McCoy on a high after maiden Paris Crossing

Phil McCoy celebrates after the Paris Crossing
Phil McCoy celebrates after the Paris Crossing
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Phil McCoy spoke of his pride after finishing as the second-best British rider in the Nautic Stand Up Paddle Paris Crossing.

Phil McCoy spoke of his pride after finishing as the second-best British rider in the Nautic Stand Up Paddle Paris Crossing.

The Emsworth talent was 27th overall in the biggest stand up paddleboard race in the world, which took place on the River Seine in Paris, France.

McCoy only began racing competitively a year ago but has made rapid progress.

Having taken part in a number of races across Britain, he was signed by board makers Fanatic, which subsequently made him eligible for the Nautic Stand Up Paddle Paris Crossing.

In a field of 700 competitors from across the globe, over a 15km course that ended at the Eiffel Tower, McCoy finished 27th with a time of 82min 11sec.

He was 9.51 behind winner Arthur Arutkin, from France.

McCoy revealed taking part in the race was ‘something else’ and it was a great experience for him going forward.

He said: ‘The race was amazing. To be able to go up against the best in the world was a big learning curve because it was my first time against some really strong worldwide competition.

‘There was carnage at the start line, with 700 riders all starting at the same time, but after 4km the riders spread out and we were able to get some length.

‘It is a lot like road cycling because you can draft behind people.

‘I have taken part in events all over the UK, including a 10km race along the River Thames, but this was something else.

‘To be able to qualify for the race, riders had to be part of a sponsored team.

‘Fanatic took me on in the summer, which meant I could apply for the race.

‘I finished on the podium in a few events over the summer and they then approached me and they took me on.’

McCoy, who works as a part-time physiotherapist, first took up stand up paddle boarding five years ago after being made aware of the physical benefits the sport has.

It’s something he has never looked back on and is reaping the rewards.

McCoy believes stand up paddleboarding is a sport that anyone can take part in, no matter what experience they have.

He added: ‘A lot of people who were into stand up paddling said how much they enjoyed it and how motivating it was.

‘It had a huge impact on their health and fitness. It’s a sport people can learn at any level – you don’t have to have stood on a board before.

‘You can take it up quickly, learn some technique and as soon as you’ve done that you’re free to get out there and get going.

‘You can find new places to ride and meet new people – it’s a lot of fun.’

Written by Tom Bonnett