EuroChallenge - Skis, prep, course

Friday, 30 April 2010 16:43 | Written by 
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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

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