The Vaikobi race team completed a full domination of a world-class field at the Nelo summer challenge here in Porto, Portugal.
Pre Race forecasts on Saturday promised for great downwind race, however the a persistent high pressure system did not move away in time to allow for the wind to increase as much as anticipated, leaving competitors with the task of grinding out a tactical race down the Portuguese coast.
Vaikobi’s Sean Rice continued with his strong run of form this year where he dominated the field to score a massive 2 minute + victory over the Spanish Marathon Champ Walter Bouzan who relished the tough flat conditions.
Australian Vaikobi Race Team charger, McKenzie Hynard has also put his hand up as a strong contender for this year's tour with an extremely strong performance claiming third place overall. Macca was placed second for the entire race before being run down by the flat water specialist, Bouzan in the last kilometre.
In the Women's Vaikobi’s Hayley Nixon from South Africa also decimated the field with a massive victory providing a strong reward for all her hard training efforts over the last few months as she continues to gear up for some major races in the back half of the year.
The pocket rocket, Angie Le Roux from France paddled a fantastic race to claim third behind the gutsy New Zealander Teneale Hatton.
In a fantastic result for the Vaikobi race team, our athletes claimed 5 out of the top 8 places in the Men’s and 3 out of the top 6 spots in the Women's! Great work Team!
The World Surf Ski Tour continues this week where all the action moves to Squamish, Canada, BC, where the Canadian Surfski Championships will see some of best paddlers from around North America and the World complete on a fantastic downwind course on Howe Sound.
Following on from the Canadian Surfski Championship, the tour moves to Hood River, Oregon for the Gorge Downwind Championship which this year will see a record turn out of competitors enjoying the epic downwind conditions on offer at the Gorge.
Stay tuned for updates through the Vaikobi Facebook and Instagram pages.
Congratulations and thanks to the race organisers- Andre Santos, Marisa Magalhaes, Nuno, Oscar and the whole team at Nelo who put on such a fantastic event.
Nelo Summer Challenge Results:
Mens Top 10:
1st Sean RICE RSA
2nd Walter BOUZAN ESP
3rd Mackenzie HYNARD AUS
4th Gordan HARBRECHT GER
5th Nicolas LAMBERT FRA
6th Jasper MOCKE RSA
7th Esteban MEDINA ESP
8th Laousse YANNICK FRA
9th Stuart MACLAREN RSA
10th Bevan MANSON RSA
Womens Top 10:
1st Hayley NIXON RSA
2nd Teneale HATTON NZL
3rd Angie LE ROUX FRA
4th Jenna WARD RSA
5th Amaia OSABA ESP
6th Chloe BUNNETT ESP
7th Sara RAFAEL POR
8th Simone JUNKER GER
9th Sara MARTI ESP
10th Gras LISA FRA
For full results, please visit: http://summerchallenge.nelo.eu/new/results/
The 2017 Maui Jim Molokai Challenge is over for another year and we were extremely proud to see two of our star athletes from the Vaikobi Race Team, absolutely dominate this years race.
Sean Rice & Rachel Clarke claimed both the Men's & Women's titles respectively giving Vaikobi an exciting double title in what was a gruelling Molokai this year!
In the Men's Sean Rice (South Africa) owned it from the beginning and pulled out a massive win over what many considered to be one of the strongest line up of competitors for a long time. To describe the calibre of this victory, one only has to see the names of the competitors behind him- Hank McGregor, Cory Hill, Jasper Mocke, Clint Robinson, Pat Dolan, Oscar Chalupsky & Lewis Laughlin....all absolute legends of the sport.
Sean has locked in to a strong training program out of his Richmond base in London UK and his perfect preparation showed as he dominated this race from start to finish.
We are extremely proud of Sean and everything he has achieved to date and we know that winning this race has been a goal of his for a very long time, so it was fantastic to see his goal achieved.
In the Womens, Rachel Clarke (New Zealand) set the pace from the outset and showed why she is one of the world's best ocean paddlers on the circuit right now. Rachel controlled her tempo and finished strong to take the Womens title- Her second Molokai title and we don't think she is done yet!
We are so stoked for Rach to be able to claim her second Molokai in such great style and we are excited to see her continue this strong form through the year.
Ryan Paroz (Australia) was the third Vaikobi Race Team member competing in the Molokai this year. 2017 was Ryan's 4th Molokai, which for a 21 year old is pretty awesome if you ask us! Ryan finished 19th overall and 3rd in the 19-29 division. Well done Ryano!
Below are the Molokai stories as told by Sean and Rach. Enjoy!
Today was a big day for me! Today I finally took the win at one of the most prestigious Surfski races in the world, the Molokai Challenge. I've been so close before, but 4th time lucky! The hard work and sacrifice that has gone on behind the scenes to me achieving this is endless and by no means all mine! I have to thank my sponsors, both Think Kayak Global and Vaikobi for their confidence and support they put into me. I just can't thank you enough! Thank you to the crew from Richmond Canoe Club for the quality training!
I want to thank my friends, family and most of all my Emily for the endless guidance and encouragement towards me achieving my best. I doubt my self a lot and you never do!
The racing was tough and the field was strong. Thank you to all the guys out there today for a fantastic and brutal race. I will be feeling it for a while haha.
The beers are going to taste as sweet as honey tonight!
After last years Molokai I didn’t think I would be heading back to race the gruelling 52km slog that it was. Dead flat glassy waters and I was just happy to finish the 2016 Molokai race. Late last year i thought to myself, you know what; I want to be the female ski paddler that’s known for Molokai, the most wins under their belt. I think for me the feeling when you cross the finish line in Hawaii Kai it’s a pretty unreal feeling knowing that you’ve just crossed one of the most dangerous channels in the world – ‘The channel of Bones’. Molokai is one of the most prestige races in the World so who wouldn’t want to go back?!
This year I arrived in Hawaii on the Saturday morning, 1 week prior to race day. I wanted to give myself enough time to acclimatise and feel comfortable during the week. Leaving Auckland with rather chilly weather it was quite nice to arrive in Hawaii with 28-30 degrees! Once I landed in Hawaii I spent the day with my mum just relaxing and checking into our Hotel. I had a rest day and just went for a swim and walk at the beach. Over the next couple of days I did a couple of downwind runs from Hawaii Kai (where the race finish is) to the Outrigger Club, this paddle is approximately 18km from the edge of China Wall. I had an awesome time during these paddles and thought to myself maybe this will be a downwind year for Molokai! The entire week was absolutely cranking conditions the daily shuttles were full. Once again as all the paddlers were looking on weather and wind apps it would seem we were going to have another flat year paddling across the channel. I wasn’t too phased by this, I had done majority of my training in the flat but of course a downwind would have been a lot of fun! On the Wednesday mum and I hired my dream car aka Jeep Wrangler and drove up to the North Shore for the day, we checked out the local town and spent some time checking out the famous Waimea Bay. That night we had a lovely BBQ at the Brand’s residence with fellow paddlers which was so lovely and amazing scenery to look out onto Pipeline from their backyard! Thank you so much Charles and Beth for having us! Days went by and I kept on checking the wind conditions but it was pretty set in that it was going to be flat. I continued doing my planned programme and tried to keep relaxed throughout the week.
This year I had decided to fly over to Molokai on the race morning, this meant I could have a hearty dinner and a early night sleep knowing that I would have to get up at 4am to catch the flight. By 6:30am we had landed on Molokai and it was about a 20 minute shuttle to the race start location at Kepuhi Bay. We arrived at the Bay and I had a about an 1 1/2 hours until the female start, the mens start was 30 minutes after us. I found my ski and got it all set up with my drink system and gels and made sure everything was set to go. The water looked rather calm and I though ‘Wow here we go again, flat racing’. At about 7:45 all paddlers gathered on the beach for a blessing which was really moving and I think made us all realise how special this race and channel we are about to paddle really is. At about 8:00am I located my support boat and waved him down, my mum then swam out to the boat with our gear bags and I got on the water for a warm up. I was feeling really good and was trying not to get too nervous. 8:30am and we were all lined up on the start line, also in the women’s start were the outriggers, double ski’s and a few on the intermediate male paddlers. The hooter went and I was off, I had a good start and was in a group with an OC6 and a women’s double ski. I stayed in this group for about 15km’s, I was feeling very strong and relaxed in the flat conditions. My plan was to stay controlled for the first 30km and then push it up a notch for the last 22km. With that in mind I didn’t want to push it too hard and have nothing for the last 2hours. This year I was paddling the Epic V12 where as last year I paddled the V10L GT (about 3kg’s lighter). The V12 is the ultimate downwind boat however noticeably heavier than the GT but that’s the boat I had decided to paddle and I love it. For the next 15km I was with the double ski and we had a few turns of taking leads. Up to 35km I was feeling really good, I went off on my own and tried to tick it up a notch. The muscles were beginning to ache and I was definitely starting to feel the pain. As I approached China wall there were a few pumps to catch but it was pretty hard work and as I got closer and closer to China wall it got messier, pretty much like a washing machine. As I rounded China wall I knew I had about 2kms to go, I gave it everything I had and pushed it to the finish. Crossing that finish line I was so happy, knowing I gave it everything and the icing on the cake to be the first female. I guess I was slightly disappointed to have done exactly the same time as I did last year but hard to compare with the conditions and paddling a heavier boat. I will definitely be back next year for another crossing!!! The mens race was one hot field with Sean Rice taking the win, Hank McGregor coming in 2nd and Cory Hill in 3rd.
A huge thank you to my sponsors for your ongoing support and helping me get here!!!!
LAUNCHING APRIL 20th 2017
Vaikobi is excited to launch the 2017 VCold Performance line up of paddle gear specifically designed to increase performance in cool to cold conditions.
The new 2017 VCold Storm fabrication features a slightly thicker outer ripstop fabrication for increased protection from the elements, whilst still maintaining the highest level of breathability and wick ability.
In the 2017 collection, we have updated the trusted and proven VCold Storm Paddle Pant and Paddle Top's with new design and fabrication features to further improve performance. We have also added in two brand new items in the VCold Storm Paddle Short and Vest, based on paddler feedback.
The VCold Base Top completes the line up as the trusted paddle top to keep you warm without over heating.
AVAILABLE APRIL 20th 2017 through all Vaikobi Dealers and www.vaikobi.com
Vaikobi is excited to announce the arrival date of a brand new line up of Vaikobi's VCold Performance range of technical paddle gear set to storm on to the market in April.
Designed to control your body temperature for maximum performance in cool to cold conditions, the next generation VCold range features a number of new fabric and design innovations, engineered specifically for the paddle athlete to further enhance body temperature control, wicking and overall comfort.
Included in the range are updated designs of the hugely popular VCold Storm Paddle Pant, Storm Paddle Top & Base Top however there are some awesome new additions to the line up which will become "must have" items in every paddle athlete's kit bag!
Vaikobi's Pat Langley commented that "This exciting new range is the culmination of two years of R & D, working with Vaikobi's international race team and paddle athletes across all paddle disciplines. Over this period, our Athletes tested a number of new fabrications and designs across a range of conditions to ensure that the final product will deliver the ultimate in performance and comfort on the water".
Keep an eye out for the official range launch in April 2017 when the full line up will be announced and available through your local Vaikobi Stockist and through www.vaikobi.com
The Paddle Life UV Paddle Top features our super lightweight and stretchy VLight fabrication, which is extremely soft feeling for maximum comfort whilst racing and training.
Iron Woman Danielle McKenzie from New Zealand is at the top of her game right now and holds numerous titles across all surf disciplines at New Zealand, Australia and World Championship Surf Life Saving events.
Vaikobi is stoked to have Danielle on the team and we look forward to working with her as we develop our range of technical performance products for Surf Athletes.
Danielle competed in many sports growing up through school. Her international career started off when she competed for NZ in the U19 Age group triathlon World Championships in Budapest 2010. At only 16 years of age she placed 2nd in her age group. In 2011 she again competed at the Triathlon World Champs in China, where she again placed 2nd.
In 2012 after finishing high school Danielle shifted her focus to Surf Life Saving. In 2012 she was selected for the U20 NZ Surf Life Saving team which placed 2nd to Australia at the World Championships in Adelaide. From here, her dreams of representing NZ in the Open Surf Lifesaving World Champs would become reality.
In 2014 she was selected in the Open NZ Surf Lifesaving team (Black Fins) who were crowned World Champions at Rescue 2014 in France and created history in NZ Surf Lifesaving by becoming back to back World champions. Danielle is the current World Board and Line Throw Champion.
In 2014, Danielle qualified for the Professional Nutrigrain Kellogg’s Ironwoman Series in Australia, one of the few kiwis to gain acess to this elite series. She placed 13th overall with her best result 11th. In 2015/16 she again re-qualifed for the Ironwoman Series where she again placed 13th overall, with her best result a 10th. The 2016 Surf Life Saving season saw Danielle take out both the ski and the board in the Summer of Surf Series in Australia as well and many nationals medals in New Zealand and Australia.
Late 2016, Danielle competed for NZ and BMD Northcliffe at the Surf Life Saving International and club World Championships in Netherlands. Both the team NZ and BMD Northcliffe reclaimed their World Title positions. Danielle is now current World Champ in female Ski race and line throw. Danielle headed to Fiji in November to compete in the ISA World Paddleboard technical and Distance races. Here she placed 2nd in both.
Keep an eye out for Danielle as she competes in the last round of the Summer of Surf this weekend on the Gold Coast, before she takes on the World's best Iron Women at the Nurti-Grain IronWoman Final at Cronulla on Feb 24-26.
DANIELLE MCKENZIE PROFILE:
Lives: Auckland, NZ / Gold Coast, QLD
Surf Club: BMD Northcliffe
National Team: Black Fins, NZ Surf Life Saving
Favourite Vaikobi Item: VCold Storm Paddle Pants!
Danielle's Dad took her down to Mairangi Bay SLSC when she was 7 years old and she has never looked back.
Today Danielle is a star on the Nutri-Grain & Summer of Surf Iron Woman Circuits and holds numerous titles across all surf disciplines at NZ, Australian and World championship events.
Danielle also finished a tight second at the ISA Paddleboard World Champs in Fiji in 2016.
Danielle is currently studying a Bachelor of Sport and recreation majoring in Sport and Exercise Science and Sports Management at AUT.
In her spare time Danielle also runs Nipper clinics, sharing the passion with tomorrow's champions. For more info, check out www.facebook.com/oceanathleticscoaching/
The sun is the enemy!
We all love a bit of sun on our bodies, however being the ocean going creatures spending long periods out on the water, the sun quickly becomes the enemy as it increases body temperature and cooks our skin having a negative impact on performance.
Developed and tested by Vaikobi's Race Team of Athletes, the VOcean Performance range is designed to protect your body from the harsh sun and help control body temperature to keep you powering on the water.