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Oleron Island Stand Up Challenge

Posted on June 17, 2013 - Filed Under Stand Up Paddling, Surftech Boards | By

Oleron Island Stand Up Challenge

The Oleron Island Stand Up Paddle Challenge, which is the French leg of the 2013 Stand Up World Series, saw plenty of the pros at the race, which made it exciting for me to see how I could fair against them. Training has been going well and I feel I’m improving in every race this season.

Day 1
As the weather was predicted to be really bad for Saturday the long distance race was moved to a different venue and the course was shortened to a two lapped, out and back format.
On the start line it was very difficult to hold a good position because the race organisers were moving everyone around and keeping us so tightly bunched!
As soon as we started everyone was bashing into each other and as the pace of the start was quick it was really tough. Going into the chop on the way out I got myself up to seventh rounding the first buoy with Casper. As we hit the downwind section Casper fell off causing me to do the same. The guys behind shot past and I had to chase hard the whole way down this section to get back with them.
Going back upwind I felt strong in about 10th with me leading the draft train and then eventually getting away from the group and as we hit the final downwind section into the finish it was a full on burn up to the end. I couldn’t quite hang on and ended up 12th but I was pleased as I beat a few handy guys.

Day 2
Day two was the sprint races (about 1km) around a triangle course with a knock out format with four going through in each round and the rest into a rep-recharge round. Conditions were really flat at the start of the day but a cross-shore wind picked up all day.
In my first heat I had Connor Baxter and Paul Jackson. Again the pace was quick off the line and the 3 of us got clear. I would like to say Connor was going flat out as I beat him but he wasn’t!
Into the quarters I again had Connor and Paul as my main competitors and the three of us advanced to the semis. Aaron Rowe from Jersey had a storming paddle and nearly got through ending up in 5th. Aaron had some good results this weekend.
The semi’s was a different kettle of fish as the wind was making conditions very tricky and turning the buoys especially difficult. Every round we went through the pace was getting quicker and therefore less room for errors. I had a pretty good start and was 6th at the back of the pack hoping for someone to make an error. Unfortunately that was me when falling around a buoy turn and I missed out on the main final.
In the rep-recharge final I again had a good start paddling in 3rd for most of the race before getting knocked from behind when turning and going down again!

That’s racing but some more practice is needed I think. I finished the sprints in 14th and over the two days 13th overall so I cannot complain against that caliber of field.

Ollie Shilston - Surftech Team Rider

Riding New Bark 12’6″ Carbon Phantom


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