Dragon Run – 24 Nov 2007

Monday, 19 November 2007 03:20 | Written by 
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With the inaugural Dragon Run taking place in just over a week's time, all eyes in the surf ski world are turning to Hong Kong.

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Oscar Chalupsky

Oscar is famous for his shrewd pre-race preparation - including getting out onto the course to map out the best lines and tactics.  This paid huge dividends in Durban in July this year for example, when he out-smarted Hank McGregor in the last km of the ARB Surf Ski World Cup by taking an indirect route along the harbour wall to the finish.  The shelter from the wind offered by the wall proved decisive, and Oscar won by nearly a minute.

On his way to Epic's factory in China a week ago, Oscar stopped off in Hong Kong and paddled the race course.  Here's what he had to say.

"I just did part of the Dragon Run course during my layover in Hong Kong.  It is a spectacular course in many ways. The scenery is beautiful; there are lots of islands with steep cliffs and crashing waves. The runs are everywhere, even when you are paddling against the wind (which isn't hard as you are sheltered behind many islands.)  Paddling through the island maze is going to make the Dragon Run one of the most technical races on the circuit.  The course rates up there with the Durban World Cup and Molokai in my opinion. I would say it would be the same size as last year's Perth World cup race from Rottness to Hillary Harbour. The direct downwind leg had about 5 to 6 foot swell that you could get up to 28km per hour on."

Race Logistics

The logistical planning has proved challenging for the race organizers - as no truck trailers are allowed on Hong Kong island and flat-bed trucks have to be used to transport the skis to the start at Clear Water Bay.

Dragon Run course
Dragon Run course map

(Photos below courtesy of Oscar Chalupsky) 

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International Paddlers

Joining Oscar from South Africa will be Dawid Mocke (#2 in the World Rankings last year behind Oscar) and the up-and-coming Bevan Manson, who is coached by Oscar.

From Australia, the ever-green Dean Gardiner will revel in the downwind conditions, as will Ken Wallace.  Nathan Baggaley will be in action too for the first time after completing a two-year drug ban.

As for Oscar's chances?

"Lately I have been training very hard in Durban," he said, "enjoying the magnificent downwind conditions the area offers. I have been doing mainly 24km paddles from Durban to Umhloti, or vice versa, depending on the wind direction. I paddled with my son Luke, who is 16, and my understudy Bevan Manson. Luke did one of the downwind days in 1 hour 35 minutes for the 24km run, which isn't bad for his third downwind ever. Bevan is improving all the time and his best run was done at a pace of 16.7 km/h."

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Live Coverage

We'll be doing live coverage right here on www.surfski.info - starting at about 4am South African time on Saturday 24th November!  Don't miss it!

For more information on the race, see: http://www.thedragonrun.com.hk/


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