Colwyn Bay Surfski Challenge Race

On Saturday May 30th, it all came together. Surfski paddling enthusiasm, the sun, an awesome venue and the gods contributing with wind and waves.

The inaugural Colwyn Bay Surfski Challenge took place at Colwyn Bay public beach, right next to the newly completed sports centre. This amazing location is the result of local minds ranging from local government to local residents saying “ wow we are blessed with some extraordinary natural splendour, lets share it with the world”

The result is a truly amazing piece of coastline. It is definitely a “bucket list “ location to visit. Whilst you are out having an adrenaline filled downwind paddle, the rest of the family has a huge clean, sandy beach to throw a towel on and read a book, make sand castles or go for a swim in the shoreline waters. Refreshments are all within a leisurely strolls distance.

Paddlers came from far and wide to claim the honour of setting the courses first time record. From Scotland down to Bristol.

The race also attracted it’s first international paddler, from Holland, Nico van Riemdyt.

Nico stated after the race “ thank you very much for a great race. It was well worth the trip. I will return next year with many more paddlers from Holland. We shall also try to break the course record. “

The race was also very ably supported by various surfski dealers and boat manufacturers who brought boats along for paddlers and the general public to try out and talk about.

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Nordic Kayaks, THINK kayaks, Fyne Boat Kits and Knysna Racing kayaks. All the dealers contributed very generously to the prizes on offer.

The race attracted the attention of a varied group of paddlers from enthusiasts wanting to increase their “time on the water “ to very experienced elite level paddlers.

A couple of previous world champions in various other paddling disciplines were present. Surfski paddling is growing at a rapid pace as the word spreads about how is fun and low impact it is.

Surfski paddling communities are now to be found throughout the UK. From Scotland to Colwyn Bay, through to St Ives in Cornwall.

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At 12:03 the horn sounded and the race started. 13.5 km of open water that delivered the menu of various wind and wave conditions that make surfski paddlers get out and paddle, day after day and week after week.

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The first paddler home was Nigel Jones, in a time of 1:03.56. This is the time to beat next year.

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The prize giving had an especially appreciated nice extra touch. The tireless organisers, Martin & Rik arranged a barbeque complete with a few cool drinks. It was great way for all the paddlers and guests to wind down,socialise and share a great days experiences.

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The Colwyn Bay race is a great event for all classes of paddlers. It delivers the two key elements that paddlers pray for. Waves and downwind paddling. Additionally you have a good chance to paddle with the very friendly local dolphins and seals.

Apart from the Open class, this is a great course for juniors, ladies and veterans to paddle. Fun, fast and very safe. Definitely a race to attend to get the T shirt for.

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Finally a very big thank you to the local council for supporting this event, by allowing access to the beach area and free parking to competitors and to the local water sports centre staff who provided exemplary safety cover with their boats.

Colwyn Bay surf ski paddlers look forward to hosting the race again next year, indeed for many years to come.

1     Nigel Jones            1:03:56         Stellar SES
2     James Mayer’s       1:05:02         Zedtech
3     R.Elliot/S.Derham  1:06:11         Genius double
4     Ian Tordoff             1:06:37         Zedtech
5     Chris Chorley         1:19:39         Vajda
6     James Wingfield     1:19:40        Think evo 2
7     Jeff Parker              1:22:29        Rockpool Taran
8     Rik Pethig               1:26:11        Stellar SEI
9     Nico van Riesdyk    1:26:31       Think ace
10   Glen Parry              1:27:44        Fenn XT
11   Malcolm Stubbs      1:28:06        Epic V6