Sean Rice answers YOUR questions!

Contribute to an exclusive interview with ICF Ocean Racing

World Champion Sean Rice!

Submit your question right here

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Sean seems stronger than ever and is winning everything these days in both flat and cracking conditions. And we´re in luck – Sean has enthusiastically agreed to participate in an exclusive panel interview on surfskipaddling.com. The panel is you and everybody who has a question you´d like to ask Sean. Simply send your questions for Sean in a message below this post, on the Facebook page surfskipaddlinng.com

Everybody can take part in this interview and you´re free to ask Sean any question

I´ll meet with Sean in Oslo during his September 8th & 9th clinics and post his answers on the blog http://www.surfskipaddling.com and the Facebook page surfskipaddling.com

Get free expert advice while giving this wonderful sport more publicity

 

Sean Rice training in fantastic conditions, Mauritius

 

-What is a good interval session for fitness paddlers?

-What sort of monthly mileage are you doing?

-What will let an intermediate paddler take the Think UNO max out in wild conditions

-How important are gym workouts compared to bucket time? 

-Could you swap boats with any top 10 surfskier and still win?

-What’s up with prawn?

-How would you keep fit for surfskiing through an icy winter?

-Which is the best surfski run?

-What is your season goal this year?

-What is your 1.000m flat water record?

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Sune Wendelboe

http://www.surfskipaddling.com

August 2014

Surfski Center Tarifa visiting Oslo

Boyan Zlatarev from Surfski Center Tarifa and EPIC has the coolest auto reply ever: Thanks for your message. I am currently on the road driving from Tarifa to Stockholm and back with few additional stops in between (about 8000-9000 km). I am trying to reply to most messages as quickly…

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The real purpose of this crazy ride is of course a visit to Oslo to do clinics as Oslo is currently the scene of a virtual surfski revolution with races and clinics dotting the calendar like never before and new paddlers joining the sport. Just great. September 8th & 9th it´s time for Sean Rice clinics in Oslo following the annual Oslo Surfski Race.

If you´re in the area please share this and consider joining on of the clinics as outlined below.

Original invitation in Norwegian

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Friday at Oslo Kayak Club (OKK) there will be private clinics including an option to paddle a V10 Double with Boyan. The V10 Double is a fast bout, and with Boyan in the front bucket even new paddlers will feel safe, enjoy the speed and learn a lot. Private lessons are two hours costing nkr. 1.200, 1.500,- for couples.

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Saturday there will be a group session at OKK from 10:00 to 12.30 costing nkr. 600,-

Following Oscar Chalupskys 2013 technique clinic at OKK, this clinic will begin with a few technique drills and then focus on runs and rides – downwind technique. Catching even the smallest waves of the Oslo Fiord.

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Come to our surfski clinic. You are going to learn:

Part 1 (45 min)
– How to set up correctly your surfski and paddle for maximum control and efficiency.
– Forward stroke basics and improve stability during paddling.
– 3 paddling drills that will help you change and improve your paddling technique.

Part 2 (45 min)
– Basic wave theory ( learn how to see and utilise waves).
– Basic downwind tactics and skills (the 3 principles of catching waves correctly).
– Open water safety skills (brace stroke, get to shore emergency technique, remount).

Part 3 (45 min)
– We have some fun together practicing what we learned in part 1 and 2.

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Private clinics are built around the same blocks, but you´re free to choose your special focus.

Contact:
Boyan Zlatarev: boyan.zlatarev@icloud.com
Boyan Tlf: +34 683 512 653
Sune Wendelboe Mob : 9073 1073

 

Padding your surfski

Some surfski buckets are agressive others built like a bathtub. Just like butts come in different configurations too.

I´ve had many skis but only one backside, so I started looking into the art of padding. As always new doors opened to an uknown world. Add padding technique to paddling technique.

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Work of art by Kayaker Greg

In my naive beginning I was merely looking for a sort of padding that could stick while not compromising rotation which is of course key to success.

First stop was a Norwegian home depot where foam, tape, glue scissors were bought.

After a few hours of do it yourself I had a very ill-smelling sort of sticky pad that wouldn´t hold up in the water for long. Not half a functional as my Skwoosh x-treme cushion. But just as ugly as most duct-tape pads I see in other in expensive skis.

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Skwoosh X-treme Pad

The skwoosh doesn´t stick though, and who needs more floating objects when doing remounts.

Considered EPICs seat pads:seat_pad_set_320

But they´re meant for increasing your stability and not for padding anatomy to  buckets. Smooth for sure, but alto stiff. Got a pair though and kept looking.

Went to Mocke Paddling Online Store. If you´ve ever met a Mocke you know that they only use stuff that works perfectly in even crazy conditions and over a long period of time.

Got myself 5 of those seat pads, handy if I should want to start a surfski store, but they were really cheap.

Butt-PadsButt-pad from Mocke online store

This butt-pad sticks. Forever. And it´s got cut-outs for those lucky enough to have bony butts. It´ll lift your coccyx from the bucket so steep buckets wont give you a raw bony protusion anymore. Also they will pad your backside, and can be cut to pad any other surface. They´re smooth, quite so.

But what was is the perfect customized solution?

More research brought up the name Kayaker Greg. An entire world of padding I never knew existed.

Gregs pimped out Swordfish, impressive:

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I asked Greg for a bit of advice and was allowed to share a bit from his wealth of information. And  here goes:

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Hi Sune, you need to go to a fabric shop and look for a two way stretchable fabric, much like lycra, most materials only stretch one way, ask and I’m sure they will point you in the right direction. I also run a plastic bag on my seat for a bit more slip, also different shorts work better than others, the neoprenes shorts don’t always slip so good so I wear surfer kind of beach baggies on top, you need to just sit in your ski and try different combinations of shorts.

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The foam needs to be quite firm to work. For glue I use an aerosol spray glue, its called Bostic Super Tac, you should be able to find something similar at a home and depo outlet or hardware store. This I use to fix the material to the foam.

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You can also glue the seat in with this although you might want to just tape it in to start until you are sure it is right for you, sometimes you need to play with it for awhile. I just fold the tap over down the middle and use that to hold the seat in, this works well for removal and making changes, used this for over six months without any problems and still haven’t glued my last seat I made in yet. Good luck, Greg.

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And enjoy a few other rides of Greg’s

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If this has gotten you interested I sugget you visit Kayaker Greg on Facebook

And yes, four months after all my padding research I´m still paddling padless in many different skis without many issues. But as always it´s a great inspiration stumbling across this sort of talent and commitment to perfect paddling style. Thanks Greg!

Paddling photography using an action camera

Action cameras have revolutionized how we can share our sports and passions. But lets face it, the rules of photography are no less important using action cameras. Luckily it’s surprisingly easy making your own footage work a lot better.

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Being a freelance photographer for Getty Images I´ve got a few tricks that might work for you when attaching you GoPro to your bike, kayakk, helmet etc. Here I explore a few simple challenges and solutions to achieving successful  action camera footage. To exemplify I’ll use one of my own passions – surfskipaddling – a special kind of very dynamic seakayaking. I´ve captured all the images below except from one tagged with the name of very skilled surfski photographer Lucas Tozzi.

Paddlers in Fish Hoek

Going out through the surf or down a cracking Millers Run is a feeling you just can´t explain. Who wouldn’t like to show their dear ones just how crazy the runs were.

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OK stupid example, but like me you’d probably like to show off to your friends or just capture and convey the feeling of being on the water be it serenity, speed, elegance of the boats, seeing wildlife, inclement weather  etc.

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A picture is worth a thousands words.  So how do you make sure that your footage will actually speak of motion, wind, roaring waves and drama.  You don’t want it to show a flat grey paddle and you hear yourself go “but it really was fantastic”

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Two rules of photography and three specific kayaking work-arounds

Rule 1) 

Fill the frame. You want foreground, mid-ground and background. Don´t position you GoPro with yourself in the middle of the frame but a bit to the side to allow for mid-ground to the side (waves, boats, paddlers) and background. Here’s a Himba woman I photographed recently in Namibia to exemplify this principle.

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Most fails happen when we just point the camera be it SLR or action camera to a mid-ground scene. Like the sea. This really requires an interesting mid-ground as a camera can’t scan, zoom and focus creating the interesting collage your mind remembers. Try to take a nice photo of the sea without beach or dramatic skies and you will be hard pressed.

 

Rule 2 )

Rule of thirds. Divide the image in 9 equal portions placing the main subjects in one of the crossings. Remember this when mounting your GoPro  – you should be in a crossing which will also make room in the other sweetspots of the frame for action like fellow paddlers, boats, waves, Wildlife – all adding depth, .

Chile; Province: Magellanes & Antarctica; National Park: Torres del Paine. Guanaco (Lama Guanicoe) beneath The Horns of the Paine Massif.

Chile; Province: Magellanes & Antarctica; National Park: Torres del Paine. Guanaco (Lama Guanicoe) beneath The Horns of the Paine Massif.

Why does it work. I don´t know. ABC, small medium large, RGB,  BLT, The three musketeers, Rock Paper Scissors, The Hansons – it´s all perfection in 123…

When portraying movement of a surfski or any object it´s important to leave room for the movement as the eye will track that movement and needs this space.

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 Dawid Mocke training in Fish Hoek after returning from NZ as King of the Harbour in March 2014

 

Capturing surfskis on an action camera. A tricky triple whammy

1) If you want to show how steep a mountain, road or wave is don´t shoot parallel to it or will instantly go horizontal.

2) Action cameras shoot very wide to capture all it can of your surroundings, this also prevents motion blur from speed og changes in angle. But in slow sports this can have an effect on drama and the smaller field of view at the waves in front of you.

3) Mounted on bow, stern or head. Been, there done that, ate the burger. Boring.

Luckily the solutions to all three are very simple

 

Solution 1) Get onboard cameras off board.

Sometimes placing your GoPro on a rock, on a tripod on shore or on deckwill do Wonders. You could get a friend to bring a camera to a pier or other vantage point or if you´re really lucky in an escort boat . 1) Get yourself in close to the GoPro or 2) make your friend bring a zoom to compresses depth, drama and action. 1926083_10152125509573978_1876632365_o

Lonesome wave rider on Millers Run

 

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Boyan Zlatarev in some messy Gibraltar water

By master photographer Lucas Tozzi. With permission of Lucas

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Solo paddler braving the surf in Fish Hoek

 

Solution 2) Choose the least wide setting, get in close filling the frame

Get other skiers, surfers, boats in the frame. This gives the viewers a point of reference and now their brain acknowledge just how big the conditions were.

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Taller than Nikki Mocke! Nikki paddling to the left

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1ft?

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5ft!

okk2          okk3

Flat or choppy waves?

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Speed reference

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A cheap trick to is to simulate speed by going upwind and choosing the moment when you clear the wave. By no means the most difficult part, but good action. When going downwind there’s little difference between the speed of the waves and the boat. So one downwind frame will often tell a story of static balance. To most of us that just isn´t how it felt on the wave.

 

Solution 3) Try new angles

Speed, serenity, storm, midwinter. Whatever feeling you want to convey – move the camera around and experiment. If theres a rule, break it.

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Kayalu has some seriously tall mounts. Here I mounted a camera on a 42″ SuckerPod tripod on my V10 Sport. Nice stability drill too with a heavy tripod.

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Don´t get your face too close

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Testing dry suit. Freezing Norwegian midwinter. Sea kept open by currents

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Don´t mention the s-word

 

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The boats are just elegant

The three solutions above will instantly get you fresh images of your passion. But naturally it´s just the tip of the iceberg. Editing routines such as pulling and pushing shadows, clarity, retouching and cloning can bring you a long way.

Let´s keep it simple for now and save that for a later occasion or maybe a photography blog.

 

Post and pre edits of very same frame

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Happy shooting!

My photography website is right here:

www.sunewendelboe.com

Sune Wendelboe

August 2014

Radar Reflex – expensive stickers but cheap safety

On the Oslo Fiord thousands of boats are racing all summer long. Big, fast powerboats. When it´s windy some like to play in the waves like surfskiers do. On an overcast, low contrast and windy day this gets pretty dicey. What the faster boats going too close by see or don´t see nobody knows. I always assume they´ve seen nothing and very often I´m afraid this is true.

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After a few close shaves recently I decided that chasing rogue boaters to the mooring and telling them a few things were pretty unproductive. Rather I wanted to focus on becoming more visible and paint my paddle orange. But then I stumbled upon the most expensive stickers you´ll ever see – 111 $US pr paddle. But they show. Very much so. In the waves I couldn’t tell if they´re interfering with the hydrodynamics of the paddle, but it really wasn´t my impression. On a quiet day I´ll test them against my no-sticker paddle and compare, if any change, I´ll post again.

So why are the stickers so expensive compared to other reflecting bright stickers? According to Radar Reflex the stickers enhance how visible you are on a radar especially when mounted in a correct pattern explained in the pack. If true this is really cool and would be worth paying the very high price for. So naturally I asked how this radar enhancement has been achieved or is explained but Radar Reflex tell they chose to keep this piece of information as a trade secret. Since the product is put forward as having special radar effects and carries a price tag that needs to be justified accordingly I don’t understand why Radar Reflex chooses not to explain or quantify the effect in any way. So basically you´ll have to make your own decision whether you’ll take their word for it and hand over cash that would get you many times more ordinary reflective stickers.

In conclusion all I can justify to say is that the stickers are indeed very bright and visible even in hazy overcast midday conditions. Way brighter than the yellow stickers on an Epic paddle. I saw the stickers being noticed by a few other paddlers. I do feel safer. So in general some kind of reflective stickers are a great idea when paddling.

Stickers don´t change rogue boaters, but the vast majority of boaters aren´t rogue, but just simply can´t see a white surfski against white horses when doing downwind. Now they can see me a lot better

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Check it out for yourself. www.radarreflex.com
Norwegian but self-explanatory.
“Kjøp” to buy.

Surfski Malta – a brief visit

Living in Oslo gives you many fine seasons and waters to paddle. There’s nothing  wrong with gliding between fragrant pineclad rock islands on a misty winter morning on the Oslo Fiord but recently I’ve begun discovering and visiting surfski destinations around the world.

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Paddling in Oslo goes a long way

In my time off I´ve been freelancing a bit for Getty Images as a travel photographer. Photography is a great vessel to get you going to the next country, village, valley, tribe and now I’ve begun combining it with surfski travel, which has the added benefit of letting me meet many more wonderful people.

Travel

A recent photography / surfski trip to Namibia & South Africa

I did a small piece on a surfski trip to Tarifa some time back (Surfski Center Tarifa Review), and am still trying to get my experiences in Southern Africa, particularly the Millers Run in Fish Hoek down on paper. Meanwhile a logistical blunder left me in Oslo without family or car but with my four last summer holiday-days free. So I started thinking about the surfski schools I knew of but hadn´t been to – Zolt in Hawai’i sounds great like Sydney, Kaua´i and maybe Perth do (tip me on other places please!) But four days is no fortnight so I remembered having heard about Surfski Malta, got in contact with the manager and operator Christoffer Camilleri who was quick to help me out on short notice and in the middle of the peak season.

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“So you´re going to Malta” the immigration police said, “now which country would that be located in” (sorry Malta).

Malta

Not the biggest country, but not to be overlooked

Malta is a country and a huge travel destination blending terrific weather with a really confusing history involving Roman, Arabic, German, Aragon, Spanish, French and British rule, not to forget the Knights of St. John and independency , all this has produced a unique culture, architecture, and cuisine. Interesting and unlike anything I’ve seen in Europe. But this falls outside the scope of this article and I will just suffice to recommend a closer look at Malta and its very friendly people.
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Valletta, Capital of Malta

Back to the surfski trip. It was thursday July 24th and I got around to packing while Norway had woken up to total terror alert investigating apparent threats from extremists, live broadcast of a press conference hosted by the Norwegian Police Security Service, police choppers overhead our house and armed police stationed at focal points such as the Central Station in Oslo, the intl. airport Gardermoen and the Ferry terminal to Copenhagen. Or in other words the three transportation hubs we’d use to get the family to Denmark and me to Malta. No sweat though and we were off.

Surfski Malta was opened in 2013 and is Nelo country. It´s not exactly a school as such like Tarifa or the paddling School in Fish Hoek, nor does it claim to be. Rather it´s a surf ski rental that’ll give you good advice, take care of accomodation too. But with new investments it looks like things are moving towards a more complete package for all types of surfskiers , more on this later.

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The dedicated founder of Surfski Malta Christoffer Camilleri is President of the Malta Canoe Racing Club, has repeatedly been the K1 national champion of Malta since 2004 and has been competing in World Championships and World Cups for several years with outstanding results.

Some years back a visitor from South Africa saw Chris in his K1 in Malta and having seen the sea around Malta promised to ship a surfski – the very first ski ever in Malta. This happened to be an ancient and thus tippy Epic V10 fitting Chris perfectly and now he was sold. So in 2013 Chris went ahead and got hold of a line of brand new Nelo Skis. The choice was Nelo Vintage and Ocean L/XL, fast beautifully colorful  and  sleek designs but at a price – stability.

Nelo Ocean Ski    Nelo Vintage

My blue Nelo Ocean Ski and my green Nelo Vintage

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 My black V14 

For those who haven’t owned one and coming from one that has owned and paddled all three – the Epic V14 is sort of equal to the Nelo Vintage and pretty stable compared to the Nelo Ocean Ski. They´re fast and beautiful but they´re not for everybody or even most bodies. They´re high performance skis what have very little initial stability and less secondary stability. They´re not like the outrageously unstable beautiful Nelo 560Ski though. Bear in mind though that this comes from an intermediate surfski paddler.

But the Ocean Skis at Surfski Malta are being supplemented by no less than 11 of the very stable Nelo Viper 55 Ski. I´ve had two Viper 55 Skis and they´re sort of comparable to Fenn XT and Epic V8 by a stretch. Rounder and faster than the V8 less so than XT.

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My Viper55 Ski in action in Norwegian mid winter

This will leave intermediate paddlers with a choice of upgrading to an Nelo Ocean Ski or downgrading to a Viper from the Swordfish/Evo II/V10/etc. they likely have back home as Nelo hasn´t got anything in this  segment yet. But the Viper is actually pretty fast and surfs very well with a proper surf rudder, so the choice makes good sense to further Surfski Malta as a surfski destination for both beginners and advanced paddlers. I guess that most guests at Surfski Center Tarifa paddle something faster at home than the V8 very commonly used in Tarifa, and in the same way I actually think a Viper 55 Ski will be the right choice for most recreational skiers visiting Surfski Malta, even if we might prefer something more intermediate if we were at home.

A few intermediate boats that I guess 90% of recreational surfskiers would be happy in when paddling at home in known conditions:

 

EvoII    v10

My Think EVO II & my Epic V10 

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My Fenn Swordfish and Eirik Verås Larsen coaching

Malta as a paddlers destination has a bit of the same Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality as a Viper 55 ski vs. an Ocean ski. You´ve got the huge bays an inlets of the North East. Vast crystal clear bodies of quiet water fitting an intermediate paddler in an Ocean Ski. But if you venture outside the bays you´re in the Mediterranean Proper and you will have rapidly changing conditions,  big rolling waves on quiet days and breaking downwind on others, it´ll be perfect for an intermediate paddler in a Viper 55 Ski.

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Matthew Schembri & Christoffer Camilleri on a windy day

Chris has cleverly set up two surfski Centres in Malta. One operating mainly in the winter (October to April) in western Mellieha Bay and one downtown in St. Julians at the end of the prevailing downwind in winter peak season (above).

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21km downwind route from western Mellieha Bay to St. Julians

It was summer during my visit so I stayed next door to the St. Julian base. The hotels here are fine tourism machines, but just next door you´ll find charming old fishing boat houses built by the old boat launches and now home to Christoffers St. Julian boats.

It´s a wonderful feeling strolling along the old boat launches at seven in the morning next to colorful fishing boats floating on inviting crystal clear waters.

Surfski shack MaltaSurfski Malta St. Julians

10580116_10152350408753978_8302268844176231100_n  Maltese street

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While setting up your boat at the shack you´ll no doubt meet old fisherman Xavier who is back from a long night of terribly bad fishing which he´ll be glad to elaborate on. He has been in place since 1959 and his cockney accented gloomy fishing reports are a quite cool reminder of the colourful history this country has to offer.

Paddling in MaltaMorning paddle in St. Julians

Just three steps from the boat shack is the Mediterranean and you´ll launch your ski from here. Wiggle your way between colorful wooden Maltese fishing boats and enter the bay of St. Julians. Surrounded by medieval and baroque palaces and churches plus many not so medieval chain hotels, you can stare at the blue bottom 10 meters down. The bay is in wide open connection with the ocen and thus only protected in some wind directions, which is why you might experience placid water become a rolling tub in no time. It´s a touristy place for sure, but it does have it´s own considerable charm to be paddling downtown between ancient spires and old grumpy fishermen.

stjulianSt. Julian’s 

As of now Surfski Malta is a surfski rental that can also fix your accommodation without any fuss plus offer paddling advice, but it’s not a surfski school as such. You can come to train in fine boats and good conditions, but need to know what you´re doing in a surfski as there´s no one coaching you or paddling with you. To be perfectly honest I as an intermediate paddler with only 4 years of experience had no option what so ever to venture outside the bay into the open ocean without something a bit more similar to a Swordfish/modern stable V10/EVO II and without company knowledgeable about local currents, reefs, traffic, winds and runs etc. Recently though Chris has invested in a powerfull dingy stored in St. Julian’s, showing that the business plan of Surfski Malta is evolving and that in near future guided paddle trips / runs will be a part of the product line.

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Limestone arc – the Azure Window – Gozo Island

Surfski Malta just opened up in October 2013 and has already got a decent fleet and many followers on FaceBook. They held quite a few races during that short time, and many more are planned, check out their FaceBook site for the cool race reports. I believe that Surfski Malta has a great potential for beginners/intermediate paddlers as well when they take delivery of the New Viper 55 Skis and wrap a bit of a tuition package around the really fine product they actually have – slick skis, warm water year round mixed with Maltese nature, culture and cuisine. It’s a strong start and I’d be interested in visiting again later to try the downwind from Mellieha to Valletta.

I find it very interesting that more and more surfski operators are popping up. Christoffer Camilleri is very dedicated, knowledgeable and very helpful person. I have no doubt that with time this will emerge as a leading surfski destination with it´s very own twist.

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Mellieha Bay, photo by Surfski Malta

You can read more about Christoffer in his own words here Christoffer Camilleri

And about Surfski Malta here

August 2014
Sune Wendelboe