Tim Rowe : Why you should come and downwind at the Kelt Ocean Race 2020

  • UPDATE : This event is postponed until further notice #coronavirus


Tim Rowe, the Grand Kahuna paddler from Jersey loves to cross the Channel a few times a year for a bit of SUP Racing action in French territory. On Saturday April 11th, he will take part in his 3rd Kelt Ocean Race in Brittany (or Bretagne as the French like to call it), one of France’s most popular downwind races which crosses the iconic Douarnenez Bay. His son, Aaron Rowe, an international SUP racer and SUP surfer supported by SIC UK will also be part of the trip following months of no paddling due to injury. We asked Tim to tell us why “La Kelt” is one of his favorite races!

Hello Tim, can you please introduce yourself to our SUP community?

Hi, I’m Tim, I’m a Grand Kahuna and I live in Jersey, Channel Islands where I’ve been for the last 21 years.

Can you remind us of your SUP history?

I was a surf kayaker for many years before getting on a SUP about 10 years ago, when I finally managed to stand on one, the surf kayaking fell by the wayside and I was converted. There are so many aspects to SUP which means you aren’t restricted to one type of conditions, I enjoy surfing, downwind, cruising and racing, so just about everything, I haven’t really tried foiling yet and I am not sure it’s for me, but it’s great to see what people are doing on them.

Time Rowe enjoying a spot of stand up paddle

You take part in many Stand Up Paddle events in France, can you tell us how you choose your SUP events ?

I tend to go for downwind races rather than flat water and France has some great downwind races in stunning locations, they are also generally really well run. Apart from a few downwind races I have got one river race planned this year and that’s the Tarn Water Race purely because I haven’t been there and it looks like a beautiful river to race on.

Tell us what’s really special about the Kelt Ocean Race?

This will be my third time at the Kelt Ocean Race and one of the reasons for that is the three things you mention organization, atmosphere and location. We have always been made to feel really welcome and those of you that know me, know that I can’t speak French (I know its very bad of me considering how often I visit). The Organizers make sure that we understand what is happening and where we need to be and go out of their way to help us. The atmosphere has always been good as there is a great vibe in the French downwind community (and a lot of great paddlers), as to the location, people should just go there to see it, I haven’t got bored of visiting yet.

“La Kelt” is renown for being one of France’s top downwind races, what’s your opinion on this? Can you describe the conditions?

The beauty of this race and the organization is there are so many different options depending on the wind and the organizers are great at adapting and moving to give the best possible route for the paddlers. My two previous visits have been great with some really good conditions, pretty big both times with an interesting beach landing last time. The safety cover is also excellent with plenty of boats on the water

This edition of the Kelt Ocean Race is going to feel pretty special, since you are taking your son Aaron with you, back in the competition after months of injury…

Yeah, I’m really pleased that Aaron is coming along this time, he has been out of the race scene for some time through injury and his only recent event was the AAP surf event in Gran Canaria in December last year. After surf, downwind is his favourite thing so we are both hoping for some good conditions. It’s always good to compete alongside your family although after the start I won’t see him till the finish where he will probably be waiting for me drinking a beer…

Could you give some travel & tourism tips to fellow Channel Islands and UK paddlers who’d like to take part?

For any UK or Channel Island paddlers, thinking of going it’s easy to drive to from ferries landing in Brittany and there is plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets if you look at the main online accommodation providers and there are some good eateries in the area. Then there is always the local scenery, so well worth the trip.

More info + registration:

About the Author

Mathieu Astier

Mathieu is the hyper-active founder of TotalSUP and a multilingual online marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience working for top international internet companies. His love-at-first-sight for Stand Up Paddling in 2013 led him to build one of the leading online media dedicated to SUP in English and French and to turn his family lifestyle towards the ocean.

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