Record-breakers enjoy Good Friday feeling at Hayling

Marie Buchanan and Paul Simmons. Picture: Allan Cross/nationalwatersportsfestival.com

Marie Buchanan and Paul Simmons. Picture: Allan Cross/nationalwatersportsfestival.com

Alex Thomson celebrates finishing the Vendee Globe Picture: Lloyd Images

Public urged to come and cheer home Gosport sailor Alex Thomson on Saturday

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Paul Simmons and Rob Kent were among the winners at the annual Round Hayling Island Race as more than 200 competitors enjoyed a Good Friday on the water.

With the help of flat water and light winds, stand-up paddleboarder Simmons clocked 2hr 25min to smash his record by more than nine minutes.

Rob Kent, front left, at the start of the windsurfing race. Picture: Mike Owens/mikeowensphotography.com

Rob Kent, front left, at the start of the windsurfing race. Picture: Mike Owens/mikeowensphotography.com

He quickly opened up a 150m lead on Mark Slater, Tim Harley and Philip Plume before powering home to take the title.

Marie Buchanan bettered her ladies’ record by an amazing 15 minutes as she completed the 14-mile circumnavigation in 2.38.

She had to stay cool, though, after Susanna Rice made a scintillating start to the contest.

The first race on the water featured 14 outrigger canoes, with the nine OC6s powering away from the start line.

Ali Collier and the mixed OC6 team from Paddlesports Racing Canoe Club enjoyed early leads.

But by the bridge, Bournemouth Men and Thor Harley’s all-male team from OCU had hit the front.

And it was the latter who claimed victory, smashing the record set by runners-up Bournemouth Men with a time of 1.41.

Meanwhile, Nick Kethro took the Frontier OC 1 prize and Andy Trunks the Frontier OC 2 Award.

The windsurfers endured a slow start, though, as they waited for the sea breeze to make its mark.

John Pete, from Bartley Sailing Club, was the first to escape the start-line melee and get into clear air.

But it did not take long for multiple winner Kent to work his way to the front of the fleet, edging past Chris Gibson after shooting under the bridge.

However, progress was slow until the sea breeze picked up for the finale and his winning time of 2.20 was a couple of minutes down on last year.

He was followed in by Paul Leone and Lewis Barnes, while Annette Kent retained her ladies’ title – shaving nine minutes off last year’s achievement.

There were also shorter courses over on Chichester Harbour for SUP and windsurfers.

Hampshire’s Shane Van-Leeuwen won the nine-mile SUP battle, while Emsworth’s Paul Jackson-Cole won the four-mile race as he overhauled early leader Neil Letchford.

Dan Lytton, of Hayling Island, won the shorter windsurfing contest.

A packed prize giving saw more than £3,000 worth of prizes awarded and some fine trophies, thanks to the support of sponsors The SUP Company, Tushingham, Red Paddle, Starboard, Severne and Fullers Brewery.

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