Summertime is Surfski Time - in Italy

Sunday, 08 August 2010 15:18 | Written by  Mario Graziani
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Gigi Serra - promising Italian Ski Paddler Gigi Serra - promising Italian Ski Paddler

Summer is now in full blast and the early exit of Italy from the World Cup; Valentino Rossi’s injury; Ferrari’s F1 woes and the Berlusconi sexual shenanigans have all been put aside and the Italians are making their way to the beach... and surfskis are being tried out and used more and more often.

Italian men in white and purple Speedos trying out surfskis… I can’t get used to it!  Female paddlers on skis are a rarity… only one Italian woman paddles a surfski!

Italian Surfski - waves on the med

Waves on the Med! Ohana Mana Cup Sardegna

But nevertheless the Mediterranean winds bring some waves so all those with a ski in Italy are trying their hand at riding some runs and dreaming of Rob’s exploits in Cape Town. I get asked over and over about the Millers Run.

Events

There are 5 main events which now actively invite surfskis to participate

In May there was the Island of Giglio race (23km) which was a great success with surfski paddlers having a whale of a time in the conditions.

Here the number of surfski entrants is increasing by the year with the German contingent showing the Italians how it should be done. Michael Dobler (Germany) won, just in front of Italy’s Iduino Santoni.

Allwave, the organisers of the race also unveiled their new surfski , the CX. Check them out at www.allwave.it

Allwave CX Ski

Trying out the Allwave CX

Allwave CX Surfski

Mario of Allwave regarding his creation - the Lamborghini of the waves?!

All smiled after paddling it and they reckon that their flat water tests show that they are moving in the right direction. They claim that the ski is as fast as the other top skis and is very stable - but the hull design is quite different from any other ski around.

(Their attitude was quite refreshing. When asked by a top paddler which ski they had copied they gave him stick about Italian design and that he should be ashamed about even thinking of copying.)

Italian Surfski Series

We have since had events in Bibione, Bergeggi and there will shortly be one at Rimini.

Epic Kayaks Italy have stepped forward and offered a ski as a prize to the athlete with the best overall performance at these events… with the prize being awarded at The Ohana Mana race in Sardegna at the end of September.

Ohana Mana Cup

The Ohana Mana  will be the big race to end the summer season and  the organisers are hoping for quite a few international entrants.

There is normally a stiff breeze during this race so conditions will probably be good with a decent downwind section.

For more info on the Ohana Mana Cup, click here for the Facebook page

What is apparent is that quite a few of the marathon K1 paddlers like Gigi Serra, the winner of the last Ohana, have turned to surfskis for their fair weather training.  Some of the top Italian white water paddlers like Mariano Bifano and Jaka Jazbek are now also on surfskis at every opportunity and it will be interesting to see how they fare when competing in the larger European races and possibly in Dubai.

Jaka (3rd at the New York Mayor’s Cup last year) has already shown that he is up to it and Mariano will be just as good.

The sprinters are also getting into it…. And if the conditions are flat they dominate.

Italian Surfski

There are some doubles too...

Surfski Appassionati

Things  are certainly not growing as fast as we wished  but the effort put  by some “appassionati” like the Tulku club in Rome  and Roberto the founder of the Italian Surfski Mania website (http://www.surfskimania.com/) are all helping to get the movement going.

Roberto even managed to get people to go and test skis when there was snow this last European winter.

We have Challenges

One of the big hindrances is the length limitation of what you may carry on your roof-rack. The length of your car plus 30% of that length.

A 6.4 m ski…. A long stationwagon!

And the Carabinieri are not shy about pulling you over.

Make me a good 2-piece surfski and I’ll sell you a ton of them!

[Editor: Mario is famous for his tiny roof-rack, seen in the photo below.  When he sent me this pic some time ago he claimed that whenever he was stopped by the carabinieri, he’d wave his South African passport and yell, ”Non capisco!  Non capisco!”]

Italian roofracks!

Mario Graziani's roof-racks can fit eight skis!!!


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