Breizh Ocean Race 2013

Breizh Ocean Race 2013
1100 km drive, 2 surfski races and again 1100 km drive, maybe it sounds a little bit crazy but it was worth every km!!

Thursday 24-10, car is packed, ski’s are on the roof so it’s time to hit the road. Surfski-Holland team paddlers Emiel Beukenkamp & Arjan Bloem are excited but also a little bit nervous when they look at the weather forcast. Luckely Olivia Blonk is with them and talks into them; don’t worry guys! 5 till 7 meter high waves is easy for you two  But will the race take place with the conditions that are predicted? Well, if not they will at least enjoy the beautiful scenery of Bretagne.

After a long 12 hour drive we arrive at our camping place, the caravan looks perfect, big enough and clean. Tired we jump in our bed, ready for a good & long sleep because tomorrow there is a downwind planned by Benoit & Angie. Waking up hungry, hungry for food but also hungry for a downwind on the Atlantic Ocean! And what a luck, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the wind is blowing so just perfect. First to the supermarket and then of to the kayakclub. After meeting Jasper and his wife, the Belgium paddlers Vincent & Thomas & Cis, also Benoit and Angie joined us. Everybody is here so let’s go!!
Together with kayakclub Le Mer we all enjoyed a fantastic downwind, 15 km on nice waves (although we thought it would already be massive). From the Ocean it’s beautiful to see the wild landscape of Bretagne, braking waves against big rocks makes it all even better! The finish of this route was exclusive, we needed to paddle through a narrow creek between two big rocks, an exciting bonus.

Saturday 26-10, race day! For the “big” race on Sunday the organization came up with the next idea: the paddlers who are faster or fitter than the others need to start behind, so at the finish most paddlers will come together, good thinking but making 3 races on Saturday is hard work for us 
The races today will be held in the harbor, a turning buoy will be in the water about 2 km from the beach. Upwind (30 knots!) and after turning downwind .
The first race was really heavy and knowing we had to do this two more times made it even heavier! Big thanks to the organization for bringing the turning buoy closer to the beach for the following 2 races. After this nice event we both are in the fast group, Emiel with number 12 and I got number 27.

Sunday 27-10, thé race day!! But first the night, what a wind….howling like crazy, even the caravan was shaking. What will the Ocean be like? Getting more & more nervous but there was Olivia again and tried to talk into us again….didn’t really work this time!
The start was at a beautiful place, a harbor filled with small fishing boats. Smart place because of the pier we could start on a flat piece without any wind. Don’t forget it was still howling between 35 and 40 knots! During the briefing Angie told us that the race will be a few km shorter because of the wind and big waves outside the harbor. This means no upwind only downwind, perfect for the Dutchies.
Our group will start about 5 minutes behind the first group and we can see them struggle against the wind which is coming from the side. Only 1 minute left before our start, nervous? Not really! Looking forward to some great runs and big waves! It’s “showtime”, we’re off. Emiel has a great start and paddles besides Jasper Mocke, at the turning buoy he is only a few meters behind as I can see him struggle getting a wave. At that point I’m not even around the buoy but still happy with my position. The first waves are difficult to catch and during this struggle I see the others getting a surf while I’m still paddling without any surf. One thing you shouldn’t do during a surfski race is getting your focus on the paddler in front of you, but that’s easy to say….unfortunately I only focused on the paddlers around me, missed the “fun” rides and had a heavy race. Emiel showed his power and surf skills. His result was more than we could hope for! Emiel finished as number 5 and first in his age group, I finished as number 24 and 14th in my age group.

This is a “must do” race for all surfski paddlers, always downwind conditions and the organization is at his best!
We would like to thank the organization, volunteers & paddlers for this great event and perfect days!

Posted on March 3, 2014 by Robin

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