A standing start for Yangon water sports

A group of aspiring stand-up paddlers has been testing its skills on Inya Lake in a program supported by a Thai company with a big name in board sports in order to promote the activities in Myanmar.

By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

MYANMAR’S “beautiful” water surfaces are ideal for stand-up paddle boarding, says Mr Daniel Hasulyo, and he should know.

Hasulyo, 25, a Hungarian who is one of the world’s top stand-up paddle boarders, highlighted the sport’s growth potential in Myanmar in an interview at the Yangon Sailing Club on Inya Lake one morning last month.

He was there to conduct a training session sponsored by one of the world’s biggest makers of paddle boards and windsurfers, Bangkok-based Starboard, established in 1994.

About 20 young people, many from underprivileged families, gingerly explored new experiences in balance as they gradually became more adept at propelling themselves across the water.

Hasulyo, who began SUP when he was nine and with his brother Bruno is a member of Team Starboard International, said he welcomed the opportunity to visit Myanmar and help to promote interest in board sports.

He hoped that Myanmar’s strong sport culture would help to grow interest in paddle-boarding as well as windsurfing.

Stand-up paddling was physically demanding because paddlers had to use their bodies like an engine, he told Frontier.

“It is, therefore, a very classical sport and it needs a very classical body type to be able to perform very well out there,” he said.

Starboard is also supporting a program aimed at introducing young people from a range of backgrounds to the exhilarating thrills of windsurfing.

Ma Sandy Min Sat, who works in the environmental department at Starboard and is program director of the Myanmar windsurfing team, said the move to promote the sports were aimed mainly at young people from underprivileged families who lived near waterways or the coast.

“This sport can provide a brighter future for young people,” she told…

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