Grant van der Walt (SA surfski Champion as of 3 days ago), Dawid Mocke (winner of the 2-star Nelson Mandela Bay Classic on Friday), Matt Bouman (who so nearly beat both vd Walt AND Mocke), Jeremy Cotter (2nd at the Bridge to Beach in Sydney a few weeks ago)...


Published in Europe
Friday, 30 April 2010 05:45

EuroChallenge Update...

One day to go until the 2010 EuroChallenge; Club Nautic in Villa Joyosa is packed with athletes preparing their skis and venturing out onto the sea.

Michele Eray EuroChallenge 2010

Published in Europe

The impact of the Icelandic ash cloud never seems to end…  Now our GPS Tracking units for the race are stranded somewhere between the UK (where they were used for an event) and South Africa…!

EuroChallenge 2010

Published in Europe
Friday, 30 April 2010 14:43

EuroChallenge - Skis, prep, course

Organised chaos was the name of the day this morning here in Villa Joyosa, as swarms of paddlers arrived to claim and set up their boats.

EuroChallenge Boat Park

Boat Park

Nelo Ski – first looks

I took the opportunity of taking the Nelo ski out for a spin.  A ten knot breeze was kicking up a great little swell – enough to catch some runs on the way back.  What’s the ski like?  For someone who spends very little time in a canoe, the feeling of the seat is quite different; for one thing it’s much higher than, say, the Mako Elite that I paddle at home.

Nelo Surfski

Trying the new Nelo ski

For all that, the ski is surprisingly stable – about the same as the Mako Elite.

The ski that I paddled had a half-height foot plate.  This also feels strange to a paddler used to pushing against his heels.  (Nelo are offering the choice of half- or full-height foot-plates.)

Apart from that, I got used to the feel quite quickly and it seemed to launch onto the runs nicely.

I’d love to take it on a big downwind...

Tommy Karls (Sweden)

Karls was all smiles as he unwrapped a brand new Epic V12 Elite.  (This is the first time I’ve seen one of these skis in Epic’s ultimate light construction – the black accentuates the ski’s lines).  Karls and compatriot Jonas Fagan (who also bought one) will be transporting them back to Sweden after the race.  “Better equipment, less training!” grinned Karls.

Eurochallenge 2010

Tommy Karls and Joas Fagan unwrap their new toys

Karls said he was looking forward to EuroChallenge.  He came 14th last year and is looking to improve his position.  He’s mainly here to have fun though.  He won an Olympic Silver Medal as part of Sweden’s K4 team in the ’84 Olympics.

British Team

Ivan Lawler, 6-time world marathon champion and ex-Olympian, was also upbeat.  “I’ve been training a solid twice a week,” he said, tongue in cheek.  “Seriously I am feeling good – definitely fit enough to do 25km!”

Ivan Lawler

Ivan Lawler takes to the water

There’s a friendly rivalry between the British paddlers – British surf lifesaving multiple champion Mark Ressel and Glenn Eldridge have been training hard and have their sights set on Lawler.

“Finishing within ten minutes of the winner would be good,” said Lawler.  “Realistically the South Africans have the advantage on the sea.”

Busto - to ski or not to ski?

When the Nelo squad set out on a warm-up paddle, Busto was carrying a Nelo Sea Vanquish kayak.  “I’m not sure why,” said Nelo’s Andre Santos.  “I guess he just feels more comfortable in the kayak.  It depends on the conditions tomorrow.  Maybe he’ll be back in the ski.”


Paddling the SeaVanquish?

Sipre Vortex

The photos below are of a new Sipre ski design.  To me it looks something like an attack submarine – with bulges on the nose and tail...

But it’s certainly a radical and highly original shaped deck.

Sipre Vortex

The Sipre Vortex

It has an innovative and exceptionally easy to use footplate length adjustment- you simply insert two fingers into holes in the footplate and squeeze a pair of triggers to release the slider.

Another feature of the ski is the handle inset into the side of the hull next to the cockpit.  Small detail but it makes a world of difference to be able to grip the ski – especially in a strong wind.

Vortext noseSipre Vortex

Published in Europe

Spain’s K1 marathon superstar, Manuel Busto Fernandez confirmed this week that he’s coming back to Eurochallenge.  He came fourth in last year’s race behind Dawid Mocke, Matt Bouman and Sean Rice – all of whom have confirmed their participation in the 2010 event.

EuroChallenge 2009

Published in Europe
Thursday, 13 May 2010 11:20

EuroChallenge Video

Dave Blow posted this video taken at the EuroChallenge race in Vilajoiosa, Spain on 1 May. The race was an awesome spectacle - some 230 paddlers lined up at the mass start on the beach in front of the beautiful medieval town...

Published in Europe
Monday, 03 May 2010 05:15

EuroChallenge 2010: news clip, pics

EuroChallenge 2010 has been on Spanish TV repeatedly over the last couple of days. See below the clip that was broadcast on Saturday evening.

Published in Europe

Domination – doubled...  Dawid Mocke betrayed no sign of fatigue as he crossed the line well clear of Sean Rice while his wife Nikki celebrated a return to racing by winning the women’s event.

EuroChallenge 2010 Winners

Published in Europe
Thursday, 29 April 2010 07:09

Duel in the Sun - EuroChallenge 2010

Villajoyosa, Spain: Two of South Africa’s brightest young prospects are here with the ambition to take out the EuroChallenge title – and each other.

Sean Rice v Tom Schilperoort

Published in Europe
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 06:14

European Round-up

It’s all happening in Europe – races in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands; Malta receives a shipment of skis; Nelo launches a range of skis.  Here’s a round-up of some of the news from Europe…

Published in Latest Surfski News
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