Saturday, 31 March 2012

Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, race 10 results

The Varsity College Marine Surfski Series have come to an end yesterday at Durban, with the overall victory of Hank McGregor after claiming victory too at race number 10. No surprises, then, but all after probably the colsest finish of the series, with 5 boats arriving in just 20 seconds. McGregor leaded with his Umkomaas victory partner, Grant van der Walt, second and Matt Bouman third. Out of the podium were very closed behind Brandon van der Walt and the surfski star Sean Rice. Another top paddler, Len Jenkins Jr., didn't have his best day and lost about two minutes with the leader, arriving behind the first double boat of Mark Mulder and Dwayne Power.

At the same time, in a separate race, The SA School Surfski Championships were held over the same course for the U18 and U16 categories. The new South African champions are: Kenneth Rice (Men U18), Kerry Segal (Women U18), Louis Hattingh (Men U16) and Amy Hare (Women U16).

At this link you can check all the results.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Tiffany Kruger, to paddle for SA the K1 200 at London 2012

This week, SASCOC (South African Olympic Commitee) decided that Tiffany Kruger, African Champion on the K1 200 at the African Games 2011 in Maputo (Mozambique), will be the second representative of her country at the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, after Bridgitte Hartley, already qualified for the K1 500 after her performance at the Szeged World Campionships last year. On the other hand, no other paddler will be at the Olympics, so all hopes are gone for people like Greg Louw, Shaun Rubenstein, Nick Stubbs or Michael Arthur.

The social networks have seen comments on every side since last Tuesday's decision, as many people consider that Greg Louw, for instance, had a true chance after winning also the African title with 37 seconds, which is a very closed time to those entering the A final at the Worlds. He also, together with Shaun Rubenstein, Nick Stubbs and Michael Arthur, got a sixth position in the A final on the 4x200 relay in Szeged.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Winter panorama in England: the Waterside Series

As Elite Kayak is a Spanish based web, we use to think that everything everywhere works the same way we do it here. But as soon as you open your eyes to other countries, the landscape is much more different from what you thought. It's usual to hear from friends who have gone to the Ardèche in France, or down to South Africa, the sentence "that's something different, man". Not only racing, but managing too.

I wouldn't like to go very deep today about this matter (hope to be able to in future posts), but we can already talk today about England, where there's a growing passion for Marathon, even though it already was the country where we could say that "officialy" started the huge growth of this discipline over the last 25 years (they held in 1988 the first official ICF Marathon World Championships, at Nottingham). The parallel competition panorama is not small at all and every weekend there's a frenzy activity with races all around the country,many of them under the MRC (Marathon Races Commitee), an organization ruled by the clubs and paddlers themselves.

A good example are the Waterside Series, four Marathon races that in the cold winter kick off the season. Held along the country channels, where the level dams mark the portages. The distances are also not a joke, with races that could surpass the 30 miles. This tough racing conditions make this competitions only appropiate for paddlers from level 1 to 3, as indicated in the British ranking lists (they go up to level 9) depending on results and performance.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Video of the Spanish National Championships over 5.000 metres

You may find the race chronicle at this link. Thanks a lot to braisvilaboa for this video.

Varsity College Marine Surfski Series race 9

Far from doing what half of world paddlers would do 14 hours before taking the start at a two days marathon, like it is the Umkomaas, Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt didn't rest but took the two first places at the nineth race of the Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, held at Durban Bay last Friday. In a much closer race than the two previous, McGregor claimed victory by just 10 seconds over van der Walt, leaving third position to Matthew Bouman, fourth in the overall after the first double crew, Brett Bartho and Wayne Thompson.

With the already achieved absolute victories in the 2012 series of McGregor in Men and of Michelle Eder in Women, next March 30th will take place the tenth and last race of this year's series to decide the rest of categories and podium positions at this popular comptition, which is having this year a real good participation.

At this link you've got the results for this race 9.

Umkomaas River Marathon results

Jennie Dallas - ©
The couple of the Team Best 4 Kayak Centre Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt were the winners last weekend at the Umkomaas River Marathon, in South Africa. They dominated the race from start to end, despite a paddle broken by van der Walt on day 1. Nevertheless, all the rest contestants suffered the tough conditions in this river, although this year it was competed in low water and the rapids were not so scary as they use to be... but still not easy to shoot, as stones substituted the big waves as the main obstacles in the paddlers way.

On day 1, the young Gavin Shuter and his partner for this race, the czech Jakub Adam, managed to arrive in second place only two minutes behind the leaders, after a superb descent. In the fight for the third place, Brandon van der Walt and the surfski specialist Matthew Bouman managed to leave off the podium the Dusi winners, Andrew Birkett and Jason Graham.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Stewart gets four golds at AUS Sprint champs, but leaves the door open for Wallace to Olympics

Stewart and Wallace winning the K2 1.000
Finished on Sunday the Australian Sprint Championships at Penrith (AUS) and there is one brilliant star upcoming: Murray Stewart earned another two golds to finish with a total of four National titles. To his victories in K1 and K4 at the 1.000, he added the K2 with Ken Wallace, and the K1 200. This last win had also another trhee "winners", as he beated in the final Joel Simpson in his only chance to get into the nominees for the Olympic team. That left Simpson without any victory, therefore Wallace and the couple Bird/Phillips, winners at the K2 200, earned the right to into de seven paddlers chosen to go for the olympic berths.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Francisco Cubelos, David Cal and Eva Barrios, Spanish champions on 5.000 metres

Photo: David Cal beats Tono Campos (Europa Press)
In a sunny morning in Seville, with great races on all the categories, Francisco Cubelos (Club Talavera Talak) in K1 Senior, David Cal (Club de Mar Ría de Aldán - Hermanos Gandón) in C1 Senior and Eva Barrios (Club Deportivo Durius Tecozam - Viajes Sanabria) in K1 Women Senior are the new Spanish Winter Champions over the distance of 5.000 metres.

At the main category, the K1 Men Senior showed the great moment that our Olympic hopes are going through, with an outstanding performance by "Paco" Cubelos and Javier Hernanz finishing under 20 minutes. The 19-year-old Cubelos stopped the clock at 19'56", just two seconds ahead Hernanz after a memorable sprint. The two London qualifiers nominees have shown their great shape this weekend, as on Saturday were also leading the 2.000 metres trials. 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Results of Day 1 at the Spanish Winter Championships in Seville

First day of the Spanish Winter Championships, with crowded races at Seville course of La Cartuja. Seniors and Juniors have raced the 2.000 metres trials to qualify for tomorrow's 5.000 metres finals.

At the Seniors trials, Francisco Cubelos has set the best time with a world-class 7'38", just 2 seconds ahead of Javier Hernanz (7'40"). Third position was for Íñigo Peña (7'44").

Tomorrow we will have a full chronicle of the weekend, but meanwhile here you have the results for Day 1:

Seniors and Juniors
Under 16

Friday, 16 March 2012

Murray Stewart, leading Australian options for the K1 1.000 at London 2012

Murray Stewart crosses the finish line at the K1 1.000
On Wednesday started at the International Regatta Centre of Penrith (AUS), the Australian Sprint Championships, valid also as second Olympic trials for the Australian national Team. And what it already looked like a complicated situation for Ken Wallace in order to take the nomination to fight for the K1 1.000 berth at London 2012 has yesterday become rather more serious. For the third time this year, Murray Stewart has beaten him at the queen of disciplines, this time with a 3.54 seconds gap that looks too much for the Beijing's Olympic Champion to close in the next few weeks. Jacob Clear took the bronze just 0.05 behind Wallace. But what it would be a superb result for 99% of the paddlers, for Wallace it's on the edge of a tragedy, as Stewart's victory, in a worldclass time of 3'30"64, means his automatic nomination at the Australian Olympic Commitee, leading now the selection to fight for the Olympic berth at this distance. On the other hand, Wallace's chances get more difficult and he should then go for the K2 or maybe to wait for a seat at the already qualified K4, taking the place of David Smith, something that doesn't look likely to happen.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Umkomaas River Marathon

Next weekend will be raced one of the big events of end of the summer in South Africa, the always spectacular Umkomaas River Marathon. This edition of 2012 looks so far to the sky looking for some rain, as water level seems to be quite low just three days before the start. But it's always a tricky, hard river to paddle and some of its rapids, like "number 1" on the second day, has quickly become legends among river paddlers. You can check at this great video of the 2011 edition why its only name seems scary...

2011 HANSA STIHL Umko Canoe Marathon from D4 Productions on Vimeo.

End of the Cape Town Downwind Series 2012

Last Saturday it was held the last race of the Cape Town Downwind Series in this 2012 with the competition from Milnerton to Melkbosstrand. There wasn't a huge participation, but all those paddling had a perfect downwind day with very nice weather, as you can see in the picture below (that makes everybody not in Cape Town feel so jealous... don't you think?).

Monday, 12 March 2012

15-year-old Brazilian Ana Sátila, qualified for the Slalom at London Games

Ana Sátila (Foto: Iran Schleder)
The young Brazilian paddler Ana Sátila has become this last weekend the main star at the Panamerican Slalom Championships after winning two golds and getting the olympic berth for London 2012 at the age of 15.

At these championships, held at the slalom course of Itaipu (Foz do Iguaçu, BRA) the last four olympic berths for America were at play for the K1, C1 and C2 Men and for the K1 Women. Paddlers from Canada, Brazil, USA, Argentina, Venezuela and Costa Rica were fighting for them on those disciplines were they hadn't got one at the World Champs last year.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Saúl Craviotto leads the Spanish trials for the olympic qualifying

P. Andrés (left) and S. Craviotto (right)
The Beijing olympic champion Saúl Craviotto won yesterday the first Spanish National Team trials aiming to qualify the K1 and K2 boats over 200 metres for the Olympic games at London 2012. The trials were supposed to have 11 contestants, but a last minute shoulder injury of Craviotto's partner at the Beijing gold, Carlos Pérez, left the K1 trial in 10 paddlers and only two boats on the K2. Craviotto won the two final legs scheduled and Cristian Toro and Carlos Garrote were the K2 winners.

Two semifinals had to leave just nine paddlers go through the final, so the worst time was eliminated and that was Borja prieto, who sadly would have to wait for another chance in April at the second trial. The nine paddlers going to the final were Fran Llera, Paulino Otero, Rodrigo Germade, Cristian Toro, Carlos Garrote, Carlos Arévalo, Saúl Craviotto, Pablo Andrés and Ekaitz Saies.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Michelle Eder earns the Varsity College Marine Surfski Series 2012

Michelle Eder
After race 7 of the Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, sponsored by Borland Financial, Hank McGregor sets already one foot on the final podium after winning in 34'41" after a bad start, where the van der Walts and Matthew Bouman tried to take advantage of their better paddle up the waves. But it didn't take very long before the world champion managed to catch them and then leave them behind after a brilliant comeback. Grant van der Walt was second, almost half a minute behind, and Bouman came third.

But in the ladies category, the fifth victory of Michelle Eder out of seven races has already assured her first stepo of the final podium, so no other competitor is in position to ctach her with only three races to come. She finished in 43'05" to earn the title of the 2012 Durban series.

At this link you can check the results for this race 7.

Kids, don't try this at home...

68.8 km/h on a surfski. The Lewin brothers flying on swells thanks to cyclon "Irina" last Sunday at Durban.

Thursday, 8 March 2012


Some weeks ago we showed you an spectacular video trailer about the Five2Nine adventurers, extreme kayak lovers with an impressive webpage. Today it fell in my hands another high quality trailer of a film shot by River-Roots about a bunch of guys looking around the world for the best river waves and kayak spots. "Frontier", which is its title, is the second part of another movie called "Dream Result". Let's start writing Santa's letter...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Results of the Winter Championship at Basque Country

After the two preliminary races in Bizkaia and Gipuzcoa, this last weekend it was time for the Basuqe Country's regional Championship over 5.000 metres.

The overall victory was for Felipe Besada (Piragüismo Pamplona), who was paddling as a guest, as he belongs to a club from neighbor region Navarra, so the Basque title finally fell in Haize Galarraga (Itxas-Gain), although he finished third overall, because just 1 second behind Besada was Galarraga's teammate Xabier Osa, who won the veteran category. The senior silver and bronze were for Esteban Arakama (Santiagotarrak) and Imanol Burguera (Donostia Kayak). Fourth absolute position was for the first U23 paddler Iosu Ansola (Itxas-Gain), earning the gold in his category.

Javier Hernanz wins the Winter Championship in Asturias (Spain)

Last Sunday took place at Trasona Dam (Asturias, Spain) the Winter Championship over 5.000 metres and, as it happened on Saturday with the 2.000 time trial, the National Team member Javier Hernanz (Grupo Cultura Covadonga) had no opponent in a cold and rainy morning.

Although Hernanz made an awful start, where he couldn't find a proper way and got stuck behind the group trying not to take many risks, he managed to go on the left side of the course looking for clean water out of the bunch's wash and showed his skills on the 1.000, overpassing the group and being already leader out of the first turn.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Results of the Winter Championship of Castilla y León (Spain)

Frenzy weekend of races in Spain, previous to the Spanish 5.000 metres Championship to be held in Seville next March 18th. Near Zamora it was the turn last Sunday for the championship of Castilla y León, with tough weather conditions in a cold windy morning. The absolute winner was Jorge Alonso, who beated in the final sprint his partner in K2 for many years Santiago Guerrero and Carlos del Teso, who took bronze. The other main favourite, Emilio Merchán, has a disgraceful start that finished in a swim, taking away all his chances for the race.

Photo: El Norte de Castilla
Concerning the ladies, the U23 showed their magnificent moment by taken the first four positions and leaving the Senior category gold, taken by María Soria, in fifth. The U23 podium was decided in a very closed sprint finish and was, in this order, for Laura Pedruelo (gold), Eva Barrios (silver) and Sheila Sáez (bronze), leaving out of the picture Ainara Portela, just 7 seconds behind. The silver and bronze in the Senior ladies were finally for Nuria Villacé and Raquel Carbajo.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Maxime Beaumont claims victory at the Nelo Winter Challenge

This weekend has been held at Portugal the second competition of the Nelo Winter Challenge, after the one held last month at Pas de Calais (FRA). After both races, the absolute winner was the French paddler Maxime Beaumont, who had already won the Pas de Calais competition. This time, there were plenty of contestants from first line teams, including people from Hungary, Russia, Poland, Norway, France, Spain, Portugal, etc...

On saturday, the races were over 2.000 metres (you can check the full results at  this link. A meteoric Fernando Pimenta showed the quality supposed to an A finalist in Szeged and stopped the clock at an impressive 7'43", 11 seconds over the second paddler, the also Portuguese Emanuel Silva, while the russian army was left behind with Beaumont among them (Medvedev, Beaumont, Nikolaev and Rhyakov was the order). Behind them arrived the first Spaniards, Xabier Ruiz de Aretxabaleta (renamed as "Pérez" in the results...) and Óscar Amandi, with a very nice time of 8'04" both. The third Sapnish was Borja Prieto with 8'08" in 12th position. Finally, Ekaitz Saies didn't take part over this distance and couldn't aspire to the final victory in the Challenge.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Tke K1 1.000 at London, in serious risk for Ken Wallace

The Olympic champion at Beijing 2008 in K1 500, and bronce in K1 1.000, the australian Ken Wallace, sees right now how his compatriot Murray Stewart has become more than a menace to be a serious obstacle in his try to reatin his crown at London 2012. Stewart looks not to conform with a seat in the Australian K4 that already got its olympic passport at Szeged World Championships 2011, giving a step forward into the K1. This morning he has become Oceania champion in the International Regatta Centre at Penrith (AUS) with a worldclass time of  3'31"50c, with Wallace more than 5 secs behind on third position.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Andrew Birkett smashes the Non-stop Dusi

Photo: Ray de Vries
He's in the way to become one of the biggests at only 21 years old. Andrew Birkett has added today to his impressive curriculum the Non-stop Dusi after an amazing performance along the 118 km. between Pietermartizburg and Durban, paddled today in just one single stage with such simple rules as there are only three control points, the rest of the course is free and everyone can plan his own route, either paddliong, either running the portages. At the control points, the organization also makes time cuts, to let continue only those who are not losing too much time with the leader, something which is also looking for the security of those who couldn't be surveilled properly if they stay "lost" on the course.

Facing down the valley after an early start at dawn from the Natal Canoe Club at Pietermaritzburg, three boats made a full Team Best 4 Kayak Centre leading bunch: Lance Kime/Kwanda Mhlope, Michael Mbanjwa/Sibonelo Zondi and the K1 of Andy Birkett, while Craig Turton/Jasper Mocke and Trautman brothers were left behind in a second group. The second K1, that one of the 2011 winner Mark Mulder, couldn't keep the pace of the top five.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Murray Stewart and Alana Nicholls, one step forward to London 2012

At the Sidney International Regatta Centre, in Penrith (AUS), the Oceania Sprint Championships will start tomorrow with the top paddlers from down under. But today it has already taken place the first olympic trial for Australia, on 200 m. for the K1 men and women and on 1.000 metres for the C2.

On 200, the main favourites didn't fail and are already on step ahead in the race to London 2012. Murray Stewart and Alana Nicholls have shown again the powerful stroke they demonstrated in January at the NSW Championships and claimed a closed victory over their direct rivals.