Ze Caribbean Race - Oscar Chalupsky Interview

Saturday, 10 February 2018 09:33 | Written by 
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Exhausted after the race - Oscar Chalupsky Exhausted after the race - Oscar Chalupsky

"Fortunately the camera died for the last 5km, because I was cursing..." said Oscar Chalupsky. "It was flat, hot, headwind… and I was blown!"

The Big O was competing in a 48km race from Petite Terre to Gosier, Guadeloupe; he ended up winning the race, beating defending champion Nicolas Lambert (France) by just over two minutes in a time of 2:55:36.


Oscar filmed his race with a Garmin VIRB and made a 30min video, complete with commentary. It's fascinating to watch, and I called him to find out a little more about his race.

The Video

The Interview

Give us your impressions of the event

It's fantastic: warm water, the wind seems to blow every day at this time of year and you can do various island crossings, not just the one we did for the race. Ferries go to the islands daily.

I'm going to run a week's clinic here next year, culminating in the race at the end.

Inexpensive too: there were guys renting B&Bs right on the beach that could sleep 8 people for Euro 130 per night.

Compare the conditions to Molokai

I'd say it's an easier paddle than Molokai, but hotter!

The wind for this race was about 21kt, but gusting. There were rain squalls when the wind died to nothing. Sometimes at the end it was a headwind.

It was faster at the beginning, but the NE wind is blocked by the island of Guadaloupe. But it blows all the time, so there's always movement in the water. The weed was painful!

In the video you can see a lot of weed in the water; was that a problem?

Yes! I usually use a DK rudder, but didn't have one for the race. I used a weed deflector, but at times there was weed caught between the deflector and the rudder, which affected the steering. I just pulled through it, at speed the weed comes off.


The big O crosses the finish line

What about nutrition?

In the morning I had my usual breakfast of a Bullet-proof coffee and a small yoghurt. I drank 300ml of water and had 200ml of fizzy water during the race.

What's your recipe for the Bullet-proof coffee?

  • Coffee
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter
  • Double thick cream if I can get it.

No sugar; sugar's evil!

And the race itself?

I lost contact with the others just after the start; they went further to the right and I never saw them again.

I prefer to see other people, because I can then judge my progress. There were escort boats, but I couldn't ask them where the others were because they only spoke French!

For most of the race, there were nice runs, as you can see in the video. The last 5-10km got flatter and hotter, and by the end I was really taking strain, cursing! Just as well the camera was off!

You often talk about changing the length of your paddle?

About 20min into the race, I realised my paddle was too long and went from 2.17 down to 2.15. As I got tired I changed it another two times, down to 2.13 and finally to 2.11.

You need to think of your paddle length like gears on a bike. As you get tired, you "change down".

I practise changing paddle length every day.

You can hear a voice in the background on the video?

Yes, I use Endomondo on my iPhone: it talks to me and it's great to get the splits after every kilometre so that I can judge how I'm doing.

I also use two Garmins:

  • Garmin Fenix 3: I have speed, distance, time and HR displayed.
  • Garmin Forerunner 920XT: Shows direction and distance to the finish.


Bucket List

Oscar was full of praise for the race organisation and the venue - it's relatively inexpensive to get there and to stay there, while the paddling conditions sound sublime.

Yet another race to add to the bucket list!

Click here for the event website
Click here for the event's Facebook page

Click here for Oscar's Garmin track.



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