The Gran Canaria PRO (GCPRO) returns to Maspalomas, Spain with a Beach Race format for the 2023. Part of the EuroTour, this exciting event is held on the 3-4 June at Playa del Inglés, welcoming some of the best athletes from around the world.
TotalSUP caught up with the GCPRO Founder and CEO, all-round waterman and Coach, Eduardo Diaz, to chat about the upcoming event and driving his local SUP and surf scene through his brand SecondReef and watersport activities.
Hi Edu, welcome to TotalSUP! Could you tell us more about your watersport background? You’re a Founder and Coach at SecondReef and the CEO of the GCPRO event…
Well first of all thank you for your support of the GCPRO event and your interest in SecondReef as organizers. It is true that from a very young age I have always been very involved with watersports, especially surfing, windsurfing, paddlesurfing, SUP racing and more.
The sport of stand-up paddleboarding has opened many doors for me since I started practicing it in 2008. From the beginning, I travelled a lot for SUP Surf World Cups in France and other countries and I have learned a lot about this sport since its inception. I was so hooked that once I tried the SUP racing, I resumed competing, travelling and forming my own team here in Gran Canaria.
Since 2015 I have been training my team, SecondReef, where you can find athletes from 6 to 53 years old, including my 10 year old son Noah, who has already done several EuroTour events and National Championships with very good results. Whether you like it or not, having your child on your own team makes you more active and motivated to continue with this sport.
I hope to be able to continue training the great team that I have for many more years and to be able to share everything I know about the sport with them. We have a very good youth team on the Islands and it would be a shame not to be able to keep training them and motivate to compete in future races.
The Gran Canaria PRO concept stems this wish of seeing the best in the world on my own island. Since 2003, when I organized my first windsurfing event here in Gran Canaria, I specialize in organizing sport events in our sector and I have delivered more than 20 windsurfing events and 8 SUP races to date. At first we opted for local SUP events, but seeing the potential we have on the Islands and especially in the South of Gran Canaria, I did not hesitate to contact the EuroTour manager to carry out a Beach Race trial in Maspalomas.
You’re heavily involved in growing the local SUP and surf scene… Could you tell us more about Team 2ndReef?
Since 2009 I have been 100% dedicated to SUP with my own school, my team, my classes and of course, with two SUP Race events a year, the Gran Canaria PRO held in June and December.
We have the privilege to live in a place with a spectacular climate 365 days a year and with the school one minute from the sea. This is a fantastic spot for tourists who want to practice SUP or for a father who wants to have his son to do paddle surfing as an extracurricular activity.
This is where I divide the week into two levels, children training three and four times a week as part of the federation and another less advanced group on Tuesdays and Thursdays, where the main objective is to see them enjoy the sport as they evolve and are about to decide if they want to make a jump into the competitive side. They rarely say no to the competition : )
What’s the vision behind this year’s Gran Canaria Pro Beach Race?
Mainly to see the number of participants and nationalities grow. After all, we offer athletes a different format than the usual ones on the Tour.
What are the GCPRO race formats and can anyone attend?
From my point of view, our format seems super attractive and striking, a circuit made up of three buoys with a total of 2km in the middle of a beach break. Two races per gender and the sum of times to define the champions, I think it’s the fairest thing to do in this type of race.
Any athlete who likes to have their heart rate pushed to the limit and who wants to surf, is welcome!
GCPRO is part of the EUROTOUR Grand Slam – what does that mean for the participants and as an added value to the event?
Behind each event there is a lot of effort and a lot of time dedicated to be able to deliver it as well as possible. Being able to offer participants the highest level of comfort and facilities during their stay on the Island is of the utmost importance. The competitors must be rested and focused on the race.
We, as organizers and riders at the same time, wanted our Island, our stadium, to be part of the EuroTour. In 2022 and in 2023 with 4 stars and excellent money prize pot. Like any promoter, I hope that the GCPRO 2023 riders will have a great time, enjoy their stay on the Island along with the weather and waves. All this would help us to grow Gran Canaria PRO in 2024 to attract stars and drive general participation.
What can participants expect in terms of weather conditions etc?
The normal thing for these dates would be that they compete with 24 or 25 degrees of temperature. Depending on the direction of the wind on the 3rd June and the days before, we will have more or less waves.
The Alisios wind is the usual one in the Canary Islands, with a NNE direction most of the year.
In order for us to have a good forecast of waves on the day of the event, we would need this wind from the NNE direction to start blowing strongly in the NE of the island days before the GCPRO.
Could you tell us more about the social aspect of the event? What participants can expect outside of the competitive side?
I think that the GCPRO is the perfect occasion for people and families who are yet unaware of our event to come over, enjoy the race on the front line and see the best in the world in this authentic SUP Race Show.
Outside of the competitive side, the participants of the Gran Canaria are going to feel very welcomed by the local people, they are going to find an island worth exploring and learning about its origins, its fabulous beaches, volcanic mountains and the potential of the island for nautical sports.
Could you share a sneak peek of who (among elite paddlers) has confirmed their participation already?
For the second consecutive year, Ty Judson (Winner of the 2022 edition) will return to Gran Canaria, along with the two great riders from the national scene, Fernando Pérez and Jaran Rodriguez. Esperanza Barreras and Alba Frey from the Canary Islands are also among the elite fighters for the podium in this edition.
Thank you so much for your time and wishing you another epic GCPRO edition!
To REGISTER for Gran Canaria Pro Beach Race, click here
To find out more about SECONDREEF, visit secondreef.es
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*Images courtesy of SecondReef x Gran Canaria PRO