There is a big weekend of racing coming up in Hong Kong for the Surfski Worlds! The depth in both the Men's and Women's is super deep and the Vaikobi Race Team will be right amongst it and will be ripping in!
The Women's World Title Race will see one of the most competitive fields ever with numerous contenders who can legitimately lay a claim on taking out the Womens Title.
From the V Race Team, Molokai Champ Rachel Clarke from New Zealand and Hayley Nixon from South Africa will be at the pointy end of the field on the home straight and we will be super excited to see these two legends charge home to the finish.
The Pocket Rocket from France, Angie Le Roux will be looking to surprise and on her day will be contending for the title win.
Spain's Chloe Bunnett will also be looking to achieve her best result at the World Champs to date.
Headlining the V-Team in the Men's field, is 2013 World Champ, Sean Rice who has been in tip top form of late with a number of big wins this year including the Molokai World Championship.
Off the back of his big wedding day last Sunday to the stunning bride Emily McGrath, Sean will be on cloud nine this weekend and will be there when it counts....He just has to deal with his pesky younger brother, Kenny first!
Mackenzie "Macca" Hynard will be defending his World U/23 crown in HK and has strategically peaked at the right time. Macca knows when to light it up and will leave nothing in the tank.
Austin Kieffer will be looking to achieve the strongest result for an American at the Surfski Worlds as he continues to progress up the World Rankings. His compatriot, Tim Burdiak will be competing at his first World Champs in the distance format which will be quite different compared to his World Surfski title in Surf Life Saving achieved last year in the Netherlands.
There is a strong contingent from Spain featuring the ever green Esteban Medina who shows no sign of slowing down in his new fatherhood stage of life! The big man, Dani Sanchez Viloria the Policeman from Ebiza, is also in tip top form of late and will put in a strong showing as will our U/23 contender Ignachio Soler Fabre (AKA Nacho)
The French legend, Benoit Le Roux is excited about being in HK with his Okrea Surfski's which he custom builds in France. Benoit is no stranger to the big races and will feel right at home in HK.
The Big Kiwi Sammy Mayhew has been training the house down and is looking for his best ever result at the Worlds and the International Surf and Paddle sport superstar from the Sunshine Coast, Ryan Taj Paroz (AKA Rye Burger) will be looking to perform strongly.
Go well V-Team. We know you have got this!
Also a big shout out to the Australian Team who we are proud to support. There is plenty of talent coming from Australia this year and we are super excited to see them race hard in HK!
How to follow the action?
Unfortunately at this stage, information about the event on the official ICF Ocean Racing World webpage is pretty much non existent.
The good news however is that our friend Bruce Seymour from Hong Kong Paddler is on the ground and will help us all stay connected with what is going on. Follow his Facebook Page at Hong Kong Dragon Run 2017 for all the live updates and feeds.
The Womens Race will be raced in the morning of Saturday Nov 18th
Live Feed link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=0UKmKRlVd-E
The Men's race on Sunday Nov 19th.
Live Feed link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=rrbNMtzFIAU
The Vaikobi / Catfish Warehouse sale starts this Thursday 3pm here at Vaikobi HQ. This year we are teaming up with our great neighbours Catfish Designs (www.catfishdesigns.com.au) to provide double the reasons to come by and pick up a great special in the lead up to the Holiday season!
Vaikobi/ Catfish Warehouse Sale
Location: 37 & 39/ 6 Jubilee Avenue, Warriewood, NSW 2102
Friday: 9am- 5pm
Vaikobi Race Team's Hayley Nixon (RSA) is hitting Australia this summer and will be holding a series of Strength and Conditioning workshops designed specifically for paddlers!
Sport Science is an often overlooked part of our sport, but which is critical for on water performance.
In this unique workshop, Hayley digs deep into key sports science areas specific to paddling which will improve your on water performance, improve mobility and help reduce injury.
Hayley will be holding workshops in Perth and Sydney over late November (Perth) and Early December (Sydney), so get in touch to learn more about available sessions.
For further information, please contact:
Hayley Nixon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Greenwood: email@example.com
Sam Mayhew (NZL) on a cracking winter westerly run on Auckland Harbour
Downwind Paddling is one of the special parts of our sport. Who doesn't enjoy surfing long ocean swells and going fast.
No matter if you paddle a Ski, SUP or OC, the adrenaline rush of scoring run after run at speed for miles and miles is something that is hard to describe to the non paddler. This rush becomes addictive and keeps you smiling long after you have returned to the beach.
Downwind Paddling is also a fantastic motivator to improve your fitness. To be an efficient downwind paddler you have to be good at lifting your rating at the right moments to pick up each run and stay on it for as long as possible.....basically a massive interval session.
Equally, with the right skills, it can also be one of the most relaxing things you can possibly do. How often do you get out there and time seems to fly by, because you are so relaxed, in the zone, locked into the endless movement of the ocean creating these great ramps for you to slide down.
If you ever hear Oscar Chalupsky coaching downwind paddlers, you lose count of the number of times he talks about "relaxing" and being efficient with your energy.
Ocean paddling legend- Dean Gardiner (AUS) enjoying a nice run, and looking relaxed, in the 2015 Doctor
There are so many facets to downwind paddling, all of which keep you coming back for more, and it really is something that keeps getting better as you become more experienced.
With the right skills, gear and buddy / buddies to team up with, you can spend plenty of time out on the ocean, developing your downwind paddling and maximising the fun for your time on the water.
This article is about encouraging paddlers to take the next step and get out on the ocean to enjoy some of the best parts of our sport with confidence.
This article is also intended to be a good refresher and motivator for all Downwind paddlers!
Vaikobi Race Team's Mackenzie Hynard (AUS) also known as "Big wave Macca"
Leanne Stanley (CAN) showing us just how good the view looks offshore from her OC1
Developing your ocean paddling skills is probably the most important requirement because we need to be self sufficient whilst out there on the Ocean. If you have the right skills and knowledge, there are not too many situations where you will be unable to get back to the beach under your own steam.
More importantly, with the right knowledge and skills, you will not put yourself in these sorts of situations in the first place!
So really spend the time developing your paddling skills over a range of conditions and make sure you are in the right craft for your skill level.
Stability is king and you will catch many more runs when you are on a stable boat. Just ask our friend Boyan Zlatarev from Surfski Center Tarifa, who proves every day what sort of fun and excitement is possible on a stable boat! VIDEO HERE
Before you venture off for your first offshore downwind run, spend considerable time doing "out and backs" in a group situation off the beach or in the harbour in some moving water. Paddling upwind is perfect to develop your skills in the boat and the shorter downwind sections mean that you really focus on developing your downwind skills. You will never get too far from where you started in case you need to stop.
The nature of out and back sessions means that the group stays closer together providing everyone turns at the same time.
Out and back's are also really time efficient as they do not require car shuffling and you maximise your available time on the water.
Murray Stewart and Tim Jacobs (AUS)
Paddling with a buddy/ buddies is another mandatory requirement for downwind paddling. Make sure everyone knows each others capabilities and also don't be afraid to "call it" when conditions change or deteriorate beyond yours or your buddies skill level.
Prepare for the session and have a plan!
Make sure everyone in your group knows the route and plan. Also have someone else on land who knows what you are doing so that you have back up should it be needed (like a pick up from a location along the way).
It is also extremely important to select start and finish locations which are manageable for everyones skill level and also be aware of potential obstacles along the way (breaking waves on offshore reefs etc).
Know the weather forecast, assess the conditions before you start and re-assess the conditions as you go.
There are countless articles out there highlighting key bits of gear you should have with you on the water. It really is that important.
The amount of amount of safety gear you need is dependent on the conditions, the remoteness of where you are paddling and the level of competency in your group.
Keep it minimal but invest in the key items which can really make a difference in an emergency.
There is no substitute for skills or knowledge, so don't get complacent and put yourself in situations you are not ready for just because you have all the safety gear.
Key safety items:
PFD- Mandatory no matter what the conditions are like.
Set the culture in your group and call out anyone who does not comply.
Vaikobi and other great brands have worked hard to develop a range of Internationally recognised PFD's that are super light and comfortable for ocean paddling to the point that you often don't know that you are wearing it. Get a good quality, comfortable and visible PFD and wear it!
Leg Leash- Mandatory- When the wind is up and you fall out, it is so easy to part with your craft and they sail off at a rate of knots, which is faster than you can swim.
The old saying in sailing is that 'the best life raft you have is your boat'. Stay attached to it and make sure your leash is in full working order and has not had too many "stretch outs" if you have come off in the surf break.
Mobile Phone in Waterproof Case: Recommended- Make sure you have tested how it works in it's case, when wet.
Personal Locator Beacon (PLB): Recommended-
In Australia, you register your PLB with AMSA (Australian Marine Safety Authority) so that in the event of an emergency they have all your details and can be more up to speed with what they are dealing with along with your contact details. All countries have similar arrangements. Be aware that once you trigger your PLB, It will commence a full on search and rescue effort by the local authorities so only use it as a last resort in a true emergency.
Flare: Recommended- If you want to draw attention to craft nearby for immediate assistance, a orange smoke hand flare will certainly help. You only get one shot at it so make sure you use it when it is going to be seen!
Now the next bit is something that Vaikobi is really passionate about! We know first hand how important it is to be seen on the water from a lifetime of being out on the ocean.
Primarily it is really important that your buddy/ buddies can see you. If they can't see you, they will start looking for you and this is often when plans come unstuck and confusion occurs.
It is also important for other marine traffic on the water to be able to see you. Particularly in the troughs of the ocean, it is so easy to be not seen on a Ski, SUP and OC, so wear bright fluorescent coloured gear to increase your ability to be visible on the ocean.
At Vaikobi we work hard to make gear that is not only highly visible, but also looks great too. Check out a few of our options available:
It is important to stay hydrated out there so make sure you have a hydration system which allows you to access your water easily whilst paddling without having to use your hands. The Vaikobi Ocean Racing PFD has a hydration pocket on the back as well as guide tabs to feed your hose to position for easy access.
This is the most important aspect about Ocean Paddling. Don't worry about your GPS (although it is fun to check out your 1km splits later!), just focus on catching runs to the best of your ability and fitness level.
The adrenaline rush of roaring along on the top of a nice ocean swell never gets old and it is great fun to share it with friends.
Enjoying a coffee or beer afterwards with the downwind crew is also a mandatory requirement of downwind paddling. Somehow the runs get longer and faster in the debrief!
If you are looking to develop your downwind paddling skills and would like to get some coaching, please contact us at Vaikobi as we know some of the best coaches in locations around the world who we can recommend you to get in touch with.
Happy Downwind paddling from the team at Vaikobi!
Round 1 of the Shaw & Partners / Anytime Fitness Australian Ocean Racing Series, kicked off in style at The Gold Coast Classic Ocean Race held on Saturday September 9th with the who's who of the Gold Coast surf life saving scene all present and hunting hard to be the 2017 Champion.
Shannon Eckstein, Jeremy Cotter, Mackenzie Hynard, Kenny Wallace, Sam Norton, Mark Anderson, Karla Gilbert, Dean Gardiner, Yanda Morison, Georgia Laird, Jake Jensen, Matt Nottage, Nathan Meyer, Bruce Taylor, Guy Andrews, Dane Sloss, Maddie Spencer, Tommy Woodriff and Bruce Hoppa Hopkins were amongst some of the legends who rolled up at North Kirra Beach on Saturday morning, getting ready for a cracking race.
In the days leading up, Race Director Jeremy Cotter promised awesome downwind conditions and he delivered with a fantastic 18 knot South Easterly filling in by the start of the race at North Kirra Beach creating some awesome runs down the race track to Tallebudgera Beach.
Pre-Race at North Kirra, the 165 competitors across Ocean Ski, SUP, Prone and OC, all took a moment to remember legend Iron Man and paddler Dean Mercer, with a one minute silence in his honour.
First up the SUPs and Prones took off from the beach with a sprint out to the first turning mark before turning left on their way to Talle with the wind and waves building behind them making for a quick run north.
The second start saw the Ocean Ski's and OC take a course which included a sprint out to the first mark, before turning right for an upwind leg of 3km up to Snapper Rocks, before turning North for the 11km downwind slide for all the way to Talle....and there were some awesome rides to be had!
At the finish everyone was frothing about how awesome the runs were out there. For sure this event will grow in numbers as more and more paddlers hear about what a great race it is.
Race Director Jeremy Cotter not only pulled off being part of the organisation team for this race, but also pulled off a race victory with a 15 second win over Iron Man legend Shannon Eckstien with Sam Norton, 3rd, Vaikobi's Macca Hynard 4th and Olympic Champion Kenny Wallace in 5th. Not a shabby top 5 right there you have to say!
Notable mention to 17 year old Oscar Jones who finished 9th in the Open Ski, only 2 minutes 30 off the winner. One to watch for sure.
One of the awesome aspects of the GC Classic this year was the strong SUP turn out with 46 SUP's on the startline at North Kirra.
Jake Jensen scored a strong win in the Unlimited SUP Mens from Ben Tardrew and Chad Islip.
Matt Nottage pushed the unlimited's hard whilst taking out the Men's SUP 14' from Jackson Maynard and Tim Gyprien in what was a hot field.
In the Women's SUP, legend ex Iron Woman and now legend SUP racer Karla Gilbert, cleared out to take a big win over Vanessa Caley and Karen Masson.
Back in the ski's, the legend of the ocean and the man responsible for the Australian Ocean Racing Series, Dean Gardiner got the Team Ocean Paddler double fired up with ex Olympian Yanda Morison in the back seat, to take the win in the doubles from Heath Brown/ Todd Murray and Brook Crosse/ Peter Winton.
In the Women's Ski, Georgia Laird took a strong victory over Victoria's Wendy Reyntjes and Vaikobi's Maddie Spencer.
The Spec Ski saw Jy Timerley take a close win over Dane Sloss and Jon Locke in what was a strong turn out for this class, as you would expect on the GC.
Eight prone boards took on the GC Classic and in the end it was Iron Man Rhys Burrows who took the chocolates from Lochlan Jonquieres and Michael Chan.
Six OC1's were on the startline with Paul Chong taking a massive victory.
Congratulations to everyone involved in putting on this awesome race.
For Sydney based paddlers, this is a super easy race to do on a day trip due to the close proximity of this race to Gold Coast Airport, so lock it in to your schedule for next year!
Next up is Round 2 of the AORS with "The Chucky" Charles Stewart Memorial being held here this Saturday September 16th
Full Results available at: https://www.p2ftimingsystem.com.au/events/view/results/65
Make your Dad Number 1 this Father's Day with a gift from Vaikobi Ocean Performance!
Vaikobi Ocean Performance Gear is designed and engineered to make your Dad increase his comfort and performance on the water.
Vaikobi gear also has the added effect of making your Dad even cooler than he already is!
Vaikobi also has full line up of our hugely popular Performance PFD's designed to keep your Dad fast and safe on the Ocean and is available through your local Vaikobi Stockist in Australia and NZ as well as online through www.vaikobi.com
Still undecided on what to get him, have no fear as there are more options available for you:
1) Get him a Vaikobi hat. Dad's always dig hats!
2) Purchase a Vaikobi Gift Voucher available in a number of values and let him select his gift later on.
If you are still struggling, then have no fear as you can Email our Fathers Day Emergency Help Line at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific advice and we will help you work out the best gift for him.
Happy Fathers Day to all the cool Vaikobi Dads out there!