Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Kayak Tudense and Breogán O Grove, clubs taking the main titles at Galicia regional Winter Championships

Left to right: Millán, Rodríguez, Piña and Alonso. Image: Aurora Santomé
It was held in the dam of Verducido (Galicia) the Galician Winter Championship. As usual , great participation in all categories in a cool, windy day, which caused a little problem at the starts, especially the K1 Senior Men, as explained below.

As in all the championships being held these days prior to national Spanish Winter Championships in Seville , there were many races for all the categories throughout Saturday, beginning at U12 and preceding the main categories.

Emilio Llamedo starts the 2014 season in victory

Llamedo leading the final sprint. Photo: Paco (Club de Mar de Avilés)
Current Spanish Winter Champion, Emilio "Milin" Llamedo, seems to go on the correct way to renew his title next month in Seville 2014 after his victory last Sunday in the Miguel Ángel Pérez Memorial race, held in Trasona (Asturias) under the organization of Club Náutico Ensidesa. It was on this occasion the 25th anniversary of a race that has always been the unofficial kick out of Asturian season and has already become the second event in number of participants in the region after the Sella Descent.

According to those present, wonderful spring day in the Asturian dam. The big news apart from winners and the results themselves, were the presence of more than 500 paddlers on the water, which speaks of good canoeing health in Asturias apart from the current pressing economic problems. It is gratifying to see that, despite the difficulties, the courage and the will always remain present to jump onto the water .

Over a distance of 4,500 meters (3,000 for women, canoes and children) were competed the different races, with different batches for the U14, after which were gradually

Monday, 24 February 2014

David Rodríguez Dorado, Carolina Massagues and Álvaro Rodríguez Rica, Regional Winter Champions in Madrid (Spain)

Photo: Escuela Piragüismo Aranjuez
On a cool but sunny morning in Aranjuez, the river Tajo was the scenario of the Winter Regional Championships of Madrid, held again after not being competed 2013. Three hours of competitions made enjoy the spectators who came to the facilities of the Aranjuez Canoeing School, with five different batches for the different categories.

It started with the U16 Men K1, always one of the most crowded categories. Nice fight in the lead between Víctor Pardo (Cuenca), Martín Erpén (Aranjuez) and Raúl de la Peña (Alberche Kayak) after getting rid at mid-race of the foruth paddler in the group, Carlos Alonso (Aranjuez). Finally, very tight sprint in which the order was Pardo, Erpén and de la Peña, thus resulting Martín Erpén regional champion, as Victor Pardo club belongs to Castilla-La Mancha region (tehy competed with special invitation).

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Héctor Cubelos beats his younger brother Francisco Cubelos at the Regional Winter Championship

Héctor Cubelos, older brother of the London Olympic finalist Francisco Cubelos (K1 1,000) and Isabel López were the absolute winners of the regional championship of Castilla-La Mancha (Central Spain), held last Sunday at Las Herencias, village very close to Cubelos brothers Hometown, Talavera de la Reina (Toledo).

Left to right: Héctor Cubelos, Francisco Cubelos and David R. Dorado. Photo: Escuela Piragüismo Aranjuez

On a sunny day , but with a strong flooded river Tajo, which had its role in the competition, the audience could enjoy a good day of racing, with the participation of about 130 paddlers of all categories, including the Olympic Francisco "Paco" Cubelos in his last test before the Spanish Championships to be held in Seville in four weeks. The start, due to river conditions and let's say "lack of coordination" between the referee and the paddlers, was somehow difficult and by the time it was done, 80% of the competitors had a two minutes penalty on their race time. Most of junior, U23, but all of Seniors, so actually it didn't have influence in this category.

The race was programmed over 5,000 metres, but river conditions made shorten it to barely 4,000. It was led from start to finish by the younger of Cubelos brothers, Francisco, who took with him about 7 paddlers in a big front bunch, including his brother Héctor, David Rodríguez Dorado, Alfonso Lucas, Enrique Peces and Benjamin Ramírez, among others.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Elite Kayak's 2014 goal: The Spanish panorama

From this season, we will translate into English every post we make in the original Spanish web. You could say that many of them are from very small competitions around Spain and maybe they don't have a real interest for a global audience. But let's think it the other way around: we will try to do what we would like to find sometimes in different scenarios from our daily perspective of canoeing. What's going on in Germany? Difficult to know if you cannot read German. Even though, digging in German newspapers among general news is not fun (it's not anywhere else, I guess). South Africa is for me an example of information about canoeing, through pages like Canoeing SA, Mocke Paddling, and many others I wouldn't like to forget here (sorry). We can get also lots of news from Australia and New Zealand (Sportscene has got a lot to do with that, thanks so much to them and their visionary project). Denmark focuses a lot also in communication, it's always a pleasure being awared about their competitions. Or places like France, Italy or Great Britain are easier due to specific magazines, as well as we are lucky to be able to read those languages.

Anyway, we would like then to be the Spanish information spot for foreigners. Maybe we are thinking too big? For sure, just two people (sometimes barely one) to gather daily information only allow us to write about Sprint, Marathon, rarely Slalom and almost never about other disciplines. But let's see how it works. Once this is established, the true merit comes from paddlers doing their best every single day on their kayaks and canoes, representing Spain abroad or just entering the finish line in a local race. Then it will be your choice to follow their careers, rewrite about them in your pages or social media, etc... But at least our window open to the world will have a meaning if you just read it once in a while.

Along with this aim, we will keep posting about the big international events, mixed with the Spanish news.

Thanks so much for your attention and let's hope to meet often back here again, dear foreign reader. See you on the water!!

Gonzalo Melero

Videos of the three days of Dusi 2014

We've got so much to learn in Europe (no to talk about Spain itself...) about Media Coverage of canoeing in some other countries. These videos of the three days of the Dusi Canoe Marathon are just science-fiction for Spanish paddlers, so we keep feeding the growing enthusiasm in our country for South Africa's biggest races. Click here below to watch the videos:

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Dusi, Day 3: Birkett wins fourth Dusi and Zondi first in an epic stage. Robin Kime and Ulansky keep reigning

Birkett & Zondi, winners. Photo: Stuart Berry
Andy Birkett continues to grow his incipient legend by winning this morning his fourth Dusi Canoe Marathon fourth with Sibonelo Zondi, the second black paddler to achieve the absolute title of this great South African race.

The third and final stage, held again under a very hot weather, followed the script laid down after the first two days, where Birkett and Zondi had almost nine minutes on their closest rivals, Jasper Mocke and Hank McGregor. The accident in Day 1 by Lance Kime and Thulani Mbanjwa, who were part of the three candidates for the title, made the victory a matter of two.

Birkett and Zondi started with conservative tactics, thanks to the big advantage that they had. Ahead, 36 kilometers to the finish line in Durban, with a first part of about 5km on the flatwater of Inanda Dam to enter after the portage down the wall in the clear waters of the Umgeni river, where rapids as Tops Needle or Pumphouse, and especially the Burma Road optional portage, usually mark the course of the race.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Dusi, Day 2: Birkett and Zondi speed up for the title

Birkett & Zondi made a solo race down the river. Photo: Twitter @AntStott
Undoubtly they were already favorites before the start of the race, but the superiority Andy Birkett and Sibonelo Zondi are showing in this year's Dusi Canoe Marathon only a few could imagine it yesterday morning at the start in Pietermaritzburg.

The beginning of this second stage, in mode of trial according to the times yesterday, saw Jasper Mocke and Hank McGregor pushing very hard from the start to try to reduce some of the disadvantage of 5'27" with the leaders. They managed to closed it to four and a half minutes, but like if Birkett and Zondi were waiting for their rivals to get tired, after the first two long portages they put the effort on the river and passing through the biggest rapids of the day, after the confluence of the Umgeni river with the Dusi, the put back the gap in five and a half minutes.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dusi, Day 1: Andy Birkett and Sibonelo Zondi want to set the race clear from the beginning

The A batch going through Earnie Pearce. Photo: Twitter @DusiCanoe
This morning started the 63rd edition of the Dusi Canoe Marathon, which this year takes place in K2, and has been a day full of action and news.

After an early departure (6 AM local time, 5 AM CET), among the 61 seeded K2s there were three clear favorites: Lance Kime and Thulani Mbajnwa; Jasper Mocke and Hank McGregor; and Andrew Birkett and Sibonelo Zondi . But last year's winner Lance Kime and his partner (also K2 winner) Thulani Mbanjwa, didn't have much time to enjoy the race. At Witness Weir, the second obstacle of the day just three kilometers from the start, they broke their K2, seeing themselves forced to a long stop for a quick repair and losing almost every chance for the title, except unexpected catastrophe on their rivals in the next two days.

So, right from the very first kilometers, everything pointed to a McGregor/Mocke vs Birkett/Zondi race, where the first ones set a blistering pace on the water.