“Stacked field of pro SUP athletes”, “gnarly ocean conditions”, “incredible experience” and “an excellent event organisation” are some of the recurring themes summing up the Madeira Island Sup Challenge (MISC) 2023, the EuroTour Grand Slam event, held on the Madeira Island this past weekend, a stunning archipelago situated in the North Atlantic Ocean and located about 900km from the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
TotalSUP caught up with some of the world’s top riders participating in the event to tap into their experience of this ocean race. Take a look at what they had to say and check out the event’s video recap and full result lists. Congratulations to all amazing athletes and organisers!
The Starboard Dream Team rider Clément Colmas said: “I was really exited to see Madeira and compete against those top racers. I knew I could do something good in this type of race, choppy with upwind and especially downwind conditions. I do train in similar conditions in New Caledonia with a lot of downwind courses with my SUP mates Titouan Puyo and Noic Garioud and I am always stoked to compete in similar conditions! As for the event, I have been leading the pack with Ty Judson on the up wind but mostly trying to save energy for the downwind. At this point I left the straight line and when far outside the shore to get more pumps. Really happy that this game plan did pay off!”
The NSP Team Rider, Duna Gordillo said: “The competition this weekend in Madeira (Funchal) has been incredible, I’ve been welcomed and treated super well and I really enjoyed the race. Also, the conditions were perfect as we had both upwind and downwind. I found the place very nice, so next year I’ll be back again.”
Duna Gordillo / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
The 6x Swiss National Champion Anna Tschirky said: “The race was amazing and the Madeira Island is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to! The organisers announced some wind for Saturday and it actually became true! The wind picked up during the day and it also started to rain just before so the race didn’t start until 3pm due to weather conditions.
Once the girls started, we went around the harbour wall and there was a lot of wind hitting us and we had a pretty tough upwind leg I must say navigating along the coast because there was a little bit less wind but then again you’d have to add some distance so you had to choose your own line. From the beginning I was in second place and Duna Gordillo went like a rocket until the end and I never managed to paddle with her only at the start for a couple of strokes until maybe the second buoy and then I was also paddling all by myself.
We were all paddling really hard and also at some point you had to go around a little island and it was really choppy and bumpy with a lot of backwash. It was tricky to cross that but there was finally a buoy that allowed us to turn around and the well deserved downwind – which was actually amazing! I have been training in Fuerteventura for almost 2 months this Winter and I have to say I have never had a downwind this good! So it was really fun and gave us momentum after pushing this hard alone paddling upwind. I think it was about 5km and that’s also when the guys started catching up. Yeah, everyone chose their own lane and I was going more or less in the middle but also really far on the outside and Duna went really close to the coast.
Eventually I found a really good downwind flow and could catch some great bumps. I was paddling on the NSP Carolina which was arranged by the Organiser, Ricardo Rodrigues, and it was amazing as the board is really good for downwind paddling.
So we did about 5km of downwind and then we had to turn around and there was another rain front coming which brought a lot of wind and bumps and became very stormy. We had to do another 3km upwind in some really choppy conditions because we were close to the coast and then slowly paddling into the harbour again but it just felt like the finish line will never happen. But then I just managed to keep my rhythm and go on and eventually finish the race.
There was a lot of people waiting at the finish line and yeah, we had a really great time afterwards hanging around and then on Sunday there was the Prize Ceremony!
It was just an amazing race and I would recommend this event to everybody who likes the ocean conditions and island vibes. I’m already looking forward to the next year and I’m definitely coming back!”
Anna Tschirky / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
The NSP Team Rider, Christian Andersen said:“The Madeira SUP Island Challenge was an incredible experience! The race consisted of a 12 km open ocean course starting inside the Funchal harbour. The race course included a bit of everything from flat water, upwind and a fun downwind stretch.
The thing that makes this race so special is the nature on and of the island. The mountains, the colour of the water, the cliffs and the green landscape in the background. It’s a cool perspective seeing all of that from the water. Ricardo Rodrigues did a great job organizing the event. It was cool to see his club and how much he is doing for all the kids. I will definitely come back next year!”
Christian Andersen / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
Petronella Van Malsen, 3rd Place Women Elite
The Mistral Team Rider Petronella Van Malsen said: “I loved this event on the beautiful island of Madeira. We had some good conditions for SUP racing. Strong women and juniors on the start line made it a challenging ocean race! After a good start, Duna Gordillo and Anna Tschirky where ‘flying’ away… Strong Emily Evans pushed me all the way to go fast. I enjoyed the downwind part and all the beauty of Madeira’s green coastline. The way back, after the last buoy, was all about paddling with full power and focus to secure my third place. I’m happy with my performance. To finish this race was an intense challenge on a big but stable board. Big thanks for the warm welcome and the well-run organization of this great event!
Petronella Van Malsen / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
The NSP Team Rider, Tomás Lacerda said: “The Madeira SUP Island Challenge was incredible! I was expecting some flat conditions but the wind start growing up in the morning. Really fun choppy conditions and a really fun downwind for 5km. It was amazing to compete with these top riders on my home turf. Congratulations to all athletes and organisers of such an amazing event!”
Tomás Lacerda / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
The Blackfish Paddles Team Rider Emily Evans said:“It was really nice to take part in a very well organised event in a beautiful location. There were some super challenging conditions which made for great racing! And Madeira SUP Island Challenge is definitely an event that I would take part again!”
The Starboard Team Rider and New Zealand National Champion, Ollie Houghton said:“I’m pretty happy with my result at the Madeira Island SUP Challenge, the course we had set out involved a whole variety of different paddling conditions, from flat water to rough upwind, to downwind and finishing with a long grind back upwind. We had a good crew of 5 leading the charge which became a bit more separated when we started to head back downwind, and that left Christian Andersen, Tomas Lacerda and myself battling for the last podium. Christian taking the third with a strong finish from Tomas in the 4th position. Above all, the water and scenery we were racing in was so beautiful so I would definitely look at coming back for sure.”
Ollie Houghton / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
Verónica Silva, 5th Place Women Elite
The NSP Team Rider, Verónica Silva said: “It was the third edition of the Madeira SUP Island Challenge and the conditions were very challenging. The first half of the race was an upwind, after turning the second buoy of the course it became a very fun downwind, finally the final stretch was another upwind with some very rough sea. Some of the world’s top elite athletes were participating which made the race very competitive. I’m very happy to have competed at home and managed to reach the top 5. I would like to congratulate all athletes and the organisers for delivering such a well-organized and safe event.”
Verónica Silva / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
The NSP Team Rider, Mia Soares Silva said: ” This was my first time taking part in a EuroTour event with a lot of expectations and a lot of desire to participate alongside some of the SUP top paddlers! It was as great to be back paddling beside Duna Gordillo, since the ICF Worlds in Hungary, when I had just turned 15 a day earlier and was the youngest athlete in competition. This is a very tough race in Madeira but with a happy ending. I loved participating in the Challenge and also meeting Petronella Van Malsen in person”
Mia Soares / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
João Olim, Winner of Junior Pro Division
The NSP Team Rider, João Olim said: “The Madeira Island SUP Challenge was an incredible race, with a difficult but very fun conditions. It was a 12 km of up wind and downwind and we had some ocean waves, it wasn’t just wind. So it was probably the most fun race I’ve competed in to date this season. I finished the race in 1st first place in the Junior Pro Division and 7th in the Elite, and I am extremely happy and satisfied with the result. It was my best long distance race of this season so far and it’s always amazing to be able to compete with the best. I’m ready and focused to do my best in the next races.”
João Olim / Photo credit: Madeira SUP Island Challenge
Madeira Island Sup Challenge (MISC) 2023 Video Recap
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