Eric Terrien, one of the living legends of the SUP World and a BIC Sport ambassador is set to tackle the Molokai 2 Oahu (M2O), an event which is considered “one of the worlds most challenging races” and is synonymous with the Hawaiian Islands. Frenchman Eric knows the event well having paddled the 52 km “channel of bones” on a SUP board. But this time Eric will compete in the M2O is on a foil and with a select handful of riders (including Kai Lenny). Foiling has experienced a boom recently, emerging from SUP in the last few years, and has really announced its arrival by being included in many races. The former race champion Eric talks about his passion for the foil and his journey that has took him to the M2O.
Hello Eric, competing in the M2O is an exciting challenge for you, can you introduce the readers to the M2O race?
The M2O is a long distance ocean SUP and proneboard world championship. It is an open water 52 km race between the island of Molokai and Oahu Island, in open water. The currents and swell found between these two islands are powerful and unpredictable. The Hawaiians call this area the “Ka’iwi Channel”, or the “channel of bones”. Regardless of the competition, this crossing can be a real challenge to those who venture there.
When did you begin your foil race career?
I started SUP foiling in 2016, I began by foiling in waves and then quickly I moved to foiling downwind. My first attempts at foiling were frustrating, as at the time the foiling technology wasn’t really made places less windy than Hawaii. But I stubbornly persisted and at the same time the foiling material really evolved and improved. I competed in my 1st SUP Foil race in early 2017 as part of the “Paddle Storm Master” in Brittany. Then I participated in the 2017 French Championships as they included a foil category to the event, and this year I competed in the Oxbow Kelt Ocean Race.
You have already participated in the M2O? So what is your link with Hawaii?
I first went to Hawaii was in 2007, I went to Maui for windsurfing in the famous Hookipa spot. I then returned in 2011 for the Battle of Paddle Hawaii, it was also that year that I participated in the M2O for the first time. In all, I participated in the M2O race for 3 consecutive years with my best time in 2012 being 4h 35min. I felt that this was one of the best times that a European achieved in the M2O until 2017 when Titouan Puyo burst onto the scene and crossed the channel in 4h 14 min.
Can you describe the material you intend to use for M2O 2018?
I will use a prototype of 6’6″ x22″x 85L with SIC Maui branding (a part of BIC Group) I have designed this prototype specifically for SUP foil downwind. I have worked a lot on the hull to keep the speed and control even when the board comes into contact with the water. The deck and volume distribution has been designed for a quick take off and give maximum control in the air. I m really pleased with this design
For the foil I will use the Gofoil Maliko 200. If the weather conditions are exceptional I will mount it with a small rear wing, the Gofoil Kai. This is a small rear wing which will give me more control, more speed, and at the same time I will be comfortable when pumping. On the other hand it can really work the back leg if the conditions are not there. A larger rear wing will allow me to be more comfortable for paddle as it will be more comfortable on the front leg. If the conditions are poor, I will use the Maliko 280.
For my paddle I will use the Select Fusion Pro cut to 198cm and with a small blade. The paddle is lightweight and super strong, which is important when you accidentally fall into the foil. The paddle is a little longer than I would used for a conventional SUP board, as I need the length to help me take off and raise.
Since you retired from the SUP racing, you have got really into SUP foil, can you explain your passion for foiling?
I have always been into water sports, so it was natural for me to try foiling when it emerged. The advantage of SUP foil is to being able to exploit bad wave conditions, you can really have fun in 30 cm of swell. In downwind foiling it really opens up new dimension, when conditions are good, there is no need to worry about propulsion, the foil glides by itself leaving me to focus on navigating between the bumps.
You have been in patnership with BIC sport for a few years, how has the brand supported you in your career?
BIC Sport is a partner who has supported me throughout my career, not only with the best equipment, but also fantastic moral support on my various projects. Particuluarly when I went back to university to retrain, I want to take the opportunity here to thank them. Since I started in my thesis, I have not been able to dedicate as much time as I would like to represent my sponsors, but BIC Sport continues to support me, especially for my race on the M2O.