EuroChallenge 2009 – Milestone for Surfski in Europe

Wednesday, 15 April 2009 02:40 | Written by 
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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)...

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World Stars

The presence of these stars at any race in South Africa, Hawaii or Australia would be guaranteed to make people sit up and take notice.

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But this race (World Series 3-star) is in Spain - it's almost unheard of for South African and especially Australian paddlers to bother with a race in Europe.  After all, "there's no surfski paddling in Europe!"  Wrong!  In the last couple of years, surfski paddling has been taking off in Europe, big time.  (I had an email from Erik Wildenstam from Sweden a few days ago.  Erik said that he can't unfortunately come down to Spain for business reasons - but that he was on his way out to go train, with twenty seven other surfski paddlers.  The ice has only just melted in Sweden...   Oh - and they're racing flat out up there too.  Go check out http://www.seamasters.se/ for news of the Swedish Surfski Championships, now in their third year.)

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Top French and Spanish Athletes

Forgive me - I haven't mentioned the European stars yet.  After battling with the conditions in Dubai last year, you can bet that Manuel Busto Fernandes will be coming out all guns firing. 

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The French team is using EuroChallenge as a trial race to select their team for the Durban World Cup and the Caribbean Tour. 

The entry list is crowded with Spanish paddlers of course, this being a "home game", but there are paddlers from all over Europe signed up...

Titanic Battle between Fenn and Epic

I'll be writing more about this - but watch how Epic has been winning races this year - Cape Point Challenge (2-star), Perth (4-star), King of the Harbour (1-star), Pennypinchers Easter Surfski Challenge (1-star).  

So far Fenn have takenTwenty Beaches (2-star), which was won by Murray Stewart, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Classic (2-star), won by Dawid Mocke.

The rivalry between these two great companies is classic and there's plenty more to come. 

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EuroChallenge will see Fenn's Dawid Mocke (SA) & Jeremy Cotter (Aus) up against Epic's Matt Bouman (SA) and Grant van der Walt (SA)...  (Hank McGregor won't be in Spain, he's focusing on the Molokai Challenge where he wants to change his record of coming twice in successive races.) 

Again - I haven't mentioned any European paddlers... but Busto was riding a Fenn in Dubai. 

New Team - Think Kayaks

Almost every race sees a stand-off between the Epic and Fenn-sponsored paddlers.  But a new team is in the making...  Think Kayaks are sponsoring two up and coming young South African athletes, Tom Schilperoord and Sean Rice to race in Spain.  If all goes well, they will constitute the Think Kayaks Team - and will compete in all the big World Series races for the rest of the season. 

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Daryl Remmler, owner of Think Kayaks is looking forward to watching the pair race the Think boats.  "I'm very excited to have these two guys racing for Think," he said. "The new Uno is very capable, and in the hands of Tom and Sean I expect they can do some damage." 

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EuroChallenge Entries close in a few days

For those who haven't entered yet - make your way to http://www.eurochallenge.es/ and sign up NOW.  Entries close in a few days time.

Live Commentary, Pics, Video

Surfski.info will be present in Alicante and we'll be doing live commentary on http://www.surfski.info/ - bookmark it now. The race starts at 11:30AM, commentary will begin at 11:00!


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