Mittwoch, März 12, 2008


Yes, I'll do it.
"Race around Australia"
In a kayak :-). Solo. Unsupported. Starting this year.
I'm just working on a new website and blog with Derrick, so please check with me in a few days about more details and plenty of pics of the other trips! Things just take their time...and I'm sometimes working for my shops, too...

Dienstag, März 04, 2008

infected by the surfski virus - The Culebra Challenge

The internet connects the world...and sometimes brings some highly infectious virus to your own house...
I got infected with the surfski virus only three weeks ago... just by watching some great little videos on youtube which a certain kayak-crazy journalist from New York linked to me on some inspiring e-mails...he actually planned just to write some stuff about my NZ-trip...and happened to be a passionate surfski paddler, too.
Not that Oscar Chalupsky for sure hopped on one of these to show me some decent strokes 4 weeks ago (see last post)...but on flatwater I didn't find that craft too attractive on that occasion :-)) - and I'm rather attracted to the rough stuff...
Anyway, after meeting Oscar to try the epic 18x for maybe my next big expedition I straight drove back some days later to Alex Craven from Oarsport, the German epic distributor in Hamburg, to try the surfskis out by myself!

I tried to squeezed myself in the epic V10, but felt my female hipbones needed a bit more space...I felt instantly comfi then in the a bit more wider (and stable) epic V10 sport.
Some 1/2 hr up-and downpaddling on the Dove Elbe's flatwater was enough for me to get me hooked...and I was allowed to take a demo V10 sport home! Thanks to Alex, Oscar and Greg from epic!
My first 4-hrs testpaddle on the freezing February Baltic Sea's windwaves at force 5-6 gave me some more confidence on that tippy craft, and the most frozen feet I ever had in my life - but who cares!!! Just dress better next time, as I had already the vision of *THIS* .....
On a solo training run off San Juan harbour entrance, I felt I was better waiting for a huge cruise boat to come in. Just passed a pot of 15 dolfins, and a 1 m sea turtle was floating by...
a>- joining the Culebra Race in Puerto Rico!
Not that I'm spontanious - but it was only one week from the first try to be THERE. Thanks to the organization talent of Harry Negron to fit me in last minute!
I took the chance of 6 training runs - each about 2hrs paddles with only about 1/2 hrs downwind before the race day - but my confidence to survive the race and to display not the worst figure on the new craft on racing day grew day by day...some bracing hard sometimes, but at least I didn't fell off...

Joe and I checking out the skis in the hotel lagoon.

Great to have the help of good friends as a newbie! Thanks to the Puerto Rican strong local paddlers Harry Negron, Federico Muskus, Jaime Ponce, Anitza Villalobos and Hector Cartagena, who helped me on the ski the first days, and thanks to Joe Glickman and to Greg Barton from team epic to take good care of me later!

Greg, Joe and I were preparing our GPS's with the position of the final destination of the race on the Puerto Rico main island.

Waiting for the ferry to Culebra: Greg Barton, Anitza Villalobos, Joe Glickman

part of team epic on the was actually that bumpy we all had our weak minutes with seasickness...

A happy vacation transportation to the hotel...Greg Barton, myself, Joe Glickman, Anitza Villalobos, Federico Muskus, Jaime Ponce, Harry Negron

tropical felings...

a fine line-up of shark fins...

Race start - Greg Barton with the no. 1, I was no. 13, right besides Anitza Villalobos in the first orange ski. I managed to somehow stay in her wake on the flat water part, but on the rough stuff she slowly pulled off...K1-training and more surfski experience won! Great strong girl. 5 min ahead, 3hrs 38 min on 24 miles.

group pic after the award's ceremony

There are already great postings about results and more pics of the event on Greg's blog and on

It was one of the great spontanious decisions in my life to go for it NOW, who knows where it will take me to in future! And I will love to be back next year.

Surfski paddling and racing on the open ocean is great fun, exciting and challenging - just what I needed after my long solo New Zealand trip - chasing a field of 20 strong men and (only...) one strong woman for 24 miles across the open ocean! I think it will make me a more powerful, fast and balanced expedition sea kayaker, too...

I hope to join more races, and whoever likes to try the ski when I'm travelling to symposiums with my van, is more than welcome!

This is where my dreams will continue for now - I stored my ski on the ceiling of my living room, as my backyard boat shed is roomy, but too short...right under a 4 m x 2,50 m world map... - well, I might take it down occasionally to get it wet again for some more exciting paddling :-))