The 9th stop of the EuroTour took place in El Port de La Selva in Catalonia from May 25-26th. The sleepy fishing village of Port de La Selva, absolutely lit on fire with the predicted Tramontana (the prevailing wind in the area) to have the best Downwind of the season so far.
In its first edition, and also the first SUP event organized by the school of A Dos Veles, the whole town came behind the organizers to welcome the nearly 100 participants who came from all corners of the world. The check in process began on Friday night with the athletes also loading the boards on the trailer for their transport to Port Bou on Saturday. The calm conditions of Friday were a contrast for Saturday’s windy ones, and the excitement was palpable in all the participants before the race meeting. In the words of our race director, Fred Bonnef:
OK, hey guys, we’re in Port de la Selva, I’m Fred Bonnef, I’m the race director for today’s race. We have, I think, a nice downwind coming in a few hours, from Portbou to Port de la Selva here, it should be really good conditions, the wind is picking up already, the riders are excited, we are excited, so I think it’s going to be a good one.
After the race briefing in the town hall, competitors were transported to the start of the race by two buses, while all the equipment was simultaneously transported by the EuroTour logistic team.
Port Bou made an idyllic start line, as the town sits protected to the wind, in a beautiful cove, where participants lined up 100m before the wind came in full force bearing a striking resemblance with Hawaii’s Maliko run.
For the third and final event of the EuroTour Downwind Foil championships we had an epic final with the biggest turnout of athletes all season making for a great show. Again it was a fierce battle all the way by New Caledonian Kite foil racer Titouan Galea who edged out Frenchman Eric Terrien (BIC). With Frenchman Matthieu Argentin coming in 3rd place. Eric however won the overall championships after being consistent throughout the season’s 3 events.
For the woman’s race Downwind Queen Amandine Chazot (Sunova/QB) dominated the entire way, and showed why she’s regarded as Europe’s best ocean paddler. Summing the race in her own words:
At the beginning, it was not windy at this moment but we just have maybe 50 metres or something and after we began to have bumps and everything, it was pretty cool.
I had a good start, and just after once we began to have bumps I was first and I was feeling very good all the race long, but each time I look back I had Olivia who was just a few metres far from me so I knew that I have to paddle strong and until the end she was really not far from me so it was a good battle between the two of us so it was very fun!
The end was also very cool, we had bumps until the end, there was really no time for flat water. We arrived to the beautiful place of el Puerto de la Selva.
The only other woman to challenge Amandine was EuroTour champion Olivia Piana, who kept a close pace the entire way coming in clear 2nd. After a tough finish last week in Santa Pola, Spain’s Laura Quetglas (Starboard/QB) came in 3rd place clear of the youngster Melanie Lafenetre from the south of France in 4th place.
The ever consistent Susak Molinero came in 5th with Germany’s Noelani Sach (NSP)following in 6th. The Junior squad showed why the future of the sport in Spain is secure with the last 4 spots of the Top10 being taken by them. Mallorcan Duna Gordillo (F-One), Sheila Sirvent (Starboard), Sonia Caimari and Sonia Hurtado were 7th through 10th place respectively.
The Men’s race was hotly contested, with most of the downwind specialists present, Frenchman star Tom Auber (Fanatic) had his sights set high and came victorious through a fierce battle with his compatriot Martin Vitry (SIC). In his own words:
We came by bus to the start line so that was really nice and really easy for us. It’s always really nice to have an event like this where we just have to use our brain to focus on the race and not on the organization.
With strong wind, nice bumps. It was a really good fight all the way with Martin. We were like really close together all the way, so it was really tight and really stressful as well because I knew he could catch me all the way and I think he knew the same thing. So that was a nice race and everyone was really strong too like Vinni, Ty, Martin Letourneur also were really close too, so I’m really happy to come first today in such a beautiful place like this.
Martin Vitry (SIC) came so close to his first EuroTour victory in a sprint to the line, finally settling for a remarkable 2nd place. Vinnicius Martins came shortly after in a very solid 3rd place repeating the result from last weekend. Showing his downwind talent Martin Letourneur from France came an impressive 4th beating, in a very close sprint to the line, the in-form Australian Ty Judson (NSP). Ludovic Teulade and Tahitian Enzo Bennett (425PRO) followed closely in 6th & 7th with Hungarian Bruno Hasulyo (Lightcorp) a minute adrift. The Sunova duo of Frenchman Boris Jinvresse and Australian Kelly Margets closed the last two spots of the Top10, with Kelly once again claiming the contested Master Elite category.
The award ceremony followed in the evening right in the middle of town, with the Major of Port de La Selva confessing that while he didn’t know much of the sport before; he was pleasantly surprised with all the International competiors arriving for the occasion.
A very delicious traditional “Fideua” dish was prepared by the Cofradia de Pescadors with the very lively performance from the band “Fantac tels”. A huge thanks to the entire town of Port de la Selva for all the help to the international community over the weekend, spearheaded of course by the A Dos Veles club. Heleen and Albert are now a part of the EuroTour family and a new Downwind Mecca is on the map.
Stay tuned as The EuroTour goes to San Sebastian, Euskadi for one the most beloved Grand Slam of the year: San Sebastian Paddle Tour stop#10 on the 1-2nd of June.