Here’s the report and results from this weekends XTRM race….UPDATE: with video!
After last weekend’s beach race in Port Grimaud, the plan for this weekend was something completely different….a 25km Open Ocean Race in Mallorca, from Cap de Salinas lighthose in the beautiful South to the small Island Cabrera and from there Colonia Sant Jordi. Cabrera is a small, uninhabited island about 12km off the South Coast of Majorca. It was used to house French prisoners during the Napoleonic war. Off 9000 sent to the island, only 3600 survived. Further to the scary history, the name of the Race was 25k XTRM and it turned out to be extreme on every level.
First, getting there was an extreme logistical challenge, about 25 riders had arrived from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, UK and Holland – taking boards on planes, busses and long ferry rides. For me it was relatively easy, as Fred and Belar had taken my board back from their Bavarian RiverSUPing adventure and Fred had kindly agreed to take all our boards (incl. Eric’s) in his van on a nice (or not so nice…) overnight ferry ride from Barcelona. Big thanks for that!
Second, the riders had to pay an extremely high registration fee (about 100 EUR) and third read an extremely long pre-reading booklet with course, race and safety info (39 pages, in Spanish, of course). Forth, the race started extremely early, the riders had to gather in front of the hotel at 7AM for the transfer to the starting point, the beautiful Cap de Salinas Lighthouse. Fifth, getting to the start zone was a bit extreme as well, a nice “rock climbing with boards” exercise. Thanks to Fabrizio for helping me to get my board down.
The race started at 9 AM in blue sky and beautiful sunshine, which tricked some riders into wearing an outfit that would later on turn out to not be quite warm enough (Belar: “At one point I was considering going without a top, thank god I changed my mind”). The men started first, 5 minutes later the women.
Up to the Cabrera island lighthouse, which was 11km from the shore and the turning point, it was a really nice paddle, a bit of downwind and swell from the side (with the occasional mean half meter wave in between), but after the turn around the island the conditions got more extreme, doing the events name justice: the wind picked up about and was now about 15 knots, of course blowing from the wrong direction and the water was getting very choppy.
None of the top male racers stayed dry, everyone (including Eric Terrien) fell off at least once. After the start, Eric, Leo Nika and Fred Bonnef were leading the race, Fabrizio Gasbarro – spotting a new moustache look (also a bit extreme 😉 – was chasing them. Fabrizio had picked the wider 30” Fanatic board, which turned out to be a good choice, he paddled an amazing race, passing Leo&Fred and coming dangerously close to Eric, before Eric – Europe’s undisputed number one – (on a BIC custom board) pulled away for good.
Belar Diaz, who fell right after the start (the Fanatic 12’6”x27.75” was not an easy board to handle in these conditions) did an amazing catch-up and came in third behind Eric and Fabrizio, once more proving he is the man for long distances and always has some energy left. Leo Nika came in 4th on his new Starboard 26.5” BOP board. Fred Bonnef (also on the Fanatic 12’6” 27.74”) was loosing energy, that was probably the long ferry ride taking it’s toll and was passed by Austrian Peter Bartl (on Naish) after falling off for the 3rd of 4th time. They came in 5th and 6th. For the women’s, Laura Quetglas came in first before co-event organizer Pat Hernandez and Monica Garcia (all Spain).
As for me, it was my 1st Open Ocean Race, and I learned a lot. The highlight was seeing a huge sea turtle in the water by the island. Other than that, I retired after about 19 out of the 22k (the race turned out to be a bit shorter, the boat crew had told me it was only about 2.5k left, but my GPS said much more. Turned out the boat crew was right, I should have believed them. Well, in Holland it was the other way round, the boat crew told me it was 1.5km but in reality it was like 4.5km left I was constantly swearing while paddling the “extra” 3km). I had an okay paddle up to the island (about 11km), I managed to get there without falling off, as long I put the paddle quickly enough back into the water, I was allright on my 12’6″x27.75″ Fly Race, which was a bit shaky.
Thanks to Joelle Terrien (who was the only starter and winner in the female 14’ category) for keeping me company. To add an another extreme, at the island I was extremely disappointed to not find the expected “service point” as my camelback was empty (drinks were available from the boat, but getting a bottle and refilling the camelback in these choppy conditions seemed impossible and throwing an empty bottle into the water would result in disqualification).
I tried to at least eat a cereal bar but fell off in the choppy conditions with waves bouncing back from the rocks in all kinds of angles. Once wet, I was getting very cold (I should have worn my 2mm ION long “Jane”, but it looked so nice and sunny in the morning). My clothes had just dried when I fell off again, I then paddled another 6km shivering, shaking and with clapping teeth. After falling off for the 5th time, my whole body was shaking so bad I could not even get up from my knees and it did not look like the wind was getting any less soon, so when the boat finally came close, I decided to take a ride in before it might disappear again. Thanks to the great crew on the boat for picking me up and lending me clothes and a towel and big respect to the 5 women who finished the tough race.
I asked Eric after the race how it was for him, I was curious, was it tough for him too or a walk in the park? To my relief he said, “No, it’s never a walk in the park, Fabrizio was getting really close and I had to give it all”. He also admitted to getting slightly cold himself (“I was thinking. Hmmm. I am wearing shorts and T-Shirts, this is the Mediterranean, the water is still wintery – this is not the Canary Islands”)
Special Congratulations also to my dear friend and fellow river surfer Peter Bartl from Austria for his great debut in one of the big Euro races. He told me his goal was not to be more than 30” slower than Eric. Ultimately it was less than 15 Minutes. Well done, Peter! On a personal level, I was relieved to hear, that Peter, the man who did the 700km paddle during the big freeze from Graz to Belgrad admitted being cold himself after falling in.
Overall, it was a great race and it’s nice to see a mixed podium with the top racers from France, Italy, Spain and now also Austria!
The price giving was at 9PM and afterwards everyone quickly retired, very exhausted from the tough race. In reward for the cold, windy conditions on Saturday, the weather was extremely nice on Sunday and Belar, Eric, Fred, Joelle, Leo and I went for an amazing paddle on a beautiful beach with turquoise water and white sand, before sadly traveling home.
Big thanks to the organizers Xtrm Events and the Sponsors who made this great race in a truly amazing setting happen! And thanks to my friends for a great weekend and the help with boards&airport transfers! Thanks to Joan Bonnet for letting me use the amazing Eric shot and thanks to Cynthia Bakker for the help with the other photos.
Results 12’6” Elite Race
- #1 Eric Terrien (BIC, France) 2:33:42
- #2 Fabrizio Gasbarro (Fanatic, Italy) 2:35:09
- #3 Belar Diaz (Fanatic, Spain) 2:38:20
- #4 Leo Nika (Starboard, Italy) 2:38:36
- #5 Peter Bartl (Naish, Austria) 2:47:55
- #6 Fred Bonnef (Fanatic, France) 2:50:35
- #7 Manual Simoncelli (Spain) 2:52:02
- #8 Pere Sureda (Spain) 2:58:50
- #9 Carlos Forteza (Spain) 3:04:18
- #10 Javier Sanchez (Spain) 3:04:55
- #11 Miquel A. Estelrich Soler (Spain) 3:34:00
- #12 Tina Pilipo (UK) 3:27:37
- #13 Marcelo Bareto (Spain) 3:42:52
- #14 Pereire Bris (France) 3:45:56
- #1 Laura Quetglas (Spain) 3:18:52
- #2 Pat Hernandez (Spain) 3:19:30
- #3 Monica Garcia (Spain) 3:29:48
- #4 Mirella Rabal (Spain) 3:34:54
In the 14′ category, Ruben Salvatore from Kiteshop El Nino, who had already demonstrated his endurance in the 2011 Eleven City Tour won on Mistral M1 14′ before Spanish Fanatic Team Rider Tolo Canellas Androver on Fanatic 14′ Open Ocean Board.
Here is a video of the Event thanks to Uiimohani…
Some first photos are here:
More pics coming soon. Like us on www.facebook.com/supguide for updates!