Michele Eray - Peninsular Marathon

Monday, 29-Nov-10 10:51:24 UTC


This past weekend was the Peninsular Marathon in Cape Town. It was made up of 2 of the Discovery Series races, namely, the Daniel Conradie Memorial at Strand and then the Milnerton to Melkbos Downwind.

The Dan Conradie is special to me as Daniel was the guy who coached me when I was a junior, and helped me become the paddler I am today, He had an incredible work ethic, and was an incredible paddler and person. I miss him still.

The race went very well. Even though it was pretty flat, I made the most of the double ski’s that were allowed to race with us, and hooked some great wash riding. I managed to finish in 96.5% of the winning man’s time. This is the first time a woman has achieved Elite Grade status in the history of the Series. (Elite is 95% or up, A Grade is 90% or up, B Grade 80% or up, etc. )the grading idea is great because then everyone gets to be competitive in their own grade, and not just have to race the Top guys.

The second day was a lot more fun, as there was a lot of wind. I had a total ball, and managed to put my paddles down a lot and surf the runs. I finished the Peninsular Marathon in 1st place and 4th Overall in the men’s event. All in all a great weekend. Well done to Richard Kohler and his team for organising, and congrats on his and Judy’s engagement!

I am now about to hop on a plane to Dubai, to try and defend my title there. Wind predictions are looking small, but let’s wait and see…

I got a fantastic surprise this morning when Janine Baxter from Thule sent me one of their new travel bags.

It is awesome, and so much thought has gone into this bag. There are compartments for everything, even a protective case part for sunglasses and Ipods. There is a zip-off Day pack too, as well as some pretty funky and indestructible looking wheels. thanks Thule, its packed and ready for Dubai!

I have been staying at Graeme Soloman’s place on the water here in Cape Town. It’s been so awesome to be able to just hop straight in my K1 and train, right from the front lawn! Thanks for having me Solly! I am glad to be one of the many “champions” who have stayed and trained from his base smile  Hanging with Megs and him and has been so awesome, and it has been such a help. Megan has a very interesting vet practice, called Holistic Vet, where she specialises in animal reahabilitation.

OK, I better get cracking and head to CT INternational, don’t want to miss my flight!

Oh yes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mom today! Mom: you are an inspiration to me, and I love you so much!

http://micheray.wordpress.com/

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Tim Jacobs unleashes secret weapon and wins again!

Sunday, 28-Nov-10 19:52:36 UTC


One week out from the the Dubai Shamaal we have had our last hit out in the Manly Wine Bar ‘King of the Harbour”. A 15km down wind race from Fishermans Beach to Manly Cove.
The pressure was on with everyone going to Dubai trying to get the last confidence boost before we jet off.
Favorites were Murray Stewart, Dave Smith and myself.
All week the conditions were looking fantastic with a 20knot North Easter predicted to blow all week and on race day, and it did not disappoint.

The wind was up pushing steep nor east runs all the way down the coast to the entrance of the Harbour.

The pace was set early by Murray Stewart taking off like a rocket and managing to drop all in his wake after the first bouy turn 2km into the wind.
With my usual slow start I found myself paddling around the front pack latching onto Dave Smith after the bouy and trading runs while Murray pulled out to 50m on some screamers.
The course was fantastic, with nothing in between us and North Head it was a matter of pick your own course and go for it.
Murray looked strong out in front and I let him set the pace, staying a run behind him for the first half of the race.
It was now a two horse race with Muz and myself out in front trading run for run, both knowing the mind games that would be playing on each other if either won leading into the Shamaal.
As we neared Bluefish Point the course got more technical with the runs holding up and peaking due to the backwash coming off the rocks.
Last night I put a new secret weapon on my ski and it did not disappoint….a longer rudder.
The croc surfed the runs without missing a beat, as good as the croc already is the new dynamic of the longer rudder pushed it over the edge and it didn’t miss a run.
I got a sniff of the lead at Bluefish and didn’t look back knowing that the last 3-4km were going to be a grind into the Harbour in the flat.
Knowing that Muz can paddle a 3.30min 1000m, I didn’t want to leave it to a sprint finish.
Around the back of North Head I pushed on every run and backwash available and chased them all down, pushing through the backs of them and getting spat out the front down the face of the one infront.
Coming into the Harbour I had a 200m lead on Muz and didn’t waste a stroke knowing how strong he is, also with Dave Smith in 3rd a 1000m A final kayaker in his own right.
The placings stayed like that all the way to the finish, with me remaining undefeated in the series and gaining a solid confidence boost leading into Dubai in 6 days time.

The course was fantastic and could very easily be turned into a World Championship course, supporting all conditions with a long downwind for the majority of the race.

Look out Dubai because here come the Aussies!

Tim Jacobs

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International Breizh Ocean Racing Full Report

Thursday, 25-Nov-10 11:52:53 UTC
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Michele Eray wins Kia SA Surf Ski Champs

Tuesday, 16-Nov-10 22:48:41 UTC


Michele Eray’s recount:

I braved the gale-force wind to drive to East London on Friday to take part in the Kia South African Surf Ski Champs.

My Thule racks held up well, and my Neloski and I made it there in one piece! The wind on the drive was phenomenal! haven’t felt anything like it for a while!

It was so great to have a Surf Ski Champs back in the Oos Kaap! Charl and his crew at Border Canoe Club put on an unbelievable show. Well organised, great prizes, fantastic food after each day, and an AWESOME race course.

The race was epic! Great downwind conditions, with a following swell made the 22km course feel pretty quick. It was very quick in fact, as I finished in 1h16 (which is a 3:27min/km average pace or 17.3km/hr average speed!)

I actually had so much fun I never really felt like I was racing! (Until the endsprint that is!)

Nikki and I kept exchanging the lead, until just before the very end. I managed to leave my GPS at the house, and so had to guess where the finish was. A moment of not concentrating left me wondering why she ducked around this point, until I realised that it was the finish. She managed to catch a small wave, and then the Bay went flat! I paddled as hard as I could and managed to close the 50m gap to 20m. I had also checked out the finish a few hours before the start, with Beth Burton, my host and local legend! Her brother Dave also gave me some tips about the finish, and he mentioned that that the river mouth would be flowing out to sea.

Nikki paddled into the current while I went a bit right and managed to move a bit quicker than her. She also then made a massive error by hopping out of her ski while I paddled all the way to the beach, even if it was only 20-30cm deep and then only had to run about 2m up the sand to the finish line. I won by half a metre! Very exciting finish and a really great race!

I am now 3x in a row SA Single Ski Champion!

On the Sunday Nikki and I hopped into a double and raced the same course, but without that great wind of the day before it turned into a bit of a slog! Got to see 3 whales though!

Next up I am off to CT for some Sunday series races as final prep before I fly to Dubai for the Shamaal on 3rd December.

(Thanks Albert for that handle! It made all the difference when I had to run up the beach to the finish!!)

From: http://micheray.wordpress.com/

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TJ did it again!

Tuesday, 16-Nov-10 08:45:54 UTC
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Tim Jacobs cemented his position as the leader of the Ocean Series with his fourth straight win this weekend in the Bing Lee LG Epic Kayaks Ocean Series Race 4 Narrabeen Downwind Challenge.  A clear victory against a tough field sets Tim up perfectly for his campaign to win an unprecedented third Dubai Shamaal in a row. The question now is, at the pointy end of the season, can Tim keep up his form, and can anyone beat the crocodile-riding champion?

Once again, the first half of the race turned into a struggle between TJ and Murray Stewart. Nathan Smith was unable to race so that left a hole in the potential podium places. Murray lead until Newport Reef: “I saw Tim on the inside – I thought he was too narrow, but as I got around the reef he was 200m ahead!”. After that, no-one came close to touching Tim until he crossed the finish line. Murray, underestimating the distance, felt the grand piano drop at 15km and fell out of contention to 4th place. David Smith, the stroke of Australia’s 1000m K4 in Beijing, took the opportunity and came screaming home in second place. In third was Corey Hill, “fresh” from a second place in the Coolangatta Gold last week (to Caine Eckstein). Corey is a rising star in Ocean racing so watch out for him over the next few years.

It turned out to be a good day for the Smith family: as well as Dave’s second place, younger sister Lauren won the women’s race over Kelly Jury, who dominated last year’s series. Lauren has won three races in this year’s series, but it’s the first time she has beaten Kelly. Both Dave and Lauren are elite kayak paddlers, but both have turned to ocean racing in the off-season. Dave will be heading to Dubai in a few weeks’ time and will be one of the many trying to de-throne TJ. Lauren won’t be making the trip this year, but hopes to get across in the future. Instead, she’ll stay at home and focus on winning the 20 Beaches, hoping to take out the series win and the trip to Molokai 2011.

We are happy to have such a talented group of paddlers in the Nelo Team, well done TJ, Smithy and Lauren!

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