The Lost Mills

The 2017 Lost Mills race.

 

After a 125km race in Ibiza it was time to drive down to one of the biggest events of my season and that was the 2017 international Lost Mills race.

With only a couple of days of rest we started racing on Thursday with the inflatable 12,6 sprints then a couple of hours later with the 14 ft hardboard sprints.

James, Petronella, Lena, Ricardo and Americo (Team Mistral).

James, Petronella, Lena, Ricardo and Americo (Team Mistral).

Thursday.

In the inflatable sprints I was placed 4th, then hours later came the 14 ft hardboard race and what a disaster that was, with changing sides and losing seconds in the 200meter sprint I got a disappointing 17th place, it was definitely I learning process and something to keep in mind for my next training sessions.

After a full day of 200 meter sprints it was time to get some rest for the Friday’s 10 km inflatable 14 ft race.

14 ft Hardboard 200 meter sprint race

14 ft Hardboard 200 meter sprint race

Friday.

 

The 10 km 14ft inflatable race started at 1pm, the board what I used was the standard mistral 14 ft by 28 inch board, but clearly other people came here prepared for the inflatable race, with custom made boards from 14 ft by 22 inch to 24 inch, we were clearly going to have a hard race to stay with them.

Starting the race with the top pack feeling strong, I was behind fellow team rider from tahiti Bruno who took an amazing 4th place and not to forget Steeve who took 3rd. In the end fighting and trying to keep up with the top guys I came in 7th. It was defiantly a very tiring race keeping up a high pace and still keeping up with the pack with there custom inflatable boards.

After a hard 10km race, it was straight to bed for me after pushing my limits and was time to prepare my self for the most important race of the week.

14 ft by 28 inch inflatable race

14 ft by 28 inch inflatable race

Saturday.

Waking up early after going to bed at 8:30 pm, it was time to get ready to race on the 14 ft hard boards.

Race started at 1 pm and what a start that was.

Starting the race with the Tahitians who were leading the pack with an incredible high pace, I really thought I could keep up till the end but I was just losing that extra experience and strength that they clearly had, with fighting and pushing myself to keep up, I lost the pack at the 2nd round and lost all my energy. With a hungry pack behind me catching places, it was a struggle to keep a high pace by myself. In the end they caught me in the last 2 km and it was going to be a sprint finish.

Coming in to the last buoy I was sprinting for my life with the very little energy I had left and came in 9th, I was glad to finish in the top 10.

Congrats to my team mate steeve for taking the win with the 14 ft vortex XL and to Bruno for his 4th place.

Mistral clearly dominated the 2017 Lost mills sup race with their well designed 14 ft boards by Steve West.

Beach run to the water.

Beach run to the water.

It was an amazing event and I'm really Looking forward to coming back next year.

Now on the way back to Holland and prepare my self again for the last 4 international races of the euro-tour.

Podium.

Podium.

Vuelta Ibiza Race.

From having some intense races these past weeks in the euro-tour, it was time for some long distance racing in Ibiza for the 2017 Vuelta Ibiza sup race.

The race is organised by the most extreme race organisations called the 11 cities 220km sup tour ( that I have competed and accomplished 2 times).

 The 2017 Vuelta Ibiza is a 5 day stage race, we (paddle racers) call it the small version of the 11 cities. Every day we would paddle 20 to 30km's in 5 days to complete the whole island. And without forgetting one of the main sponsors to make this event happen was a massive thanks to Mistral, to help supply the event with flags, boards etc.

125km around Ibiza in 5 stages.

125km around Ibiza in 5 stages.

 

Day 1, Cala Llenya to Talamanca.

 

Starting at 8:30am, 20+ paddlers are all ready to start the race around the island and what better way to start the event with an amazing downwind.

The board I chose for these open ocean conditions was clearly going to be the 14ft Equinox.

Starting the race at a nice pace with team mate Ricardo keeping together for around 5 km's, it was time for the downwind bit and I was ready to make a gap and show how much I love to downwind on the equinox. Kilometers into the race catching bumps after bumps and gliding effortless on the amazing mistral board I got a massive gap in between Ricardo and I.

 It was defiantly a downwind to remember with views of Ibiza’s little islands and landscape, Coming into the finish line with the event organisers ready at the beach to greet me in, I got a 8 minute lead ahead of Ricardo, but I knew that the days to come Ricardo was going to catch me, so I had to push my self hard the first days.

 

Downwind.

Downwind.

 

 

 Day 2, Talamanca to Cala d'Hort.

 

Waking up early and hearing the wind, it was a guess of what conditions we had for today.

Having breakfast with the team and listening to the briefing, I was really glad to hear it was going to be another downwind run with bigger bumps so that means endless glides to the finish line.

Starting the race at 8:30am. Again around 20+ paddlers were ready for the 2nd long distance race of the 5 stages.

 It was an beach race start, Ricardo and I got the lead side by side and kept together for the first 5 to 10 kilometers. When the downwind part came it was time to show my knowledge and catch glides effortless. Passing by Formentera to the left side of us, it was definitely another downwind to remember and one of my favourite parts of the 5 day stages.

Coming in to the finish line with a big smile on my face because of course the downwind run was amazing.

That was the end of an amazing day, so it was time to eat and rest because tomorrow was going to be another day paddling around 20 km's.

 

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 Day 3, Cala d'Hort to Cala Salada

 

 Paddling these past days where going super fast but that changed till today.

The wind direction change, and it was going to be hard with side wind conditions.

 After 2 days of giving everything in the downwind section I was definitely feeling the pain and tiredness.

 Starting the race 30 minutes later than normal (9am). Ricardo and I again taking the lead from the start but this time it was a game changer with having the side wind there was no going away from each other. Paddling into the 10km mark we took turns in the drafting and tried to make moves to separate ourselves but it was not going to plan.

 Nearly to the end, there was only 5km to go but with the wind picking up it felt like the last little part took for ever. Ricardo sprinted away and made the move and I couldn't keep up for the pace abit, but I found another gear in my body and stepped it up to catched him and try and make my move as well.

Catched up to Ricardo and from there I made the move to sprint on myself and try and take a lead, but that didn't happen the way I wanted, it was a long 3km sprint isntead. Pushing my limits to get to the finish line and we were still sprinting side by side, but I really wanted that win.

I found a little bump from some re bounce of the rocks and took at least a board length lead in front, I was feeling sick and very tired of pushing but was super glad that was over, it was great push by Ricardo and myself.

The event was not finished yet because we still had 2 days left to complete the full course.

 

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Day 4, Cala Salada to Portinatx

This was the Longest stretch of the 5 stages. I was clearly very tired and the muscle pains were getting worse.

At the briefing for today’s race, it was not nice to hear that we would be paddling head wind for 26 km's straight. We left early than normal because the wind was clearly picking up when the time was getting later.

Starting the race, Ricardo and I took the lead and stuck together to help each other finish this gruelling 26 km upwind paddle. After every 3km change we were getting close to the end, my energy levels were low and I couldn't nearly keep up the pace with Ricardo.

Getting to the finish line together was definitely a team win. Working together to the end and side by side finish, Ricardo took the win for day 4, and clearly deserved it for pushing all the way to the end.

I was really looking forward to the last day of the Vuelta Ibiza race.

 

 Day 5, Portinatx to Cala Llenya

 

Waking up exhausted after pushing myself after 4 hard days, I clearly was looking forward to getting this day out of the way.

 Starting the race early in the morning, it was a flat water grind.

Ricardo from the start took the lead with around 2 board lengths in front, and I was not feeling any better pushing myself to catch up.

Into the 10km mark I caught up to Ricardo and try and keep up.

Turning the last part of the island, there was a downwind and side wind part that was killing me. I knew I had nothing to lose and just try and keep up with Ricardo.

He got a gap again and took the lead with a couple of board lengths in front, but I couldn't give up because I couldn't let him get away with minutes. I was leading the overall ranking with around 9 minutes ahead, so it was my move to just keep up and make sure he could not get that longer gap a head of me. Finishing to the beach where it all began. I made it.

With that amazing strong effort Ricardo gave he took  the win on the last day of the Vuelta Ibiza race, but still wasn't enough to catch the overall win because he still would have to make 6 minutes ahead of me.

And myself coming in to the finish line behind him and a massive reliefs it was all over and done with. I was really happy talking the overall win of the 2017 vuelta Ibiza sup race.

 

 

The journey doesn't just end here. Not even halfway to the season, my next journey with the team will be for the 2017 Lost mills race in Germany this weekend, not just Ricardo, Petronella and myself will be competing in this race but the full Mistral team from Tahiti and Brazil.

It will be my first time in Germany racing so Im really looking forward to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weekends in France Racing.

Its been an amazing two weekends competing in France with the Mistral team (Ricardo, Petronella and myself).

First weekend was the 3rd stop of the euro-tour in Saint Máxime, where over 40% of the top 100 world ranked where there ready as ever to compete.

The Saturday afternoon we had the technical race. The technical race was an 8 km beach race with around 6 to 8 boye turns.

Starting the race with around over 60 elite men on the start line, it was defiantly the most competitive races I have ever joined in my life. Starting the race with butterfly's in my stomach and nerve levels rising and the stressful waiting game for the horn to go off, minutes later 60 elite men of all ages ran in to the sea fighting for that top 10 podium. It was defiantly a learning process for my self, because this was my second internacional race on the tour and even more competition than the last race at the second stop of the euro-tour in Namur.

I made mistakes in the technical race and learnt a lot from it but coming in top 25 in the most competitive field in Europe wasn't that bad, it was a great way to start my first internacional season.

Sunday was long distance. With warm conditions the 18 km race was going to be very hard indeed, but I do enjoy my long distance races, so 18 km was just great and I actually wished it was longer because losing the top pack and having to over take the men to catch the pack again is defiantly a burn out. Finishing the Long distance in again a top 25th place was not bad after catching around 5 to 7 paddlers and over taking them to get the position I wanted, but in the overall result it was a 23rd spot for me. my goal was to be top 20's but with that strong field I think top 25 wasn't that bad at all.

Saint Máxime was an amazing experience, racing against some of the top paddlers in the world and learning from my own mistakes that I will improve for my up coming races.

Team Mistral.

Team Mistral.

The Tour wasn't over yet. The next weekend it was the 4th stop of the Euro-tour in Hossegor, France.

Finally arriving there on Wednesday we (Team Mistral) could prepare our selves a bit better than usual, with training in the surf and seeing the race course in person.

After having some fun sessions together, Saturday afternoon it was race time again, but with a change of having the long distance race first. The board I took for the Hossegor paddle games (4th stop of the euro-tour) was my 14ft Equinox open ocean board. With the wind surprisingly picking up in the late afternoon, we new it was going to be a tough race. 

That weekend there was even more competition with team members coming from America and around the world, it came up that around 50% of the top 100 ranked in the world where here in Hossegor ready to compete. 

And again starting the race and getting ready, more than 60 competitors are at it again running in to the surf and trying to get that top 10 podium on the first day of the 4th week of the euro-tour.

boye turn.

boye turn.

In to the boye turn until we go into the harbour for the flat water section, after getting hit quite badly and jumping back up on the board and paddling like mad to catch positions I found my self in a awkward position to notice that my leash was underneath my fin and slowing me down to losing 6 places in the flat water section, I risked to jump in the water and get the leash untangled and get on my board to fight back and get my positions back.

3 km before the race was about to finish I made the move and caught up to the men who over took me and even caught up to the 3rd leading pack.

finishing in 26th with the mistakes and risks I have taken, I was defiantly not a happy boy, but I had to make it up for the beach technical race the next day.

Sunday was not the best conditions we where looking for, with getting to the event early we where delayed from the thick grey fog. That meant no race until it cleared away.

3pm the start of the race was close. 60 men again at the start line and the technical race was only 4 km long, so that meant carnage.

Boards where flying around and guys where getting hit at boye turns, it was a race of luck.

coming in hot.

coming in hot.

Finishing in the place I thought I would not be finishing in but that's the result I got, but with the overall score I came 27th place.

Was again all a learning process and keeping my head up for the next race, I have to keep on training and stay focus. Its along race season so its all still the beginning for me.

The Mistral team had a great time in Hossegor and we are really looking forward to be coming next time. 

This will be the last event that I will be attending at the euro-tour but my races are not over yet, I will be back in the Euro-tour again in the end of June for the Mercedes Benz sup race in Germany. Now its time for some local races in Holland and in just a week we are leaving to attend at the Vuelta Ibiza race that is 125 km and that will be a little training session before I attend for the 11 city tour in September that is 220 km long on a 5 day stage. 

 

2nd stop of the Euro tour in Namur, Belgium.

From having a great start on my internacional race season in London last weekend, it was time to travel to Belgium for the second stop of the euro tour.

On Thursday morning Petronella, Ricardo and I (team Mistral) travelled from Holland to Belgium. After a 3 hour drive we made it to the beautiful city called Namur.

Namur is the capital city of the Wallonia region of Belgium

Namur is the capital city of the Wallonia region of Belgium

I spent the day exploring the city and seeing the historical side of Namur, it was defiantly a day well spent with the mistral team.

After having great day exploring and site seeing, on Saturday afternoon it was race time. There was a very strong field with big names from Hungary, Italy, France, Germany, etc.

The race course was amazing, going underneath bridges and passing historical buildings, this was a race to remember for ever.  

Long distance race course.

Long distance race course.

The race started and it was defiantly not my best start, with not getting a good start I lost the packs that where in the lead, so from there I knew I had to give a lot of effort to try and take over and past racers to get the top 10 position that wanted.

Kilometres into the race I made a lot of moves to catch the 2nd pack.

last lap.

last lap.

After gaining positions I finally caught up to the 2nd pack. A lot of energy was wasted catching the top group but I couldn't give up just yet. It was the last lap and it was time to pick up the pace a bit and try and catch some positions. I was already very tired of trying to catch up to the top guys but with everyone's support a energy boost helped me push my self to keep up with them. We all knew in the drafting pack that it was going to end in a sprint finish to try and get the best position.

Finish line.

Finish line.

200 meters to the finish line and sprinting to the end I finally got to the top 10 position that I wanted.

I Im very happy to get my 8th place and as well being the youngest racer in the elite category has really motivated me even more for the up coming races that are coming soon.

It was a great hard race and the Mistral team did an amazing job. with my self in 8th place, Paul Lenfant in 10th, Ricardo Haverschmith in 18th and Mike Kranenburg in 25th. 

but the one who really dominated the race was team mate Petronella Van Malsen who came in 1st place.

team mistral

team mistral

Thank you Eurotour and Namur for the amazing experience and will be looking forward to next years event.

Now to move on to our next trip for the 3rd stop of the eurotour in Saint Maxine France. 

 

Battle of the Thames 2017 Race.

My first internacional race of the season was called the BOTT at the River Thames in London.

The battle of the Thames is UK's most popular race organised by Blue chip. 

BOTT race course

BOTT race course

The conditions of the race was very different from last years BOTT (2016) with warm weather and not a cloud in the sky but for this year it was very cold with strong freezing wind. Im not a big fan of the cold weather but it was race day and had to go give it all.

Starting the race wasn't my best start, I was in 4th position until I made my move to be in front and not behind and show what Im made of.

From only 1 km in to the race Im head of the pack taking the lead with top Paddlers from the UK on my tail going at a fast pace with some strong head wind. My body was still in shock from the cold weather and was really hard to get warm but at the 10 km point I finally warmed up and started to paddle better and starting to pull the train further away from the pack behind us. In the end there was four of us in the lead and I knew I had to make a move at some point to break away from them.

James leading the pack.

James leading the pack.

There was at least 5 km's till the finish-line, I was still leading the pack and got a chance to lose two guys of the train, but me and Maurice (rider behind me)  kept on battling till the finish line.

Nearly to the finish line.

Nearly to the finish line.

Last kilometres left and I knew it was going to be a sprint finish against myself and Maurice, I have been pulling all the way and I wanted that first place badly so I was defiantly wasn't going to give it away.

I pulled away and got a 10 meter gape sprinting to the finish-line and took the win at the Battle of the Thames race.

 Maurice didn't let it go easily, he was pushing me to my limits and didn't let me go that easily, but I really do like having challenge and a challenge it was.

 

finish-line

finish-line

Very happy to win this amazing race that I have been training hard for and looking forward to my next stop at the euro-tour in Namur, Belgium.

Giving a hand to Maurice who pushed me to my limits.

Giving a hand to Maurice who pushed me to my limits.

1st James Van Drunen (Mistral) 2nd  Maurice Guy (Starboard). 3rd Alexander Mullaney (Sic Maui).  

1st James Van Drunen (Mistral)

2nd  Maurice Guy (Starboard).

3rd Alexander Mullaney (Sic Maui).

 

Arenales del sol, Sup race.

Last Sunday I competed at the third stop of the Circuito Mediterráneo in Arenales del Sol (Elche) that was organised by Parres Water Sports.

The conditions of the race was quite choppy but the board  I competed on was my 14ft by 23inch Vortex Ultra. We had upwind,side wind and a little bit of a down wind conditions, this was a great way to test the board to its limits and for myself as well to really see how this board will work in choppy conditions. 

Yes it is a flat water board but in slight choppy conditions the board works amazingly.

Race course.

Race course.

Starting of the race was very exciting, with a bad start I didn't really have the lead, but on the first turn I took my chances and over took the leaders to take on 1st place and try and keep the lead.

There was a strong field of competitors like Rafa Sirvent who was right behind me for all the time and couldn't get him of my tail, and as well Salva Mora, one of the dark horses who was racing last year but this year he has shown us all the his winter training was paying off. 

After Rafa and Salva pushing my limits at the last buoy turn I got a chance to get a lead of around 50 meters and for the last part we had a little down wind run. They had open ocean board so it was great for them for down wind, but I knew I had to sprint it out till the end to get more ahead of them and catch every bump that came my way. 

Coming in to the finish line.

Coming in to the finish line.

After crossing the line I got my first place that I wanted, and what I work really hard for to keep the lead at let know one pass.

1st James Van Drunen. 2nd Rafa Sirvent. 3rd Salva Mora.

1st James Van Drunen.

2nd Rafa Sirvent.

3rd Salva Mora.

Now its on to my Eurotour to experince new places and race against some of the best paddlers in the world. 

Race weekend.

championships of endurance (28km)

28 kilometre race, placed in Murcia.

Murcia sup race.

Murcia sup race.

This race was  my first Long distance race of the season, Its nothing like the 11 City's or like the Vuelta Ibiza. But still was a great challenge.

There was a very strong competition at the start of the race with big names like Pepe Oltra, Miguel Martorell, Tomas Sanches,  etc. 

The conditions of the race were quite flat with some strong head wind and as well a very strong current.

Starting the race with a very fast pace, Pepe and I took the lead and battled together till a sprint finish. He had that extra strength that I didn't have to get a lead in front of me till the finish line. I was 4 seconds behind him, so its something I need to work on for my next training sessions.

1st place. Pepe Oltra Sans  2nd place. James Van Drunen 3rd place. Tomas Sanches   

1st place. Pepe Oltra Sans 

2nd place. James Van Drunen

3rd place. Tomas Sanches 

 

 

Alicante 8km TECHNICAL race

The organisation of this amazing race is called Republicasup. 

This will be my 3rd year being apart of this race now.

This  race was my first ever race that I competed at, I still remember watching Pepe Oltra Sans (my idol) winning that race and now Im racing against him and keeping up with him, the training and effort is all paying of now. 

The race course was very technical with a lot of pivot turns 

Race course.

Race course.

I started the race quite well, but not well enough to take the lead.

start of the race.  

start of the race.

 

I was in 6th place at the start but I fought my way up to 2nd place and nearly catching the beast Pepe Oltra. My board for this race was the Vortex 14ft ultra, it was quite choppy for my flat water board but it didn't stop me fighting for that podium. 

After a gruelling fight to get the top paddlers, it was the end of the race with a second position, it was quite a challenge because I was quite tired  after Saturdays 28km race. 

coming in to the finish line.

coming in to the finish line.

It was  Great to finish to the weekend with podium finishes and Im looking forward to the next race on  Sunday in Santa Pola (Alicante).

1st Place. Pepe Oltra 2nd place James Van Drunen 3rd place. Salva

1st Place. Pepe Oltra

2nd place James Van Drunen

3rd place. Salva

Patacona Sup Race (Valencia).

It has been 3 weeks now that i have been in Spain from my amazing training trip to Mauritius.

The race season has finally arrived and I Im very prepared for it.

The Circuito mediterráneo are an organisation that place races all around the Mediterranean sea to promote the water sport we all love and enjoy doing. these Races are placed from Valencia all the way to Murcia.

This organisation are water-sport clubs, with out theses clubs working together, we (paddle racers) wouldn't be racing at our home spots on the amazing Mediterranean sea.

For the first race of the season it will be placed in  Patacona (Valencia).

 

technical race course

In these races in Spain there are a lot of talent, there are children from 8 to 16 years of age that are getting better and better by every race they compete in and its great to see that they love the competitive side of the sport as well. As you all see in the photograph, this race will be classed as a short distance technical beach race. There are different distances for the younger ones till the elite category.

This year ill  be competing in the 14ft elite race category. Last year i was in 12,6 elite race, but now the sport is growing bigger by the day and now they say that 14ft boards should be the elite class for men. 

So my board for this race will be my fast 14ft-23 Vortex ultra Race board from my sponsors Mistral and amazingly designed by Steve West.

race day.

The race started at 12 o'clock, there was about over 20 competitors.

The race started with a beach sprint everyone was paddling hard to get the lead. Bad luck for me for having a bad start i wasn't the one in the lead, i was in 4th place.  After the 3rd turn i got relaxed and made my move to pass the racers ahead of me and try and hold my first place position.

After 4 kilometres gritting my teeth and not looking back, i got a 300 meter lead in front of all the racers and from there i knew this race was mine. That didn't mean i could rest and paddle slower, I wanted to make that gape even longer to show that my winter training was paying of nicely. After 3 laps i was around 2 minutes ahead of the pack that was behind me.

coming in to the finish.

coming in to the finish.

The race was great and exciting, not just for me but for the people who came to see the race as well.

I still have alot to improve and still alot to learn but its only the starting of the season and what a great way start.

3rd place Salva (starboard). 2nd place Rafa (starboard). 1st place James (Mistral).

3rd place Salva (starboard).

2nd place Rafa (starboard).

1st place James (Mistral).

 

 

Paddling to Gunner's Quoin island.

 

-the adventure to Gunner’s Quoin island.

 

Training every day none stop in the early mornings and afternoons. It was time to make some new friends here in Mauritius. Because of Mandy and Steve I got to meet Nico, his wife and their son David. We had a lot in common and one of them was the love for the ocean. Only knowing them for a day they were kind enough to take us paddling, ( Ryan,Rachell and I ) to the Gunner’s Quoin Island. This island is only 4 kilometres away from their beach where their house is placed, so all pumped up and ready to paddle to the island.

When we started Paddling to the Island the conditions where changing, from what was predicted flat water in turns out to be a choppy mess with a strong current, black rain clouds and dark deep water.

We all still wanted to go so there was no turning back now.  1 and half hours , with gruelling choppy water and a  strong current, we finally made it.  

Nico and his son David took us around the island showing us this amazing place that I have never experienced before. 2 hours had pasted and Rachel was on her first long distance paddle and first experience with choppy water, it wasn’t going that well. So Ryan and Rachel turned back home. But the adventure didn’t stop for me.

Nico, David and my self stopped at a little stone beach to walk up to the top of the island, after taking my first steps I knew I was going to have a problem with no shoes on my feet,( it is normal  not to wear shoes here ) stepping on stones and prickly grass I shut my mouth and tried to keep up with them, while they have hard feet because of walking bear feet all the time they where walking up the island with no problem. In the end we made it to the top.

The views where speechless and will be a memory for ever. 

 

 

Having a couple hours on the island we came across some lizards, (what extraordinary animals) but I do recommend to any one who wants to walk up to the top of this magnificent island to keep a close look out at all  times on their feet or you will get a little nibble from the lizards that come sneakily towards you, well that’s how I experienced it.  

 

 

 

It was time to leave and get the boards back on the water and head back to Nicos house, we got around the island and I’m not a big fan of the dark but the sunsets here in Mauritius go very fast. I started paddling faster and faster on my 12,6-28 Malia sup all round board, back to his house before it got pitch black. After a tough paddle back to his house with choppy waters and a strong current I finally made it, whilst I waited on the beach for some minutes for Nico and David.

We all made it safe and sound.

 

 

First week in Mauritius

-The training begins.

It was quite hard at first to be training at 100% straight away because I was not used to the humidity and the heat, still went for it anyway. Only walking to the beach with my 14ft Equinox board I was already sweating like a pig, but that didn’t stop me. 

After training hard in the early mornings. Hours later I was back on the board again. This time it was with Ryan.

It was a great to be training with him, and all the weeks he was there I kept pushing my self to at least keep up with him or be in front.

The greatest thing about this trip, I got to experience my first cyclone, that meant downwind time and we ( Steve ,Ryan and myself) did quite a lot of downwinds. While Steve took his OC1 and demonstrated how it was done, we only turned around for a couple of seconds and basically he was gone. And as well for Ryan he took the other OC1 that Steve has, and he as well was flying and catching every bump that came by.

While I took the 14ft by 24,5inch Equinox Mistral sup board. The upwind part was gruelling, biting my teeth together all the way and trying my best to keep up with them, (that didn’t happen of course), but at least I tried.

Ryan and Steve on the OC1 and James on the Sup Board  

Ryan and Steve on the OC1 and James on the Sup Board

 

It was my first time on the EQUINOX in downwind conditions and the board felt smooth and fast, I just let the board do its thing.

After some kilometres in the downwind part I couldn't keep up with Ryan and Steve of course because the 22ft OC1 has no drag at all and catches the bumps 10 times easier than the sup, but that’s not an excuse. So like I was saying about the Equinox the board just catches every bump that comes by and paddling effortless. My average speed was around 14-15 kph so around 4-5 minutes a kilometre but some parts even faster.

After having great fun on the downwind session it was time to get home and relax, because the next day was going to be another day in paradise training.

 

Mauritius

-My trip to Mauritius

After a long 12-hour flight, I finally arrived in hot, sunny Mauritius.

1 hour of driving through amazing green country sides and seeing crystal clear water’s I finally arrive to Steve and Mandy’s home.  First thing I said when I arrived was –" Im I actually here" – with my jaw wide open seeing they’re beautiful home and not to forget the walk way to the beach. I really had to pinch my self to see if this was all just a dream, but thank fully it wasn’t.

After getting everything out my suitcase it was time to go for paddle. I never thought I would be paddling in shorts in February and seeing crystal clear water. 

Photo of James Paddling in Mauritius for the first time.

Photo of James Paddling in Mauritius for the first time.

While it was hard to get out the water for me because the only thing I wanted to do was sit down on the board all day and see the sunset with an amazing jaw dropping orangey pink sky. 

After a good hour on the water, it was time to greet my teammate Ryan James and meet his fiancé Rachel Woods. Last time I saw Ryan was at one of the biggest race that I attended in 2015 and that was the SUP 11 CITY TOUR RACE  (225K long). After not seeing him over a year, I was very excited to be training with him for the weeks he was there for.