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Shamaal Gold? Simon de Speville

Friday, 19 November 2010 08:19 | Written by 
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Simon de Speville - 14th (1st junior) at the Island Shamaal in Mauritius Simon de Speville - 14th (1st junior) at the Island Shamaal in Mauritius Credits: Hywell Waters

When Simon de Speville came 14th in this year’s Island Shamaal in Mauritius, the race sponsors sat up and took notice.  Not only is Simon the top Mauritian paddler – but he’s only 17 years old.

Extraordinary Potential

With the final two races of the ISPA series, the Dragon Run in Hong Kong, and the Shamaal in Dubai, The Shamaal committee decided to assist Simon to attend both events.

“As part of our efforts to underpin growth in the sport,” said Shamaal’s Gavin Dickinson, “we feel that’s very important that potential future Gardiners, Robinsons, Mockes and Chalupskys are not lost to surfski – and we believe that by assisting Simon on his first steps into the international paddling scene, we may perhaps have struck gold and unearthed a special talent.”

The Shamaal Team already have a special relationship with the island country – the Island Shamaal Mauritius Ocean Classic being the result of an alliance between the Mauritian paddling fraternity headed up by Dominic Henry, Albert de D’Unienville of the Naiade Resort Group and the Shamaal Group.

Sponsorship

The sponsorship package from Shamaal comprised a new Epic V10 surfski; and a fully funded trip to the Dragon Run and Dubai Shamaal.

Simon de Speville

“’Abundant Generosity’ is the way I’d like to describe our philosophy,” said Gavin Dickinson.  “We believe in ‘give and you’ll get in return’ – and this is also driving a new project that will be launched at the Dubai Shamaal, ‘Paddle for the Planet’.  Watch this space!”

Interview

We spoke with Simon a few days ago...

Simon de Speville

How old are you?

17 – I turn 18 next April.  I currently attend the Lycée La Bourdonnais 

When did you start paddling?

I’m not sure – I think I was about 6 years old.  But I started paddling surfski 3 years ago.

How often do you race in Mauritius?

In Mauritius there are only 3 big races in the year, the MOC, the Labourdonnais Challenge (from Grand Baie to Port-Louis, 20km), and the Anahita (from Pointe D'Esny to Trou-d'eau Douce, 28km), but often I go to paddle in the north to race with Gerard Martin (called Coulou!).

How often do you train - and what training do you do?

I train on my own mostly, and when Ryan Anderson is in Mauritius he coaches me in technique and gives me training programs, and there is also Dominic Henry and my father who helps me sometimes.

I try to train every morning and afternoon when I don't have too much homework. So in the morning I do some sprints and the afternoon I run or I go to the gym. At the week end I paddle long distance and when there are some nice conditions I go for a downwind (Bel-ombre to le Morne)

What boat do you paddle?

My first surfski was a v10 sport in fibreglass, I learned to paddle in that boat, then last year I bought a Fenn Mako elite in carbon, and this year a change for an Epic V10 ultra :)

You must be looking forward to the races in Hong Kong and Dubai - what are your goals for the races?

My goal for the Hong Kong and Dubai races is to achieve a better ranking that I did in Mauritius (14th)… But my first target is to be the first junior to cross the finish line in the both races!

When do you finish school?  Do you know what you're going to do after school?  Will you be able to continue paddling?

I will do my last exam and finish school in June 2011 :) After school I would like to have a gap year just for paddling and to do some races in other countries. Then I would like to go to university in Perth in Australia, and I hope I will be able to carry on paddling surfski.

What do you like most about surfski paddling?

Since I was born I have lived just next to the sea, so I like to be on water!  So I like the fact that surfski is not only a good sport, but it’s also on the sea…  My preference is to ride waves – downwind paddling.

Which paddler do you most look up to - who's your inspiration?!

I don't know which paddler I most look up to, but I would like to have the stroke of Dawid Mocke, the abs and arms of Hank McGregor, and the mind set of Oscar Chalupsky!!!

What sports do you do other than surfski?

I used to play rugby but I stopped in order to focus on paddling. I swim sometimes.

Good luck for the trip – and see you Dubai!

Thanks!

Dubai Shamaal


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