The Mynavi Japan Cup was held over the weekend in Chigaski just south of Tokyo. I went into the race wanting to succeed in both the 18km distance and survivor sprint races. 

After taking an overnight flight on Wednesday from Perth I arrived at Narita airport and was driven south by the Starboard Japan crew. As checkin wasn’t till late in the day I had a paddle for an hour to shake off the jet lag. I then took the rest of the time before the race resting up so I could prepare the body properly for competition. 

The distance race was on Saturday afternoon at 130pm in cold, overcast and rainy conditions. There was no swell but the offshore wind created some small chops to chase (and paddle into) throughout the 3.5 lap race. Early on I was in a pack with Matt Nottage, Tim Cyprien and Kenny before making a break away on the second lap after many attempts. From there I tried to remain focused and maintain my lead for the next ten kilometres. It was awesome to be able to retain the distance title from last year but the job wasn’t done yet. 

The sprint style races always make me nervous as it’s where I usually make my most mistakes and it’s costly in such short racing. It was another long cold day on the beach but it was great to see over 150 people start in the 6km race! The Survivor race was three 500m M-Shape lap races with a few guys getting knocked out each race. I tried to have good starts in the prelim rounds and then managed to conserve the best I could before race three – the final. In the final I had a good start and got to the first bouy in the lead. From there I tried to maintain composure and work hard on the small swells coming in from the last can. For me it was my first sprint race style win so definitely a feather in the cap and some confidence for future racing. 

Massive thankyou to Starboard Japan for all the support when we are in town. Can’t wait to head back next year! 

Michael Booth.