a strong contender for another victory. Sticking hard to his line and focussed on perfecting each stroke, Paul took just 62 minutes to complete the challenge. He led by a clear 5 minutes to finish ahead of his partner- Marie Buchanan, an incredible 2nd overall & a long lead in the womans division.

A really impressive performance from Marie Buchan, last year’s winner in the ladies’ category took Gold again this year, finishing just a few minutes behind her partner, Paul Simmons. The couple train and travel all over the world. Other local Paddlers also had great finishes with brothers George & Henry Cromwell Brown taking silver in 14ft & 12ft 6″classes.

As the wind & rain built the Paddleboarders linned themselves along the estuary, some really struggling in the headwind but finding that inner strength to finish. Out of the 103 entries, 100 of them finished. Welcomed by a huge portion of fresh fish & chips supplied by local sponsor, Rockfish -Exmouth and a pint of local brew – ‘Yellow Hammer’ donated by ‘Hanlons Brewery’

In the other divisions, the popular 12ft 6″ inflatable class was won by Crispin Jones, with Denzil Williamns taking silver & from Exmouth – Stuart Baker in 3rd.

Meanwhile the Round Nose division – the most popular race for recreational paddleboarders saw Alex Large from Topsham take Gold again with local load Nick Tate in silver & local kitesurfer- Olly Gibbs in 3rd.. In the ladies’ category  Exe Pilates Coach – Ali Martinue took Gold closely folowed by Katie Roundsmith in silver & Mandy Johnson in Bronze.

The Exe Hammer Challenge was also sponsored by RockFish Exmouth, Hanlon’s Brewery, Trouts Boat Yard, Fanatic SUP, Sroka SUP, Starboard SUP and OllyBars



14ft Inflatable: Henry Galliford 1st / 2nd Jack Compton/ 3rd Lucy King
14ft Hard mens: 1st Paul Simmons/ 2nd George Cromwell Brown/ 3rd Matthew Wall
14ft Hard Womans: 1st Marie Buchanan/ 2nd Holly Henderson/ 3rd Elaine Farqharson
12ft 6″ Inflatable Mens 1st Crispin Jones/ 2nd Denzil Williams/ 3rd Stuart Baker 
12ft 6″ Inftable womans 1st Sally Newman/2nd Helen Williams/ 3rd Sarah Ayling
12ft6″Hard Mens 1st Andy Dalrymple/ 2nd Henry Cornwell Brown/ 3rd Tom Sylvester
Under12ft 6-Round Nose Mens 1st Alex Large/ 2nd Nick Tate/ 3rd Olly Gibbs
Under 12ft 6- Round Nose Womans 1st Ali Martinue/ 2nd Katie Roundsmith 3rd: Mandy Johnson
Youth 1st Jon Dobel/ 2nd Oscar Dennison/ 3rd Wesley Peddlepower