Athletes Ready for NELO Summer Challenge

Friday, 08 July 2016 17:01 | Written by 
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NELO Summer Challenge HQ at Ofir NELO Summer Challenge HQ at Ofir

There are at least ten paddlers who could podium tomorrow at the 8th NELO Summer Challenge, which starts at 4pm in Porto, Portugal.

Paddlers, Forecast

131 men and 12 women are entered (Click here for the full entry list).  Among the men:

  • Cory Hill (Aus): 2015 ICF World Ocean Racing Champion and World Series Title Holder
  • Sean Rice (RSA): 2013 ICF World Ocean Racing Champion, NSC Champ 2013, 2015
  • Sam Norton (Aus)
  • Jasper Mocke (RSA): NSC Champ 2012
  • Dawid Mocke (RSA)
  • Benoit Leroux (FR)
  • Kenny Rice (RSA)
  • Mark Anderson (Aus)
  • Yannick Laousse (FR): NSC Champ (and European champ) 2014
  • Joep van Bakel (NED)
  • Walter Bouzan (ESP)


Cory Hill came second last weekend in Mauritius behind a rampant Hank McGregor... but McGregor is not in Portugal for tomorrow’s race.  Sean Rice has won this event twice and would love to take it a third time.  The French paddlers Yannick Laousse and Benoit Leroux are the most likely contenders to present the Australians and South Africans a challenge.

Sam Norton and Dawid Mocke have also featured on the podium in this event in previous years.

My call?  Cory Hill, Sean Rice, Jasper Mocke!

Women’s Race

The field in the women’s race is quite small, and assuming she’s spent any time in her boat, I’m calling Michele Eray (USA) to win this race.   Michele practically owns the event, having won four times in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

The other women in contention (IMO) will be:

  • Angie Mouden (FR)
  • Chloë Bunnett (ESP)
  • Sara Rafael (POR)

Stronger on flat water is Amaia Olaberri (ESP) who will feature strongly if the wind doesn't blow.


The course is a 19km downwind route from Viana do Castelo to Ofir on the open Atlantic Ocean…

NSC Course

The weather forecast predicts a WNW breeze of 10kph at 11am strengthening to around 16kph by 4pm when the race is due to start.

According to NELO Surfski CEO Oscar Chalupsky, that’s more than enough wind to kick up rideable waves, but not enough to raise safety concerns even for the less experienced paddlers.  Race director’s perfection, in other words.

Race Tracking

To follow the race, click here:

Previous winners

(The inaugural event in 2009 had no long distance course, but comprised a surf lifesaving style knockout event.)

2010 Tim Jacobs (Aus) Michele Eray (RSA)  
2011 Kenny Wallace (Aus) Naomi Flood (Aus)  
2012 Jasper Mocke (RSA) Michele Eray (RSA)  
2013 Sean Rice (RSA) Michele Eray (RSA)  
2014 Yannick Laousse (FR) Sara Rafael (POR) (European Championships)
2015 Sean Rice (RSA) Michele Eray (USA)  

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