Local Stand Up Paddle Boarder John Harvey will be part of the British Team to head to the inaugural International Surfing Association World Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship in Peru this month. The title will be held at Miraflores, Lima from 20th-25th February and will feature more than 20 countries and more than 100 surfers competing in SUP surfing, SUP racing and prone paddleboard divisions.
John’s been SUP racing since August and has made waves in the sport quickly, finishing 3rd in his first race and 2nd in the British Championships at Watergate Bay. We caught up with the Jersey champ to find out more.
Job? – I buy phones for Sure Mobile
Favourite ice cream flavour? Ben and Jerry’s Coconutterly fair. It’s the devil!
Favourite animal? My Jack Russell, Master Splinter
Perfect weekend? I’d surf in the morning, paddle along the coast in the afternoon and surf in the evening, then come out of the water to find my wife’s got the BBQ lit and a cold beer waiting. That’s love!
Favourite food? Tough one – either my wife’s chicken curry or her spaghetti meatballs. Both are amazing
Favourite SUP expression? Ocean Sweeper
Pet hate? People who moan when it’s too hot in the summer
Favourite place to eat in Jersey? Either Salty Dog or El Tico, it depends on the occasion.
Guilty pleasure? Robin Hood Chicken Tikka pizza with extra spinach, chillies, olives, pineapple, and anchovies.
Where in the world would you like to be right now? Maui – but saying that if it was summer I’d say right here in Jersey.
When did you start stand up paddling?
Two years ago but I’ve surfed since I was 11.
How did you get interested in stand up paddling? A friend (Andre Le Geyt) had one which he let me have a go on. I was instantly hooked and bought my own 12ft board which was great for learning to SUP surf and for cruising round the coast. Then I bought a Starboard 9ft Surf SUP board as I wanted to do some contests. Once I found out there were other types of SUP discipline, I bought a SUP race board and started training for race competitions in the UK.
What’s the secret of being a successful stand up paddler? I guess it’s the same for any sport – you need to take the time to study the best techniques, work out a good diet and a balanced training plan. You also need to have a lot of mental focus to set goals and achieve them.
How hard has it been to get this far? I’ve been very fortunate to secure financial sponsorship to help me get to Peru for the World Championships from Sure Mobile and Enhance Group Ltd who are very keen to support local talent in the island. Jono’s Water Sports who has the largest range of SUP’s on the island helps me with boards. I’m also lucky to have a VERY supportive wife who puts up with me going away to competitions and training all the time. Love you Jo Jo.
Complete this sentence, ‘Not many people know that I….’ can’t watch movies where animals get hurt, die or abandoned, I start crying my eyes out. As a kid I would be a mess at the end of The Littlest Hobo.
Any accidents? Tell us about the worst…
I was 19 and riding along the 5 mile road on a little Yamaha scooter. I was standing up on the seat to check the surf and didn’t notice the car in front had stopped to turn. I went straight into the back of the car and broke my leg.
How do you prepare for a big competition? I’ll do a lot of water training in the weeks before, but on the week of the race I go to Karen O’Connor’s Bikram yoga class to stretch out the body and get nice and loose. It also helps me relax and mentally prepare.
Where’s the best place to stand up paddle in the world? It would have to be Maui. They love all water sports over there and do some amazing distance paddles between the other islands.
Tell us about your favourite Jersey SUP moment. Any summer day when I’m just paddling around a part of the coast alone. It’s amazingly beautiful and the perspective from a Stand Up is so different from being in a canoe.
What’s your most recent competition – and how did you do? The British SUP Championships in Watergate Bay Cornwall where I finished 2nd in the distance race.
What’s your motto? In life you can always reach a little further.
How can people get into SUP in Jersey? Jono’s Watersports at St Brelades Bay in the summer hires out SUPs but if anyone wants to start now then they can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve set up a race series in Jersey and we hold a race every 2 weeks normally at St Brelade. Almost every race we have someone new trying it out and once they’ve done one they always come back. I hope to set up a SUP club in the summer and have more race competitions as well as introduce a SUP surf series for those who don’t want to race.