EUROTOUR Press Release: Agios Nikolaos On SUP 2017 – Stop #1
Stop #1 of EuroTour 2017
The 1st stop of the EuroTour took place in Crete, Greece from April 28th and April 29th. The Agios Nikolaos On SUP 2017. As always Greece didn’t disappoint with beautiful sights and great weather to open the EuroTour 2017 in style.
The competition started on Saturday morning with the amateur events and Junior races that saw many stoked Greek paddlers enjoyed Elonda Beach, part of the Agios Nikolaos area.
In the afternoon the Red Paddle Co. Dragon race took place for the delight of Amateur and Elite competitors alike. The new boards 22’ long fit 4 riders at a time and follow an exclusive sprint format that saw competitors blitz through the tight course. At the end of the day the local Greek team Chania Surf Club defeated the International teams bringing home the gold in a very entertaining afternoon for everyone.
The headline event, the Elite 15km long distance race from Agios Panteleimonas Beach saw flawless downwind conditions for the first 10km where 20-25knts straight South wind conditions had competitors fly through the course until they reached the Island of Agioi Pantes where things changed into a severe sidewind for a challenging kilometre until the competitors hugged the Crete shore for the remaining 5km. Things however had a dramatic turn when the same beautiful south wind now turned to create a straight 25knots headwind all the way to the finish line.
On the women’s race it was New Zealand Penelope Strickland (Starboard) all the way, as she dropped her competition on the downwind only to strengthen her lead as conditions worsened and beat many of the men in the process to finish 14th overall and winning the women’s competition. The Kiwi relish the conditions and told us, how much this type of paddling reminded her of back home. In second place the Spaniard turned Italian resident Susak Molinero (QB) had a very impressive show keeping in line Germany’s turned Canary Island resident Susanne Lier (QB) in a solid performance that earned the last place for the money. Closing out the podium was Italian windsurfer Caterina Stenta; showing some good form and versatility crossing over to SUP in 4th and Local Greek talent Iliana Lakafosi (Starboard) in 5th.
The mens race was dominated by Leo Nika (Starboard) that led from beginning to end, showing no signs of slowing down as the winningest athlete on last year’s EuroTour with five victories. In a similar fashion to his teammate Penelope Strickland, the Italian controlled the downwind section and led the grueling upwind to win comfortably over an in form Paolo Marconi (QB) that had a solid performance to come in second place overall.
Special mention goes to Frenchman Ludovic Teulade that was sitting in second place in the final stages on the upwind when his paddle suddenly broke ending up his chances of finishing the race; we will surely see him back with a vengeance in Belgium for stop #2.
Coming into a solid third place was Italian newcomer Federico Esposito showing some great signs of form; we should be seeing him at a few podiums this summer. But the dark horse story belongs to Greek hero Frangos Giorgios that surprised many with s solid downwind performance and stayed with the front pack during the upwind section to finish in a very respectable 4th place.
Rounding up the top 5 was perennial contender Giordano Capparella from Italy with another solid showing. Last weekend’s Carolina Cup top ranked Italian and one of the top ranked Europeans Martino Rogai had a very strong comeback on the upwind section to finish in 6th place. Ludovic’s older brother Jeremy Teulade followed in a respectable 7th place. Claudio Nika (Starboard) another brother, in this case Leo’s followed in 8th place. The minor placings of the podium were filled by Greece’s Prapas Alexandros in 9th place and a renewed Paul Lenient from Tahiti that seems to had a good pre-season with another good come back in the upwind.
The closing ceremony was next with the podiums and awards being handed in the beautiful Agios Nikolaos lagoon in the middle of town were the lively public welcomed the competitors with enthusiasm.
Truly an amazing event, we really want to thank all the sponsors for making it possible and all the volunteers and staff for devoting countless hours for the event. Special mention to Mikhalis Farsaris and his entire team for all the dedication.
The EuroTour goes to Namur, Belgium for stop#2 Namur SUP Race, so get ready for another weekend of action on the 13th & 14th of May.