With stunning views, €10,000 prize pot and points being added to the ICF World Ranking Series and SUP Alps Trophy annual ranking, the athlete line-up is heating up for the upcoming Lake Rocks Festival 2023held at Faaker See in the Austrian state of Carinthia on the 18-21 May.
Hi Manuel, welcome to TotalSUP! We loved your ‘Laible vs Lauble SUP duel’! Let’s talk about your stand-up paddleboarding journey and getting into the competing side of the sport…
First of all, thank you Anna for contacting me. TotalSUP is doing a great job for over 10 years already – Congratulations! I’m from Constance, which is in the very south of Germany situated at Lake Constance close to the border of Switzerland. Lake Constance is the largest lake in Germany and an incredibly diverse paddling area.
We have sheltered and calm spots, river-like sections with current, islands, open water with waves, opportunities for longer downwind sessions during storms from west. Alexander Stertzik, a friend of mine, was one of the first stand-up paddlers in our region. That must have been back in 2012. A strange sight at this time.
My background is in swimming and I have always preferred rather long distances. I’ve participated in 24-hour swimming competitions for example and mountain bike races like the legendary Sellaronda Hero and triathlons. Then finally (and actually way too late!) I got into stand-up paddling in 2018. I was hooked right away!
I also came right into the development process of the Indiana Dugout Hollow Carbon which was designed here in Constance by the shapers Andi Widmann and KurtSchanuel, and tested by me until it was ready for production.
Photo credit: SUP Alps Trophy
You seem to have a knack for those gnarly SUP races in challenging conditions… (glacial lakes, extreme temperatures)…What are the key drivers for you to decide to compete in a SUP race?
Ha, ha! Yes, I love challenges. I like it when I have to get out of my comfort zone. I go paddling six times a week (at least!) and I really don’t care about weather. That is what makes every training session different: The Sun, ice, snow, sleet, heavy rain, drizzle, rainbows, head wind, side wind, no wind, storm, chop, wave, flat water, 30 degrees or minus 10…So what? Go out and have fun! Yeah okay, and sometimes not thinking about how nice it would be to stay in the warm office and drink a coffee. I really like „extreme“ race formats like the GlaGla Race in the middle of Winter. And I’m not alone – over 700 paddlers started at Lac d’Annecy this year. My gap to the first place was only 30 seconds. Mathieu reported it live on TotalSUP!
Photo credit: Alexander Stertzik Fotografie
What’s your local SUP scene like?
I have only been involved in the SUP scene for 5 years. Even in this short time, the sport has become incredibly professional. Especially internationally. Here at Lake Constance, there are countless SUP paddlers in Summer months. The number of paddlers that I would count as a competitive athlete is manageable. But it’s nice to see German Stand Up Paddle Association getting more kids and youth involved in the scene with their Kids Camps and national squads. It’s incredibly important for our young sport.
The Lake Rocks Festival 2023 is fast approaching…
I guess every paddler who has seen the photos and videos of Lake Rocks 2022 wants to go this year. The water is turquoise like in the Caribbean surrounded by the mountains. Wow! It is the season opener of the SUP Alps Trophy race series and an ICF World Ranking event. I expect many international top athletes to fight for the high prize money.
Photo credit: paddelstadt.at x SUP Alps Trophy
How do you prepare for this particular competition?
I have been training with Christian Taucher and SUP.Training for two and a half years. He is the 20x (at least!) Austrian SUP Champion, sports scientist and Coach. With his support and individual training planned for me, I managed to reach the German top three within two seasons. Winter preparations for the upcoming season were intense. I think I can count training-free days on one hand. Sounds incredibly exhausting? Yes! But I have so much fun torturing myself (my Coach too) and testing my limits. In two weeks time, I will participate at the ICE-Race in Switzerland and we will see if the preparation was successful.
Photo credit: Roger Gruetter / SUP Suisse Davos
Lake Rocks Festival 2023: Flat or rocky?
Dead-flat hopefully 😉 The race will be very very fast then. But who knows? Throughout Winter and Spring we had a lot of wind in the alpine region. And on a windy day, even a small, paradise-like lake can become a Bermuda Triangle!
Could you tell us more about your collaboration with Indiana?
It’s great that Indiana’s boardshapers Andi Widmann and KurtSchanuel work in Constance. This means I can always be the first to ride the latest prototypes and incorporate ideas and improvements. For me Indiana gear, especially the race board DHC 14’21.5”, is unbeatable when it comes to quality, design process, weight and performance. I am very grateful for the support and the confidence shown in me as the Indiana Team Rider. I am proud to be part of the team. There is still more to come!
Photo credit: SUP Alps Trophy
What’s your favourite Indiana set up? (racing, touring etc.)
The super fast rocket Indiana 14’x 21.5” DHC race board and Indiana’s Hyperflow 7.5” fin which is perfect for Lake Constance because really no (NO!) seaweed gets stuck.
There’s a 23.5” version of the hollow race board dropping this season which will be suitable for paddlers with a weight of 80+ kg and for all racers who want more stability in choppy conditions.
Photo credit: Andy Klotz / SUP Alps Trophy
Thank you for your time Manuel and good luck with the upcoming events!
If you’re looking for the LIVE FEEDS of THE LAKE ROCKS FESTIVAL, you’re at the right spot! Scroll down to find the two livestream players set for the two main races of the weekend. If for any reason, we encounter any technical issue, try your luck on the SUP Alps Trophy YouTube Channel. Note that […]
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