Friday, 21 December 2012

McGregor, Nikki Mocke, the Mocke brothers and Eray/Mocke, RSA champions of surfski

Photo: Owen Middleton
Last weekend was held at Fish Hoek (RSA), the last race of the Surfski World Series, the Cape Town Downwind, which was also the Sout African National Championships. With no Australian in the field, other competitors arrived from Portugal, Great Britain, Germany or Belgium were not going to dispute the clear favoritism of the locals, mainly the Jasper and Dawid Mocke, who were playing at home. And they got victory in the doubles race of Monday 17th, but were dissapointed in the singles with a 5th and 6th place far away from their aim. Hank McGregor and Matt Bouman showed the Durban way of surfskiing by leading last half of the race, with McGregor retaining the SA title got already in 2011 and Bouman in silver. Bronze was for an impressive Simon van Gysen, who made a terrific final kilometres.

Friday, 7 December 2012

McGregor sets an appointment with Dusi after a great victory at the 50 Miler

Water level was perfect this year. Photo Darren Goddard (Cycho Media)
After seven years Hank McGregor was coming back to race the 50 Miler, which takes place over stages 2 and 3 of the Dusi Unlimited, the big race of the South African summer. McGregor, who lives and trains in Durban, place of arrival of both races, has always found more difficult to win at home than anywhere else in the world. The long portages are often a handicap difficult to compensate in the river. But maybe the fact that the water level was perfect this last weekend and that the organizers decided to open for paddling some sections that are of compulsory portage in the Dusi, have been factors that have played a chance for McGregor this time.

On Saturday, McGregor wanted from the very start to make clear that he was going for victory, setting a very strong pace that only could be followed by Len Jenkins, Andrew Birkett and the young Don Wewege, but it didn't take very long before Jenkins and McGregor, that in absence of Grant van der Walt were then the clear favorites, decided it was time to push a little more to let Wewege and Birkett fall back.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Charles Evans: forgotten biography of a late ‘60s Marathon paddler

In collaboration with Sportscene

Nick Harding | London - From time to time a legend may be unintentionally forgotten if they lead a humble existence out of the lime-light post-paddling career or if their successes were not documented.
Charles Evans at the Liffey Descent (IRL), in the mid '60s
SPORTSCENE would like to pay tribute to such a hallmark name of '60s paddling resulting from a request from his family to celebrate a decade of incredible achievement.
Dr Charles Evans was a World Champion long-distance paddler and member of the Royal Canoe Club. A modest Briton, he currently lives in Cornwall and has no idea about this article! His illustrious career spanned 7 years, 1963-1970, representing Britain. Highlights, below, included winning 8 National Championships.

1965 – * National Champion: Spain
1966 – * National Champion: Spain
1968 – * National Champion: Britain, Spain * Captain: British team
1969 – * National Champion: Britain, Spain * Captain: British team
1970 – * National Champion: Britain, Denmark * Captain: British team

His reputation took off in Spain, his dominance came from winning one race the most, the Sella, where he took three K1 victories. Below is the featured piece of news at the ABC Newspaper at that time.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Devizes to Westminster race, out of the IFC World Series for 2013

A few days ago, talking about the results of the 2012 World Series Marathon, we made a first approach to what, from our point of view, it's maybe not the best organization by the ICF. Introduced in the 2010 season, the world series formed by 10 long distance classic races is not taking off among the international elite.
Then, some days ago, the ICF wrote to the Royal Canoe Club of London's about their decision of not to include by fourth consecutive year the Devizes to Westminster race in the series. According to the letter, signed by Tim Cornish, a permanent member of the ICF Marathon, the race is "too hard", which makes few international paddlers be attracted by it.
The Royal Canoe Club, organizer of the event and world's oldest
canoeing club, has communicated its strong disagreement with the decision, despite being willing to pay the fee of 600 euros payable to the ICF. This was one of the points that we discussed in the previous article and, frankly, does not seem excessive royalties and an not a big amount to attract international paddlers if that money was used to finance their trips, as proposed. Still, the fact that the Royal Canoe Club had no trouble to pay the fee indicates that the decision does respond properly to a change of course (or at least a "rethought") to these international series.
But are they taking steps in the right direction? Certainly it won't be me the one who puts into question the reasons of a committee with so experienced members as Jørn Cronberg, Alan Laws, Ruud Hejselaar or Tim Cornish himself (winner in his youth of many of these important races) . But it is also true that many decisions have been controversial over the years. This time, the fact of rejecting a race for being too hard (200 km. in 4 stages for the K1s) can be seen in two ways:

Monday, 12 November 2012

Tim Jacobs retain title at the Steelcase Dragon Run of surfski in Hong Kong

Tim Jacobs (AUS) entering the finish line to retain title. Photo: Nora Tam
The Australian Tim Jacobs won last Saturday the Steelcase Dragon Run, surfski race in Hong Kong, part of the World Series of this discipline. The amount of the prizes and the fact that the end of the series is close (in December in Cape Town), participation was really prominent, with the best specialists in the field. 
As it was presumed, Australians and South Africans ruled the race and only Walter Bouzán and Portuguese Andre Santos got into top positions among the contestants from down under. The number of figures in search of the $ 5,000 winner prize made nerves to be present from the beginning, including a false start. Once given the good one, a dozen paddlers stood out significantly from the rest of the competitors, with a very quick first third of the race. In the words of Dawid Mocke "is always like that lately, eight kilometers at a very fast pace and then let's see see who can stand it". In a race of 23 miles and the light wind conditions and heat present in this edition, only the most skilled could retain the strength until the finish line.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Tomas Slovak and Manuela Stöberl are the new ICF Classic Marathon World Series 2012 winners

Tomas Slovak winning the Adige Marathon, in Italy
The ICF Marathon Classic World Series are completed this year with the dispute in a tight October of Cesky Krumlov (CZE) and Adige Marathon (ITA), whose winners have become the winners of the series, replacing Spaniard Kiko Vega and South African Hilary Pitchford, 2011 title holders.  Slovakian Tomas Slovak and German Manuela Stöberl, both specialists in white water descent, got enough points to be the new champions in 2012. Anyway, Tomas Slovak got two victories on a surfski from his sponsor Vajda. With the ICF Marathon Series still in their childhood, they may need some review of the criteria. In South Africa, many years ago, surfskis were banned at river descents, since being longer and watertight, buoyancy in waves and the speed they were getting was an unfairness against the traditional K1. 
The series started in early April with the Devizes to Westminster, terrific English race of 125 miles (about 180 km.) and 77 portages, raced in a single day by K2s, while K1s do it in four stages.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Marathon des Gorges de L'Ardèche, to be held today, cancelled due to flood

An hour and a half ago has officially being cancelled the 2012 edition of the Marathon des Gorges de L'Ardèche due to flood conditions. Yesterday afternoon, the concern was the low water level, as measure under the bridge of Salavas was only about 50 cm. (when considered optimum conditions are between 60 and 80). However, a night of heavy rain has caused a dramatic increase in the water level, which marks the passage by Salavas now in 160 cm., much over the maximum level to make it safe for participants.

This year was expected a good competition with the current winners, Hybois and Jouve, which would deal with renowned previous winners of the race, as Cirylle Carré and Boulanger or Germans Max Hoff and Stiefenhofer (with Hoff coming back to his origins on descent after the Olympic medal achieved three months in London) and consecrated, but newcomers to the Ardèche, South Africans Anthony Stott and Cameron Schoeman, who were training in the river from last Tuesday. Spaniards Pedro Gutierrez and Luis Amado wanted to get between the favorite poker and try the assault on the podium. Also present were members of the French Olympic Slalom team along with Togolese Boukpeti, who were planning to race on a K7.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Jasper Mocke's European Hat Trick: Done

This last weekend was held at the French Britain the 3rd edition of the Breizh Ocean Race, which witnessed again a solid performance by South African specialist Jasper Mocke, who finishes this way a very succesful European Tour that started one and a half month ago training at Santander (Spain), where he has found a nice base camp for his European seasons.

The long course race start with the French Britain coast behind . Photo: Philippe Blanquet (Lemon-Prod)

After his victories at the Ohana Mana Cup of Sardinia and the Greek Aegean Race, this Sunday he got the 2,400 € prize for the winner of the Breizh Ocean Race ahead of Spanish Walter Bouzán and again the Australian Dane Sloss, another surfski specialist who completed the podium.

On Saturday it took place a 6 kilometres prologue to decide Sunday's start list and also for the organizers to check if any of the contestants maybe was not prepared enough to face a possible rough sea next day.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Miller's Run Downwind with Oscar Chalupsky and Rob Mousley

One of the best videos I've seen this year is this wonderful shoot of the Miller's Run Downwind, from Miller's Point to Fish Hoek (Cape Town, South Africa), made by Rob Mousley (creator of the compulsory visit web on board of a SS2 with legend Oscar Chalupsky. No music, so great atmosphere and an real on-board-feeling for ten minutes. A film to sit down, take notes and learn...

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Jasper Mocke wins the Aegean Race of surfski in Greece

Jasper Mocke, ayer, en aguas del Egeo
Jasper Mocke got yesterday another victory in his succesful European tour. After his great perfomances at Rome and Sardinia, it was at the Aegean Race, held on the Athenian Coast of Greece, where he won over a short but qualified field of around 50 paddlers.

Sadly, the Meltemi, well known wind from the North of the Aegean Sea, didn't show yesterday and the race was competed under flat conditions, with barely no swell to surf and lots of paddling instead. This were not ideal conditions for South Africans or Australians, but anyway they managed to get the two first positions through Jasper Mocke and Dane Sloss, who finally arrived to the finish line with a short difference of 13 seconds for Mocke, who stopped the clock at 1h19'41". After two minutes, third position, closing the podium, went to Spanish Federico "Kiko" Vega.

At this link you can see the final results.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Len Jenkins Jr. remains unbeaten at Fish River Marathon after his 6th K1 title. Michele Eray takes her first in Women.

The Natal Canoe Club paddler, Len Jenkins Jr., claimed this weekend his sixth consecutive K1 title at the Fish River Marathon, held at Cradock (Eastern Cape, South Africa), getting that way the SA K1 title. At the same time, Michele Eray  keeps getting titles this season 2012 and claimed victory in the Senior Women category with a good superiority on her rivals.

The 1,416 paddlers who took the start crossed Grassridge Dam facing a long first stage for 47 km. down to Knutsford. Two and a half kilometres further, they portaged the dam wall and strated paddling the river itself.

Jenkins and McGregor entering Keith's Flyover, with Grant van der Walt 50 metres behind. Foto: Jetline Action Photo

From the first strokes, Len Jenkins took the lead with a wide group following his wash, up to twenty paddlers with Jacques Theron and Hank McGregor at Jenkins' first wash. But the portage was not wide enough for so many people, so it made a first selection. Theron lost the good pace and Brandon van der Walt joined a three paddlers group on the lead along with McGregor and Jenkins. Just 5 minutes later, shooting Double Trouble at Collet's Weir, Jenkins got trapped facing upstream at the second jump and lost some precious seconds. He had then to make an extra effort to overpass Greg Louw, Lance Kime and Cam Schoeman to arrive at feared Keith's Flyover rapid leading the race again.

Friday, 5 October 2012

New World Champion Iván Alonso takes another double victory at Canal de Castilla (Spain)

The brand new double Marathon World Champion, Iván Alonso, got last Sunday another two victories at the Canal de Castilla International Regatta, held at Melgar de Fernamental (central Spain). The also world champions at Rome, Antonio Campos and Eva Barrios were the winners in the C1 and Women races, in that order. The K2 Senior Men was comfortably claimed by Rome gold medalists Emilio Merchán and Iván Alonso, as a perfect end for their amazing season.

Some of the best Spanish marathonians, also with clubs from Portugal and the Hungarian National Team, dated at the Spanish Channel of Castilla. The K1 race was with no doubt the most competed of the day, with four world champions in the five boats leading bunch, including Merchán, Iván Alonso, Jorge Alonso and Fiuza, plus the young promising David R. Dorado. After the second portage, just Merchán, Fiuza and Iván Alonso managed to stay in the lead, while Jorge Alonso and Dorado stayed a few metres behind fighting for a comeback. Fiuza, suffered at the third and fourth prtages, where he finally lost contact. That made a two paddlers sprint won by Iván Alonso, with Merchán in second place and Fiuza finally third.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Jasper Mocke wins the Ohana Mana Cup of surfski in Sardinia (Italy)

Winner, Jasper Mocke
The brilliant bronze medalists at last Marathon World Championships in Rome, Jasper Mocke and Simon van Gysen (RSA), kept showing their current great shape last weekend at the Ohana Mana Cup of surfski held at the Island of Sardinia (Italy).

With a 38 km. downwind course along the southern coast of the island, about a hundred surfskis took the start on this 2012 edition. And, as it is usual, South Africans, with permission of the few Australian paddlers, claimed the main positions of the race. They put 5 paddlers into the top ten, claimed victory in the Women's race and showed Europeans again in their own field the superiority of southern hemisphere paddlers when it comes to surfski paddling.

Jasper Mocke and Simon van Gysen got the lead for the full length of the race, until finally the younger Mocke got some advantage facing the finish line, where he entered in first position (1h36'30") with 44 seconds over his marathon K2 partner, winner this spring of the Eurochallenge at Vilajoiosa (Spain).

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

First anniversary of Elite Kayak

And we hope that it's only the first of many more. On October 2nd, 2011, we started this project plenty of hope. One month later it arrived the first entry in this blog (just Spanish at that time). The great welcome we have had within the canoeing community and all the good moments lived during this year are just pushing us to keep on going towards further goals.

The web both in Spanish and English, the second hand material section, the Youtube video channel, the Twitter account, the facebook page... they all are traduced in a big effort, but the three people nowadays involved in this tasks think that those hours stolen to sleep are worth with every visit, every video play, every follower, every comment, every "I like".

To celebrate it we have started working in new challenges we hope to introduce during this Fall season. They will represent even more work to do, but as my father always said "some others like licking padlocks...", so we will still think that it's worth.

I wouldn't like to finish this short post without thanking all those journalists and photographers, paddlers themselves at 99%, who from every corner of the globe, from Australia to Canada, from South Africa to Norway, 365 days a year, document and tell on the web all the races, trainings and stuff happening around. Without them, projects like this wouldn't be possible. Big applause for every one of them.

We hope to be here next year writing our second anniversary post (and you reading it). Meanwhile, we've got an exciting year 2013 ahead to paddle as much as we can. And some of you will even do it fast, haha. See you wherever there is water.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Deaglan O Drisceoil and Tom Brennan, winners of the Liffey Descent 2012

Two K2 boats with a very marked combination of experience and youth led the way home at the Liffey Descent today. Deaglan O Drisceoil (47) and Tom Brennan (20) won in a fine time of one hour 47 minutes and 54 seconds, while the father-and-son combination of Malcolm Banks (50) and Liam Banks (20) followed them just 16 seconds later. The K2 of Irish Peter Egan and British international paddler Jon Simmons were third, although they suffered two capsizes, one of them at Straffan weir, where there were a series of chaotic collisions that you can check at the videos linked at the end of this article. Great comeback from them.

Mickie Brennan of Thomastown Paddlers was an impressive winner in the K1 class, taking this title for the first time. Kevin Pierce of Wildwater Kayak Club was second, with Brennan’s clubmate Anthony Forristal third. But second position overall in K1 was for a well known paddler from this website: Gary Mawer, showing once again his worldclass paddling.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The traditional Liffey Descent, to be held tomorrow in Ireland

One of the races that has been in Elite Kayak's agenda for more than 10 years, waiting to be able to go and compete in the green Ireland, is the Liffey Descent, to be raced tomorrow at Dublin. Along its 18 miles (around 29 km.), weirs, rapids, lots of water and always lots of fun, too. Here you have 2011 edition's trailer, simply spectacular.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Renata Csay gets 12th gold medal and Spain remain as best Men team ever at World Marathon Championships

This is the article we have written in colaboration with, where you can read it and see all the results archive and pictures of the championships. Check it at this link


Renata Csay seems to have no limit after winning her 12th gold medal this morning at the Marathon World Championships with her team-mate Ramóna Farkasdi. On a sunny morning in Rome, again the start was very strong by the Hungarians, who clearly wanted to tighten the gap to avoid a pile-up of boats going into the portage at the same time. Only the South African crew, Alexa Cole and Eloise Van Gysen, seemed to be able to follow the terrific pace, but were finally caught again by the onslaught behind.

Italians Stefenia Cicali and Anna Alberti were not in the trailing group, but slowly started to come back. After two laps leaders Csay and Farkasdi decided to wait for the main group and fellow Hungarians Hagymási and Kiszli, perhaps due to team tactics.

The race was fought over the next few laps. At the fourth portage, when a bad decision by the two South Africans split the race, both kayaks tried to pull out of the portage on the same side crossing positions, alas no one was able to recommence paddling.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Renata Csay steps into legend at Rome. Campos and Alonso, new marathon world champions in C1 and K1

This is the article we have written in colabroation with, where you can read it and see all the results archive and pictures of the championships. Check it at this link.

Renata Csay (HUN) this morning at Rome
This morning Hungarian legend Renata Csay won her 11th world title in the K1 Senior Women's race, becoming the most decorated marathon paddler ever, just surpassing another legend, Spanish Manuel Busto, who has ten golds so far. In the other two races Spain has showed its potential in this discipline by taking another two gold medals; Manuel Antonio 'Tono' Campos is the new world champion in C1 Senior Men and Iván Alonso is the same in K1 Men.

Races started in fair weather with an exciting starting list, where marathon experts met some sprinters after finishing their Sprint season in London. Marathon paddlers draw on their valuable experience and today was not an exception.

K1 Women

In the women's race, we could see from the start that, with Renata Csay (HUN) around, other contestants were only limited to go for silver.

The 35 year old mother of two refused a tactical race from the very start and just paddled away doing the whole 6 laps on her own. With a firm pace, seconds started to pull away from the chasing group, composed of locals Stefania Cicali and Anna Alberti (ITA), London 2012 Olympian Henriette Engel Hansen (DEN), Berenike Faldum (BUL) and Krizstina Bedoecs (AUT). Already on the second lap, they split and only Cicali and Faldum remained chasing Csay, while Hansen, Bedoecs and Alberti stayed together in the third group. Not much followed after that, with Csay widening the gap to one and a half minutes, so the interest was in the fight for silver between Cicali and Faldum. The Italian tried twice at the portages to escape, but she was caught again in the water. On the third attempt and with one lap to go, Stefania Cicali managed to assure second place while Renata Csay, already touching gold, slowed her pace down a bit.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Graeme Solomon and Sean Rice, new South African K2 River champions thanks to their victory at the Breede Marathon

Solomon and Rice negotiating one of the rapids at the Breede
Graeme Solomon and Sean Rice are the new South African K2 River Champions after their win last week at the Breede River Marathon.

Solomon, one of the South African river classics, joined this year with surfski specialist Sean Rice to try for a win at this competition (75 km. in two days)that last year, paddling with Ant Stott, faded away after a bad choice taking a slower path during the race.

From the first stage, three couples showed their strength and made a leading group that set the pace for almost the whole course: Solomon/Rice, former World Champions Stott/Schoeman and Schloms/White. But Heinrich Schloms and Gavin White had some trouble on Day 2 when Schloms arrived to compulsory portage at Drew Bridge with a dead leg due to a ciatic nerve problem.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Spanish Marathon Championships (II): Iván Alonso claims a great K1 victory

The day before, Saturday, it was time for the K1s, where the local Iván Alonso was the main favorite, as he already won in spring the Spanish Cup and the World Cup at Copenhaguen. At the start line, fighting for their chance, were some other great paddlers like Jorge Alonso, José Julián Becerro, Rafael Carril, Xabier Ruíz de Aretxabaleta, David Rodríguez Dorado and even Julio Martínez, paddling again on a K1 since a long time ago.

From the first lap, all of this favorites were in the leading group, except surprisingly Julio Martínez and José Julián Becerro, suffering just a few metres behind, and José María Pariente, Spanish Champion just two years ago, who didn’t look like having his best day. The positive surprise was the appearance among the best ones of Julio Moreno, one of the outsiders of the race.

The very steep bank for the portage. Photo: Fotoyos
At half of the competition, more or less, it was pretty clear who would be the candidates for the two quota places for Rome, es there were four solid leaders (Xabier Ruiz de Aretxabaleta, Iván Alonso, Jorge Alonso y David Rodríguez Dorado) and three paddlers who went forth and back on each lap, suffering to much to be considered in good position for the medals (Rafael Carril, Julio Moreno y José Julián Becerro). This last one, Becerro, finally retired and only Carril managed to stay forward until the end.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Spanish Marathon Championships (I): Bouzán & Fiuza win and will be at Rome to defend their title

Spain has got its representatives at the Marathon World Championships to be held in 3 weeks at Rome (Italy), after a great National Championship which took place at Tuy (Galicia). Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza managed to add one new title to their impressive career by beating in the final sprint Emilio Merchán and Iván Alonso, who will be the second couple at the Worlds.

After a first lap at the course with a really crowded group on the lead, up to 10 K2s, Bouzán/Fiuza started with their usual tactics of pushing before every portage not to find a busy pontoon. They arrived in first position and even despite the large room at the pontoon, after the portage only 6 boats managed to stay at the front group.

The pace settled down again and that was the time for the rest of K2s to come back again to the main bunch. But lap after lap they were fewer crews the ones strong enough to do it. Among those pairs were the del Teso brothers, who finally paid the effort; León/Castañón, who never gave up and got their reward; and the new crew of Becerro/Ruíz de Aretxabaleta, who didn’t start very well, maybe due to the lack of training together, but made an extraordinary comeback to the leading group.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Bouzán and Fiuza win their third Sella Descent in a row. Becerro, crowned in K1

Álvaro Fiuza and Walter Bouzán after their 3rd victory in a row
The Spanish current Marathon World Champions Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza (Team Feve-Oviedo Kayak), keep on growing their curricula with their third victory in a row at the 76th edition of the Sella Descent, held last saturday 4th between the Spanish locations of Arriondas and Ribadesella. On the other hand, José Julián Becerro (Club Bañezano) claimed victory in K1 after one of the most competitive editions in both disciplines K1 and K2 of the last years.

The race was already predicted to be very tight after the entries of so many good couples aiming to put their names at Ribadesella's promenade. The river was in low water and nerves could be felt since days ago around. The start, spectacular as usual, was leaded after the first 50 metres by the South African boat of Anthony Stott and Cameron Schoeman, followed very closely by Jesús R. León/Miguel F. Castañón (Fluvial O Barco) and Vicente Tortajada/Omar Calzón (Piraguamadrid). Some of the favorites were in trouble to go into their kayaks in such a crowded start and began to appear at the front bunch after a few hundred metres and a big effort. First to show off were Julio Martínez and Javier Hernanz, Sella record holders, followed some further down by the rest of top favorites Bouzán/Fiuza, Merchán/Alonso and Busto/Llamedo, last ones to close the gap when the race was already at its second km., while Tortajada/Calzón lost contact with the leaders.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Saúl Craviotto and Alfonso Benavides show their London shape at Spanish Sprint Championships

Frenzy weekend of races last days at Trasona Dam (Asturias, Spain) with the Spanish Sprint Championships, with two of our Olympic paddlers doing their last test before giving everything at Eton Dorney in two weeks. Saúl Craviotto (K1 200) and Alfonso Benavides (C1 200) gave no chance to their opponents and claimed gold with terrific performances, showing that their olympic medal assault is in the right way.

Photo Finish had to decide the medals at the K4 200, amazing race

But not only the mediatic olympic paddlers were taking all the flashes. From our point of view, the main character of the event was junior female paddler Begoña Lazkano, who took six golds out of six races by winning K1 200, 500 and 1,000 and then doing the same with her teammate Amaia Benavente on the K2 over the three distances. These girls, under Ekaitz Saies coaching, are definitely looking forward for some exciting future.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Spanish National Team wins the International K4 Regatta at Valladolid and Sanabria (Spain)

The Spanish K4 composed by Emilio Merchán, Jorge Alonso, Walter Bouzán y Álvaro F. Fiuza claimed victory at the two international races held this last weekend at Valladolid and Sanabria Lake (Spain), with the concurrence of other 5 boats from the National teams of Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal and Great Britain and about 30 of different clubs from all Spain.

Photo: Federación de Piragüismo de Castilla y León
On Saturday, under a perfect canoeing weather, from the start it was clear that Spain and the Czech Republic were the two dominant teams, with many world medals in their boats. Germany and Portugal were behind fighting for a good place on the wash while Great Britain and Poland were losing a few meters, enough not to be able to keep the pace of the strong leaders.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Carlos Pérez Rial and Club Kayak Tudense, main characters at the Galicia Sprint Championship (Spain)

Last weekend was celebrated at Verducido Dam (Galicia, Spain) the Regional Sprint Championships of Galicia, one of the strongest that can be seen in Spain. Despite some absences, due to the Junior&U23 European Championships, to be held from Thursday at Montemor-o-Velho (Portugal), the different races showed a very high level, with some of the first aces of Spanish Sprint on the water.

Ana Varela claimed gold on 500m. over the 200m. winner Tania Fernández
Many were the races competed, but as the most important to comment, we could say that the 1.000 metres distance is patrimony of Kayak Tudense. The strong club from Tui dominated the Senior Men in kayak with no discussion. They took gold and silver in K4, gold and silver in K2 and five of the 9 finalists of the K1 belonged to them, claiming the four first positions. Gold went to Diego Piña, who got a nice triple crwon leading also the K2 and The K4. It was different on the canoe, where they could only take silver after the pushing of the boats from Náutico Ría de Betanzos. C2 of  Antonio Campos and José Manuel Sánchez, who also made the C4 together with Adrián Edreira and Alejandro Fraga, claimed gold in both disciplines. At Ladies distance of 500 metres, Kayak Tudense also took gold in K1 (through Ana Varela), K2 and K4.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Glenn Eldridge wins a challenging Icon Classic of Surfski

One week ago it was held at the British coast the Icon Classic of surfski. Usually conceived as a 16 km. downwind race from Morte Point to Combe Martin, this time the bad weather conditions that have been on the British Islands during the beginning of the summer forced the organization to make a big change on the race course. 7 metres waves at Morte Point definitely were not safe for padlers, so it was decided then to make a round course with start and finish at Combe Martin.That meant an 8 km. upwind fighting agiants waves of "just" 3 or 4 metres, then U turn and another 8 km. downwind back to the finish line.

About 50 braves took the start, with a high level field including former Marathon World Champion Ivan Lawler, Simon Dark or current National Team members, case of Ben Farrell, for instance. After one hour and sicten minutes of epic paddling, victory was claimed by Glenn Eldridge, who got a few seconds advantage over Ben Farrel. Two minutes later, the third position came to Portuguese from Setúbal Luis Ventura, who left behind the Spanish specialist José Antonio Girón and th race chairman Mark Ressel, fourth and fifth overall. Jenna Ferris was the first lady, leaving behind the former winner Chloe Bunnett.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Marathon World Cup in Denmark (part II): World Champions Bouzán and Fiuza give no chance

As it’s usual, Sunday was the day for the doubles. Again a grey morning that even ended with some rain during the seniors race. Along the morning, the first victories went to James Allen and George Barnicoat (GBR) in the Junior Men K2, the local Emma Jørgensen and Emilie A. Petersen (DEN) in the Junior Women K2, Mattias Ebhardt and Jens Martens (GER) in the Senior C2 and Fay Lamph and Lizzie Broughton (GBR) in the Senior Women K2. In this last race, the main favorites, Italians Cicali and Alberti, both medalists in the K1 the day before, couldn’t finish the race.

It was time then for the very competitive race of the Senior Men K2, with a few powerful boats but two main favorites, which were Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza (ESP), current World Champions for two years in a row, and Romain Marcaud and Edwin Lucas (FRA), current European Champions.

The start, facing a straight line of 2 km. until the first turn, was very quickly and the favorites wanted to take a good place at the front of the group. Marcaud-Lucas were setting the pace, while some couples had troubles to find the good wash and that even finished with some touches that were repeated in the first turn. Norwegians and British were mostly affected, but finally they could join the main group again arriving aat the first portage.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Marathon World Cup in Denmark (part I): Spanish Iván Alonso claims gold in K1

Last weekend was held at Lake Bagsværd (Copenhague, Denmark) the Marathon World Cup 2012, as a prelude for the Marathon World Championships that will take place at the same spot next year 2013, getting the relay from Rome 2012. And once again, Spain had a strong presence in the final standings, claiming gold in both main categories, the senior Men K1 and K2, through Iván Alonso and the couple Walter Bouzán-Álvaro Fiuza, current world champions for two years in a row. But despite some absences, like South Africa or Hungary, the battle was hard, with many tight endings along the weekend.

On the right, Morten Minde (NOR) leads a crowded group at Lake Bagsværd

With an early start on Saturday, the juniors already gave the crowd a nice race. In the K1 Men, seven boats were in a close fight for the whole race, but finally finished with a sprint between the four on the lead and medals went to Casper Pretzmann (DEN), gold; Miguel Llorens (ESP), silver; and Hynek Chroust (CZE), bronze. In the Women race, another local victory in a tight finish, with Amalie Thomsen (DEN) claiming gold, Amy Ward (GBR) went for silver and Carolina Massagues (ESP) took bronze.

After the juniors it was turn for the canoeists. In a pretty windy day, some had troubles, most of all at turns and the portage entry, where wind blowed sidewards. Then, current U23 world champion, Spanish Manuel Garrido, fell in the water and had to give up, while Nuno Barros (POR) showed a strong performance that finally gave him a comfortable gold medal, followed by Matthias Erbhardt (GER) in silver and Jakub Brezina (CZE) in bronze.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tomorrow starts the Marathon World Cup 2012 at Copenhaguen

M. Garrido (ESP), training portages today Jens Thybo]
From 22 June to 24 June, on Lake Bagsvaerd (Denmark), 165 of the World’s best canoe and kayak paddlers will meet in competition at World Cup Marathon 2012 and struggle for medals under the International Canoe Federation, ICF.

Paddlers from 19 nations have already registered, being Denmark, as home nation, the one with the biggest number of contestants, participating with a national team of 25 paddlers who will fight to the last drop of blood to win metal and honour on home ground. World Cup Marathon is a rehearsal for the World Championships event in September 2013 which has been granted The Danish Canoe Federation (DKF), by the  ICF. This event will also take place on Lake Bagsvaerd.

DKF arranges both the World Championships and the World Cup in cooperation with Gladsaxe and Lyngby-Taarbaek municipalities, Wonderful Copenhagen and ICF.
In order to make World Cup a unique experience for competitors, spectators and the press, the organizers have chosen to construct a circular route by the lake so that all races can be followed from the lake shore from start to finish. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Manuel Busto and Emilio Llamedo in K2 and David R. Dorado in K1, winners at Spanish Rivers Cup Race 2

Under a heavy sun and hot weather, last Saturday it was held at River Tajo, Aranjuez (Spain), the 40th edition of the Raphel del Tajo, second race of the Spanish Rivers Cup, where the paddlers compete over 18 km. (9 upstream and then back downstream) with two compulsory portages.
Winners Busto and Llamedo

Before the race everybody was looking forward to one of the bests K2 entry lists of the year, after the Sella Descent. Despite some non-showing boats, at the start line we could see top Spanish couples like Busto-Llamedo, Alonso-Guerrero (in their expected return to the K2), Merchán-Baños, Carril-Peiteado, Moreno-Valle, Portela-Martínez, Pérez-Hernández, Salas-Martínez, Morillas-Poyatos, Santos-Machado.

The start was extremely quickly, headed by Julio Moreno and Juan Antonio Valle, who made a leading group which started losing components after the first flatwater kilometres. Some of them, who decided going on a Sprint kayak (under the hull rudder) had problems trying to avoid the weed concentrated at the banks when trying to seize them going upstream, and a couple of the top K2 decided to give up when the weed was already too much to kep on going. That was the case for Portela-Martínez or Merchán-Baños. Meanwhile, the leading bunch, after 5 kilometres, was facing the pure river itself upstream, with some tricky curves of strong stream who made them go one by one approaching the bank as much as possible. It was then when the ten times marathon world champion Manuel Busto and his new partner Emilio Llamedo (Piragüismo Astur) opened a small gap. As soon as they realized their contestants were in problems to keep the pace, they made a strong push towards the first portage, just a hundred metres before the turn to complete the race downstream. At this point, the prosecutors were just two boats, now, those composed by Alonso-Guerrero (Palentino) and Moreno-Valle (Iuxtanam).

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Bram Brandjes and Eef Haaze, Dutch champions over 5.000 metres

Eef Haaze
Last weekend were held on the Drontemeer waters (Kampen - Holland), the National Championships over 5.000 metres (and shorter distances for lower ages categories). Saturday was a cold and rainy day, with strong winds up to force 5-6, which suppsoed an aditional effort for the contestants, some of them falling in and having to be rescued. Sunday was a more fair day and the good weather allowed many spectators to come by the shores enjoying the races.

Winner in the women senior category became Eef Haaze, race which had also competing the American national team paddler Jen Burke, special guest at the race.

At Men's senior category, Joep van Bakel was leading for most part of the race, but with national team member Bram Brandjes on his wash, he looked like confident on his chances at the sprint, as it finally was, beating van Bakel in a strong final push and becoming Dutch champion.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Great Britain and Belgium present their Sprint teams for London 2012

Maxime Richard will paddle the K1 200 for Belgium
The national teams going to London Summer Games keep being announced, so today we present the British and Belgian paddlers selected to defend their colours at Eton Dorney venue in August.

Yesterday, at the olympic venue itself, the nine paddlers (by the way, this morning the Team GB has confirmed one more quota place given to their women team) selected to compete for the Union Jack were introduced to the media and public audience. Belgium too has already got an official list of three paddlers for just two boats qualified, but with a very high level.

The British team seized the sunny day yesterday at Eton Dorney to present their Sprint team, which so far, waiting for the fifth woman place, to be announced on June 25th, is composed by:

Thursday, 14 June 2012

David Florence and Maialen Chourraut, encouraging golds at Cardiff Slalom World Cup

Last weekend it was hel at Cardiff (Wales, the first Slalom World Cup of 2012, where British David Florence emerged as the event star with two golds in C1 and C2, together with his teammate Richard Hounslow. In the women competition, the Spanish olympic hope Maialen Chourraut took a well deserved gold that puts her in the top bets for a medal in August at London Games.

Copyright: Albert Edmonds - AEPhotos

Not only paddlers, but organizers has also to give their best to go on with the World Cup after cancellation of Day 1 on Friday, due to poor weather conditions, with very strong wind and rain, so timing was really tight on Saturday to race in one day both heats and semifinals in all disciplines.

Spanish Maialen Chourraut didn’t go through Saturday with her best feelings in the venue, but still managed to quailify tenth in the heats and then set a 7 seconds quicker time in the semifinals, despite a 2 seconds penalty which left her third. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Hank McGregor and Alexa Cole claim gold twice at the SA Marathon Championships

Hank McGregor reached this last weekend his sixth South African Marathon Championship by winning two golds at the K1 and the K2 competitions, while Alexa Cole made exactly the same in both disciplines at the women's races. This way, both got two tickets for the next Marathon World Championships to be held at Rome in September, as this championships worked too as SA national trials.

Photo: Orka paddles
Under a cold and rainy weather at Mofam Dam, closed to Cape Town, the races were not particularly crowded, due to the start of the winter season in the Southern hemisphere, but quality of the contestants was really high. At the start line, a clear favorite, current world champion Hank McGregor, and a good bunch of aspirants, including world medalist Len Jenkins Jr., the Mocke brothers, experienced Graeme Solomon or the recent winner of the surfski Eurochallenge Simon van Gysen.

Not much action for the first half of the race, with a solid group on the lead, but all of them with an eye on McGregor's movements, as everybody was concerned that he was the one to control the pace.

Friday, 8 June 2012

South Africa and Denmark Olympic paddlers announced

This week has seen the first official lists of olympic paddlers going to London 2012 Summer Olympics. As it was clear from some months ago, not without polemics, South Africa will be with only two paddlers, both in the women single competition: Bridgitte Hartley at the K1 500 and Tiffany Kruger at the K1 200.

Also Denmark has officialy announced the paddling competing at the spots earned by their National Team. No surprises, but some tough debate has been around for the last two weeks about the K1 200 spot. The paddlers going to London are:

K1 500 Women: Henriette Engel Hansen
K1 200 Men:      Kasper Bleibach
K1 1.000 Men:   Rene Holten Poulsen
K2 1.000 Men:   Kim Wraae Knudsen
                           Emil Stær
K4 1.000 Men:   Kasper Bleibach
                           Rene Holten Poulsen
                           Kim Wraae Knudsen
                           Emil Stær
You can read the full news in English about this debate at our friend web of the Danish Paddling Magazine (news 1 and news 2)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Nicole Reinhardt to miss the Olympic Games

Current World Champion in the Women K1 500 discipline, Nicole Reinhardt, will sadly become the first and sonorous absence at the Olympic Games to celebrate in London. Yesterday, German canoe Federation confirmed that, in agreement with the paddler, Reinhardt will not represent Germany at the European Championships in Zagreb nor London Games, as her shoulder injury does not seem to be recovered in time.

Having suffered from fevers and infections through the whole winter, which already made her not to paddle the first national trials, a few weeks ago he also suffered a serious shoulder injury. Despite an intensive treatment to be able to paddle at World Cup 2 in Duisburg, which worked too as last national German trials, finally she couldn’t compete. She was even paddling at Duisburg’s venue for the warm up before the K1 500 heats, but the pain made her refuse and try not to make her shoulder worst by paddlling the race. 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Kajaksporten i fokus: all the Danish canoeing panorama in one web

This has been a very busy week and all our activity maybe has not been reflected in news on our web. Simply there's work to do in the shadow, but not less important. A big part of our success this last few days comes thanks to our friends of the Danish web "Kajaksporten i fokus: The Danish Paddling Magazine".

This web is 100% recommendable, giving all the ionformation of the Danish canoeing panorama, one of the most exciting in Northern Europe, not only because of the historical success of their paddlers being a rather small country (a large number of world and olympic medals crown their shelves), but also because they are in some way a role model about club managing. You can think about Maribo Kajakklub, for instance, from which I'm proud owner of a racing shirt. Who of us with some years of paddling on our shoulders won't remember legends like Thor Nielsen, Lars Koch (I still remember the first time I spotted him on a K1, at Crestuma in 1995, and at my barely 21 years old I got amazed as nowadays the youngers would do with our Manuel Busto),...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

National trials have decided Spanish teams for the Sprint European Championships

Last weekend, through two different trials, held at the venues of Verducido (Galicia) and Trasona (Asturias), Spain have decided its teams to paddle at the European Championships to be held at Zagreb (CRO) for the seniors in late June and at Montemor-o-Velho (POR) in mid July for juniors and U23.

No doubt about the main character at this trials: Javier Hernanz, after his olympic dissapointment, has won the three events he was competing at: K2 500 and K2 1.000, with his usual partner Diego Cosgaya, and also the K1 5.000, where he got the bronze medal at World Cup 1 at Poznan, last week. Also to remark the victory of Íñigo Peña in K1, both in 500 and in 1.000, earning the right to represent Spain at both the senior and the U23 Europeans, as it's also the case of Carlos Arévalo. This last one, who already showed a great performance at the 200 metres Spanish Cup, winning both K1 and K2, took this time the K1 spot, leaving second the main favourite, the Basque Ekaitz Saies. Something similar happened at the K2, where almost nobody was betting for youngsters Paulino Otero and Cristian Toro, who surprisingly left out of the National Team current and former World Champions, like Fran Llera, Pablo Andrés or Carlos Pérez Rial.

The olympic stars shine in Duisburg

One of the most beautiful and reliable regatta courses in the world, the one of Duisburg (Germany), brought us this last weekend many great races at Sprint World Cup 2.

The great Duisburg venue (click on the image for full size)

But out of all the disciplines and distances, in Elite Kayak we have a special predilection on the K1 1.000 Men, where actually meet all those considered like “the big ones”. And not many of them usually miss the competitions, always with at least 5 or 6 first line paddlers at the start. This time, at Duisburg, we had the privilege to see a race that could be not much different from the one we will see at London Games. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Oscar Chalupsky wins his 12th Molokai

At 49, Oscar Chalupsky makes even bigger his legend by winning his twelveth Molokai last Sunday. This race, included in the Sursfski World Series, takes part from Molokai Island and goes through the Kaiwi Channel to end up at Oahu, in the island of Hawaii. 52 kilometres of perfect downwind on the Pacific Ocean. The overall victory went to the doubles of Olympic champion Greg Barton and his partner Zsolt Svadovski, with Chalupsky seconf at the finish line and first individual, while third place went to another Olympic gold medalist, Clint Robinson, showing the great level of this race.

From the very start, contestants showed different tactics. The young local star Patrick Dolan took on his own a Southern way, having a solo paddle for most of the race. The big group, with Chalupsky, the South African Bouman and Australians Gardiner, Kenny, Taylor, Tutt, among others, took a straight line, while Clint Robinson and Barton/Svadovski chose a Northern route to paddle both boats together.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza (K2) and Iván Alonso (K1), winners of the Spanish Marathon Cup

Walter Bouzán y Álvaro F. Fiuza won the Spanish Marathon Cup held this last Saturday at Ribadesella (Asturias). Meanwhile, Iván Alonso claimed victory on K1 after a superb race.
Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza paddling to victory

In a quite bad day due to cold and rainy weather, the 4 kilometres course got crowded to see the evolutions of some of the world top paddlers fighting to go into the national team that will represent Spain at Marathon World Cup in Copenhagen (Denmark) in June. It was also highly expected the performance of the new couple formed by marathon legend Manuel Busto and his 24 year old partner Emilio Llamedo, who were also trying to qualify and win this Cup in their first official appearance.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Interview with C1 200 Olympic Alfonso Benavides

In colaboration with Sportscene we got the pleasure of being with Spanish young star Alfonso Benavides, bronze in C1 200 at the last World Championships in Szeged and qualified for London 2012. Here is the link to the interview:

Alfonso Benavides in Sportscene

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Poznan Sprint Olympic Qualifier: Spain sinks in white waters

More than 4 centuries ago, king Philip II from Spain said, after losing most part of his Army sinked at the Channel: "I sent my boats to fight against men, not against the elements". Looks like we may think the same today after an awful final day at Poznan pre-olympic regatta. Weather conditions in a very cold and windy day made the Poznan's course look like a canoeing hell on earth.

Far from patriotic feelings (I'm writing these lines from Spain) we can say yes, most of the winners were the best times of the previous heats (also raced in very bad conditions). But it's also true that it's not fair at all that all the paddlers (from the top stars to the most modest) come to these venues to demonstrate their hard work of the last months or even years. And the place for that, to fight close for a passport to the Olympic Games, didn't have the minimum conditions. We all have very clear that if this has been football, the match would have been delayed, for sure. Today we have seen first line paddlers falling in the water at half race. Not to talk about the K1 Men 200 metres final. It was a miracle to have the nine paddlers at the finish line, after a messy paddle for 36 seconds (at the image, Petter Öström suffering the waves on his chest). The front images of the final taken from the cameras at the back end of the course are absolutely amazing. And the side shootings, with prows going up and down, sinking and then jumping more than ten inches out of the water... Gentlemen of the ICF, if we want to achieve the respect of the olympic movement and the press media in general, we shall start respecting ourselves.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Day 1 at Poznan European Sprint Qualifier, the Spanish review

Spain has gone through the first day of the Poznan Sprint European  Olympic Qualifiers with satisfying results. Five boats out of six competing today are already in tomorrow finals. The C2 1.000 of Bouza/Fernández was already into the final as there are just 9 contestants.

Of those racing today, only the K1 200 of the Saúl Craviotto is pending of a semifinal tomorrow morning. Luckily, it seems that he will be paddling an easier semi, as in the second one people like Öström, Balciunas or Novakovic won't be able to fail if they want the three positions going to the final. Already waiting, as they qualified straight from the heats, are the Italian Rizza, the Belgian Richard and the Ukranian Kharitonov. Nevertheless, we will see which aspect shows tomorrow the weather at Poznan, after a cold and windy day today that made the course bumpy and tough to paddle, even more in such an explosive distance as the 200.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Teresa Portela gets the passport for London 2012. All the results of the Spanish Cup on 200 and 500 metres

Teresa Portela
This weekend was held at Verducido Dam (Galicia, Spain), the last national women’s trials and the Spanish Cup over 200 and 500 metres, so the Spanish Team going to Poznan trying to qualify the last boats for London 2012 is now ready. Teresa Portela, who already qualified the Women K1 200 for the Games at Szeged World Championships, got the final nomination in her distance, so now it’s the third Spanish paddler with the assured passport after David Cal and Alfonso Benavides.

In the 500 metres, Ainara Portela (not a relative of Teresa, by the way), was the winner and got the place for Poznan, leaving out Beatriz Manchón and Zomilla Hegyi, among many others.

In the K2 500, Beatriz Manchón and Jana Smidakova, who already were the defenders of the place, easily won the trial, with a 5 seconds distance over Eva Barrios y Laura Pedruelo. You can check the trials results here.

Then, it was time for the Spanish Cup. Many contestants on all the races with more than 50 paddlers in some of the disciplines and with a very hogh level, having very tight times for the cut off to semifinals.

Friday, 11 May 2012

No surprises at Canada trials. Adam van Koeverden nominated for the K1 1.000 at London Olympics

The Olympic and World Champion Adam van Koeverden met the criteria to be nominated for the K1 1.000 to compete for Canada at the Summer Olympic Games of London 2012. In the first Canada National Trials, curiously held at lake Lanier (Georgia, USA), home of the 19996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the one from Oakville beated all his rivals in the final by more of 4 seconds.

“I had a good race today,” said van Koeverden of Oakville, ON. “It was my first race of the year so there’s lots of fine tuning to do. I’m going to sit down with my coach now and talk to him about what to work on for training.” The race course has a bit of special meaning for van Koeverden. Decorated with memories of the 1996 Olympics, it was the site where he first made the podium at the Senior World Championships in 2003 with a second place finish in K1 1.000.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Interview with Hilary Pitchford, 2011 winner of the Classic Marathon World Series

In colaboration with Sportscene, we have had the great pleasure of talking with Hilary Pitchford, South African young paddler winner of the 2011 ICF Classic Marathon World Series.

The original interview in English can be read at the Sportscene webpage, and there's a Spanish version in our web by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Pérez Rial and Craviotto, this one also in K1, qualified to fight the 200 at Poznan

After the third and last trial in Spain over 200 metres, held this morning at the dam of Trasona (Asturias), Saúl Craviotto has become the Spanish representative in K1 200 at the Preolympic Qualifier to be cometed next week at Poznan (Poland).

Only two legs were needed by the Beijing olympic champion to beat, not easily at all, his rival and partner at the 4 x 200 national team Ekaitz Saies. There they are the 35.3 seconds the catalonian had to set to ensure the fight for the olympic berth. After the three trials held this spring, Craviotto left no chance to the rest of paddlers, by winning 6 out of 6 legs, something that talks clearly about the optimum shape he's got this winter to face a demanding season.

In K2 200, finally there was no trial, as the opponents of Bejing gold medalists over 500 metres Craviotto and Pérez Rial, that were supposed to be Cristian Toro and Carlos Garrote, finally opted no to compete, so Craviotto and "Perucho" are now in the way for their last chance of getting into the fight to repeat the olympic glory, after thir surprising elimination in the semifinals of 2011 World Champs at Szeged.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Simon van Gysen wins the closest Eurochallenge ever

As it's usual at the surfski races around the world, South Africans and Australians were clear dominators at the Eurochallenge 2012, race included in the World Surfski Series, held this weekend at Vilajoiosa (Spain). Big names at the start line to go into a Mediterranean Sea quite more calmed than the conditions many of them would have preferred, most of all for Sunday, to paddle the downwind race.

On Saturday, the first race consisted on a triangular course of 20 km. heading North along the coast and coming back to Vilajoiosa's port. Almost 200 paddlers took the start to make a small lap into the dock before going out to open sea. From the very first strokes, the southern hemisphere contestants were already setting the pace, while only a bunch of the top first line Spanish paddlers were able to keep that rythm, like Kiko Vega, Daniel Sánchez Viloria or Walter Bouzán. But the leading bunch was not in the mood to let the guests in, so the consagrated Sean Rice, Hank McGregor, Dawid Mocke, Jeremy Cotter, etc... started planning the race on their own.