Here is the race report of the stop number 9 of the EuroTour by Belar Diaz which took place in Greece this past weekend.
Greece On Board Festival – Moraitis Beach
The 9th stop of the EuroTour presented by Starboard saw us heading to Marathon in Greece on the 2nd and 3rd July. The II Greece On Board Festival took place at Moraitis Beach on the Agean Sea. The second edition of this race saw another ﬁrst for the tour as we made our ﬁrst stop in Greece and the Southernmost venue didn’t disappoint.
The evening of arrival a crew of the Elite Europeans hot off the plane headed to the capital Athens and the historical sights of the Acropolis for a stunning sunset view across the city and ages – the perfect welcome.
The ﬁrst day of event saw a slight different format with this being the relaxation day and a chance for paddlers to get to know the venue; with clinics hosted in the tropical-esque garden by main sponsor BIC team rider Eric Terrien, and the competitors taking part in the Red Paddle XL Race For Glory. Won convincingly by the host team of Moraitis beach helped by Leo Nika (Starboard) and Leonard Toso (JP Australia).
Sunday was the business end of things with an 18km race for the Elite consisting of two 9km laps and the Amateurs completing one loop. The distance was a challenge designed to raise the bar for the local paddlers wishing to step up to a longer course as the more traditional race distances in Greece would see the top guys paddling around 10km.
The elite race
The day started hot and sticky with racers leaving the beach at 11am, rounding the ﬁrst buoy at 250m to start a slight upwind section along the length of the beachfront and ancient forest for 3km before running along the lee of the peninsular in ﬂat water to round the 3rd buoy and back along the L shaped course.
A solid pack of 10 paddlers took the lead; Paolo Marconi (RRD), Leo Nika, Eric Terrien, Davide Codotto (3BaySUP) and Davide Ionico (Fanatic) taking the front of that pack followed closely by Leonard Toso and some strong local paddlers. Part way through the upwind section the pack had split and the train of 5, now led by Nika, taking the buoy via slightly different line to the greek paddlers George Ferbus (Starboard) and Giorgis Konstantis (Fanatic) with only a couple of seconds between them. Local hero Konstantis fell on the buoy and the lead pack gained some ground with Codotto, carrying an arm injury, losing the ﬁrst pack just before the half way point of lap one.
Solid Race from Susak Molinero
Spaniard Susak Molinero (RRD) looked in form after similar conditions 2 weeks before in France and was running her own race just shy of this top 10 pack of paddlers.
With light winds for the ﬁrst half of the race the going was tough, only some tiny bumps to be found, nothing much to give the paddlers a break and the gentle breeze offering little relief. It proved too much for Davide Codotto who had to pull out just prior to completing his ﬁrst 9km.
The return leg saw Nika and Terrien open up a small gap between Marconi and Ionico that wasn’t to be closed. Heading into lap 2 was much the same conditions – planned perfectly by the race director – as most paddlers had completed the second upwind section before the wind kicked in meaning the hard work had been done with only light breezes to ﬁght.
For the ﬁnal section of the race the downwind began – a welcome break for the racers, cooling everyone down and pushing them home. While bumps were small due to the localised wind it was enough for paddlers to gain some ground. Leo Nika opened up a gap of over a minute on the Frenchman Eric Terrien with Paolo Marconi, Davide Ionico and the greek George Ferbus completing the podium.
Susak Molinero took the honours for the women with a solid performance from local girl Lliana Lakofosi (Starboard) taking second.
The amateur race
The amateur races were taken out by Kapetan Garedis for the men and Artemis Vartholomeou for the women. Both looked comfortable over the ﬁnish line – with Garedis even managing to complete some baton twirling with his paddle and a somersault across the line. It was really great to see the local crew embracing the longer distances and pushing the level of the sport in Greece. We’re looking forward to welcoming some of the local guys at the upcoming Italian events in Noli and Marotta – epitomising what the EuroTour is all about.
The afternoon featured the junior races with a young crew taking on the windy on-shore afternoon conditions that proved a true test for the competitors.
Taking full advantage of the beautiful venue at Moraitis Beach club the awards took place in the gardens after paddlers had been fed and watered thanks to the owners Dimitris, his wife and their son Alex.
More Photos and Full Results
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Huge thanks from the EuroTour to the WBSF organisers Giorgos, Natassa and Nikos for a fantastic event. It was a pleasure working with you, your media team and everyone else for stop 9 on the tour – we’re already looking forward to next year.
Full results can be found here
Stop #10 sees us heading North, way north to a land of Midnight sun for the IV Sieravuori SUP Masters.