Tommy Karls wins the Caribbean Sufski Tour

Friday, 29 October 2010 08:42 | Written by  Stuart Knaggs
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Henrique Silva (Monserrat in background) Henrique Silva (Monserrat in background)

Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe saw the finish of the final leg of the 2010 Caribbean surfski Tour on Sunday 24 October. Tommy Karls (Sweden) powered away from Nuno Santos to win the final race and the Tour.

It all began more than a week earlier when competitors from around the world started to arrive in St Martin to acclimatise and prepare for the tour. Various warm-up sessions saw paddlers from Spain, Portugal, Australia, USA and Sweden getting used to the Caribbean conditions before the first race.

Soualiga Challenge, 17 October

Now in its sixth year, the Soualiga Challenge between Gustavia in St Barths and Oyster Pond in St Martin is becoming a well established event.

Soualiga Start Gustavia

Start of the Soualiga Challenge at Gustavia

This year, the wind abandoned us, leaving the paddlers to grind out the 25km in hot, calm conditions that contrasted sharply with the strong winds and awkward chop of 2009. The hotspot was around 9km into the race, where the sprint was won by Tommy Karls.

Flat water off St. Barths

Flat water off St. Barths

Henrique Silva of Portugal (Nelo factory Team) won comfortably from previous winner Franck Fifils and Tommy Karls, who had problems with the heat after the effort made for the hotspot. The ladies category was won by Shelly Chadburn (Barron), making a long awaited return to paddling, staying ahead of adventure racers Nina Chaves from Trinidad and Terry De Wit from St Martin.

Franck Fifils

Franck Fifils, previous winner, on the flat calm sea

The event sponsor, Perrier provided welcome ice cold product at the finish. The race was rounded off with the now familiar Paella lunch and award ceremony at Captain Oliver's Restaurant.

The Tour Continues

For those still standing, the day was wrapped up with traditional rum punch and BBQ chicken and ribs on the beach. The next day was spent recovering before boarding the Leopard 46, BAGHEERA, kindly sponsored by The Moorings and Tui Marine.

Bagheera

Bagheera - floating race HQ/transport/accommodation courtesy of The Moorings

We set out at sunset for a night crossing to Antigua, with most of the paddlers for the next race and all of the surfskis for the tour on board. It was a new experience for some and there were a few green faces before we reached our destination at around 9am on Tuesday morning. The remainder of the day was spent lazing around, social paddling and loading the boats for transportation to the start for Wednesday's race and a get pre-race dinner and briefing at Trappas restaurant.

Monster / Carib - Antigua Downwind Challenge, 20 October

Hopes for wind were dashed on Wednesday morning when we woke to calm, showery morning. The start at Halfmoon Bay was delayed for a few minutes for the rain to clear so and then we were off!

Halfmoon Bay, Antigua

Cloudy Start at Halfmoon Bay, Antigua

The Nelo Hotspot was about 300m off the beach, so the pace was frantic but soon settled down once Henrique had the $200 in the bag. There was a small following swell that could be worked in the first half of the race but this disappeared after the paddlers went inside Cades reef and the final 5km of the race was paddled in flat, very hot conditions to the finish at Turner's Beach.

Tommy Karls - Antigua

Tommy Karls powers up

Tommy Karls seemed to have found his warm weather settings and finished clear ahead of Antonio Girion of Spain and Henrique Silva. Once more, the race was rounded off with drinks and lunch on the type of perfect blue water beach that only the tropics can deliver.

And the Parties continue!

Antigua's party crowd turned out in force for Wednesday evening's awards bash at Johnny Coconut's in English Harbour. A quiet day on Thursday was definitely required and was spent by most exploring, swimming and a fun training session in the late afternoon, doing ins and outs in the approaches to English Harbour.

An early night after a tasty dinner at Shelly's house got us ready for the next part of the trip.

Dawn on Friday saw BAGHEERA heading out once again, this time bound for the Saintes, a small group of islands off the southern tip of Guadeloupe. The day was spent motoring into a gentle headwind, crossing the channel to Guadeloupe in a few hours and then spending the rest of the morning and early afternoon watching the green coast of Guadeloupe slide by before arriving in the Saintes soon after 3pm.

Unfortunately, difficulties with anchoring meant that it was dark before we got ashore so all that was left was to pick a restaurant from a few very interesting and inviting spots on the main street. The wind kicked in on Saturday and we spent the day with more relaxing, some easy paddling and race prep, with great expectations for the final race on Sunday.

Karukera Challenge

Bad News. The wind and swell are here, 20 knots plus and a short 2m chop but its in the wrong direction. Northerly conditions that set in would make the crossing from the Saintes to Basse Terre unpleasant for all and dangerous for some of the paddlers so the course was changed.

We all loaded up again and set off for the new start at Trois Riviers on the mainland. After a delayed start, the course took the paddlers upwind for about 2km to the Nelo Hotspot, before the race turned for 10km of superfun downwind blast to the lighthouse at Vieux-Fort. After an early lead and wining the hotspot, Nelo's Nuno Santos faded to allow Henrique Silva and Tommy Karls battle it out for the finish.

Nuno Santos

Nuno Santos in some proper downwind conditions off Guadeloupe

In the end, after 7km of flatwater – the final two of which were upwind, Tommy managed to pull ahead, to win the final race an the tour overall.

Tommy Karls Henrique Silva

Henrique Silva dices with eventual winner Tommy Karls

The day's racing was followed by a hurried lunch and awards ceremony where the winners of the Karukera Challenge and the Caribbean Surfski Tour were honoured and the draw was held for the surfski donated by Custom Kayaks for all who completed the three races of the tour.

Full Results

 

   Soualiga Ch Antigua DW Karukera Ch  
Name Country Code Time Pos Time Pos Time Pos Tot
Tommy KARLS SWE MV/S1 02:04:16 3 02:00:18 1 01:15:49 1 5
Henrique SILVA POR MS/S1 02:00:34 1 02:06:54 3 01:16:33 2 6
Antonio GIORON ESP MV/S1 02:08:25 4 02:02:24 2 01:18:41 5 11
Franck FIFILS FRA/G MV/S1 02:01:11 2 DNS 11 01:17:36 4 17
Stuart KNAGGS FRA/G MV/S1 02:19:43 7 02:15:32 4 01:27:34 11 22
Patrice AIMABLE-EDOUARD FRA/G MV/S1 02:21:50 8 DNS 11 01:24:53 10 29
Nuno SANTOS POR MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:16:54 3 37
Juan Carlos SANCHEZ ESP MV/S1 02:30:51 15 02:32:23 5 01:36:26 18 38
Jose RAMALO POR MV/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:19:44 6 40
Angus & Narelle URQUHART AUS MD/S2 02:11:49 5 DNS 11 DNS 25 41
Olivier / Jerome TANTON / LEHEGARAT FRA/G MV/S2 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:21:46 7 41
Olivier TANTON FRA/G MV/S1 02:13:02 6 DNS 11 DNS 25 42
Mederick LEWIS FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:21:51 8 42
Michael JABOT FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:24:45 9 43
Jolyon FERRON AHO MJ/S1 02:23:07 9 DNS 11 DNS 25 45
Fernando MARCENARO USA MV/S1 02:26:40 13 02:45:45 7 DNS 25 45
Alexander NEBE AHO MS/S1 02:24:27 10 DNS 11 DNS 25 46
Shelly CHADBURN-BARRON ANU FO/S1 02:55:40 18 02:56:12 8 1:40:37 20 46
Xavier / Anthony JUIOUJOU / QUIMEBY FRA/G MV/S2 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:30:13 12 46
Frits BUS AHO MM/S1 02:26:07 11 DNS 11 DNS 25 47
Bernard MORIN FRA/M MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:30:14 13 47
Andrew HOITSEMA SXM MV/S1 02:38:37 16 02:37:02 6 DNS 25 47
JP PISCIONE AHO MV/S1 02:26:26 12 DNS 11 DNS 25 48
Brice / Jean Michel GAVARIN / BONHOMME FRA/G MV/S2 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:31:29 14 48
Baptiste DAVID FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:31:50 15 49
Claude DUFLO FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:34:23 16 50
Tim BURKE USA MV/S1 02:30:43 14 DNS 11 DNS 25 50
Loris BIANCO FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:36:06 17 51
Dick LUTTEKES AHO MV/S1 02:42:29 17 DNS 11 DNS 25 53
Philippe MICHEL FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:38:20 19 53
Thierry PERSONNE AHO MV/S1 03:09:40 20 03:13:02 9 DNS 25 54
Jocelyn MICHEL FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:42:44 21 55
Nina CHAVES TNT FO/S1 02:59:21 19 DNS 11 DNS 25 55
Philippe LE JEANNIC FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 01:43:33 22 56
Michael BACON AHO MV/S1 03:24:01 21 DNS 11 DNS 25 57
Jean Marc EZELIN FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 DNF 23 57
Terry DEWIT AHO FO/S1 03:24:05 22 DNS 11 DNS 25 58
Sylvain CABURET ANU MS/S1 DNS 23 DNF 10 DNS 25 58
Anthony CHAULET FRA/G MS/S1 DNS 23 DNS 11 DNF 24 58

Nelo Hotspots won by: Tommy Karls, Henrique Silva, Nuno Santos

Custom Kayaks lucky draw prize won by Henrique Silva who kindly donated the ski to the paddling school in Antigua.

Special thanks to The Moorings, Captain Oliver's Resort, Perrier, Monster Energy Drink and Carib Beer

Event information

Caribbean

17-24 October 2010

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