Internationals fly into Durban for World Cup ** Video **

Friday, 24 June 2011 06:27 | Written by  Gameplan Media
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"I have won the bulk of the races back at home and Stephane Roudat and David Slachta have regularly finished on the podium," says top French surfski racer Yannick Laousse (right), seen here preparing for a training paddle with countrymen (from left) Stephane Roudaut, David Slachta and Angie Mouden. "I have won the bulk of the races back at home and Stephane Roudat and David Slachta have regularly finished on the podium," says top French surfski racer Yannick Laousse (right), seen here preparing for a training paddle with countrymen (from left) Stephane Roudaut, David Slachta and Angie Mouden. Credits: Gameplan Media

Durban – Australian surfski legend Dean Gardiner and a team of top French surfski paddlers head up the international field for Sunday's Dunlop Surfski World Cup.

Gardiner and fellow Australians Brandon Rice, Bruce Taylor and Mark Anderson will be joined on the record entry on the startline by racers from New Zealand, Brazil and Hong Kong, ready to pit themselves against the very powerful local elite field of surfski stars from around the country.

French Team

The French team is led by experienced Yannick Laousse from Brittany, keen to build on the experience from racing in this event a few years ago. "I was last here in 2009 where I finished 14th so I would love to finish in the top ten this time," said the likeable Frenchman.

The four Brittany team mates however had a frustrating and at times traumatic trip to Durban for the big race.

"We missed our connecting flight from London to Johannesburg, our luggage was lost at Johannesburg airport, someone reversed into our rental car here in Durban and one of our team was stung by a jellyfish when we went for our first paddle but it is okay because we are here and very excited for the race on Sunday!" said Laousse.

"I have won the bulk of the races back at home and Stephane Roudat and David Slachta have regularly finished on the podium," said Laousse. "Unfortunately one of the other very strong French paddlers couldn’t be here this time but the guys who are here are definitely the top paddlers from home."

"We’ve just finished our season back at home so we’re all coming here very well prepared and I’m very happy with my form at the moment. I would definitely say that I’m ready for Sunday’s race," he added.

Unlike many other European surfski paddlers, the Brittany quartet is used to paddling in very rough and windy conditions and will be ready for whatever weather is thrown at them on Sunday.

In 2009 a contingent of young French girls were caught out by the heavy winds and offshore conditions during the race from Winklespruit to Durban, and they all had to be rescued, several of them by helicopter.

Record Turn Out

Entries closed last week on a record 352 paddlers, comprising 189 single skis and 81 doubles.  On race day the massive field will set off in six batches with the doubles separated from the singles and the less experienced paddlers heading out first.

Gardiner v Chalupsky

Gardiner is an iconic figure in the sport, and will be relishing the opportunity to lock antlers with his old adversary Oscar Chalupsky, both of them racing in Veterans classes now.

Mark Anderson got to grips with the typical KZN conditions last year, while Bruce Taylor is making his debut at the Dunlop Surfski World Cup, he is one of the pacesetters and regular winners in the Australian domestic surfski series.

Perth racer Ruth Highman will bring real needle to the women's race, where she will go toe-to-toe with the classy locals Nikki Mocké and Michéle Eray.

Weather – what IS the weatherman smoking?

The forecast has been flip-flopping on a daily basis since Monday, when paddlers’ attention was grabbed by the 30-44kt wind and 4m swells that were predicted.

On Tuesday, most sites said no wind, but big swell.

By Wednesday the gale was back again, and yesterday most sites said there would be strong winds and moderate swell.

Today?  Windguru's forecast says we’re going to get almost no wind at all, and a 3m SW swell that would provide some high jinks at the finish – but leave the surf much smaller and easier to negotiate than if it was running from the SE.  Magic Seaweed says we WILL get some wind and the surf will be small...

So it’s still anyone’s guess what the conditions will be on Sunday.

Here are some forecast sites:

http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=208308 - I don’t like this one!

http://magicseaweed.com/Durban-Surf-Report/87/ - I like this one; it (currently) says that we will have some wind!


Dunlop Surfski World Cup 2011 - Video

Here's the show of last year's race, courtesy of D4 Productions

The Dunlop Surfski World Cup takes place on Sunday 26 June from Marine SLC at Addington beach.

More info can be found at www.surfski.co.za

Dunlop Surfski World Cup


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