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Franck Fifils Takes Overall Honors at Caribbean Surf Ski Tour

Guadeloupe’s Franck Fifils emerged overall winner of the 2011 Caribbean Surfski Tour following the Karukera Challenge held in Guadeloupe October 29th. His fourth place finish in Guadeloupe assured he had sufficient points in the bag for overall victory based on his win in St. Maarten earlier at the Soualiga Challenge.

Fifils, who won the Soualiga Challenge for the third time in its seven year history, pocketed the 3,000 euro prize money for winning the tour.

This year the tour comprised just two events following the cancellation of Antigua’s Downwind Classic due to lack of sponsorship and logistical difficulties. Therefore there was no discard race.

The Karukera Challenge, a 25km paddle from Capesterre Belle Eau to Basse Terre on Guadeloupe’s south west coast, was won by France’s Open Water Vice Champion Yannick Laousse. Winds were from the east at around 15 knots with five-to-six-foot seas. The last 3km was paddled in the lee of the island in flat seas.

The event attracted some 50 participants including two world champion K1 and K2 marathon paddlers and benefitted from good media coverage. Among the entries were six double surf skis and three stand-up paddlers.

The results were: Yannick Laousse first in 2:14:38, Walter Bouzan (Spain) second 2:15:58; Stéphane Roudault (France) third 2:16:22.

“St. Maarten was one of the nicest events we’ve had so far, conditions-wise,” remarked tour organiser Stuart Knaggs. “And Guadeloupe was great too. We had good downwind runs for the first part of the race and the last 3-4km was flat which always kills me. It was very hot. But it was a good field with some big names some of whom were flat water specialists making the transition to surf ski. It was a trimmed down tour this time and we will have to make a decision what to do about Antigua next year.”

Robert Luckock is a British journalist and freelance writer residing in St. Maarten since 1984. He is currently The Daily Herald’s correspondent for French St. Martin and was one of All At Sea’s very first contributors.

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