I recently attended an awesome week long training camp hosted by Remy Lavie of http://paddlesports.fr/ The camp was based in the South East corner of Tenerife & was focused purely around OC1 and downwind paddling.
I hate the cold, so was super excited to get some winter sun, some solid training with a couple of my buddies Ryan James & Scott Brown.
Each week 10 paddlers from around the world meet & stay in a couple of really cool villas near the town of El Medano. There were 5 of us from the UK, a few Frenchies, a German and Hawaiian legend (& multi-time World Champ Kai Barlett).
We arrived a day early due to flight schedules but Remy wasted no time in taking us out to play on canoes for a couple of hours.
The wind was due to pick up for the Sunday & we got out on our first proper run, the main 16km run from up the coast 16kms or so back to El Medano.
It was nothing short of EPIC, some big bumps & technical paddling. My first go in the Puakea Ehukai which went really well.
The forecast for the week was showing building wind to Wednesday. Tuesday was going off the scale with force 8-9. The only guys opting to go out on the main run were Ryan, Kai & Myself. Kai took us under his wing & really looked out for us both in some pretty sketchy conditions. We’re talking 20+ft faces and howling winds that were trying to rip the paddle out of your hand the whole time! We did the extended run right round the Red Mountain, about 22kms. At points were were about 4-5kms offshore. Comfort zones were being seriously pushed but we had safety equipment & were paddling with one of the best in the world!
We were hitting speeds of up to 28kph at times, with our limited experience of swell this big it was hard to keep on the bumps the whole time & not bottle it or get caught up stalling & dropping in. Watching Kai skillfully surf left & right really helped understand the best way to navigate the conditions.
The Wednesday was called a lay day as the wind was too strong to launch safely so we rested up & Kai gave a little clinic / talk. A great chance to quiz him on anything & everything. In the UK we have so few people to learn from it was an absolute honour to have the chance to chat.
On the Thursday we got back out, the winds still F8, Ryan & I did the 22km run again on our own… an absolute hoot apart from the ‘Rogue Wave’ which went a bit viral after I shared the footage! It was excellent training & skills development. We looked out for each other & as it started to smooth out mid way we were having such fun, screaming, hooting & catching bump after bump.
Friday the wind started to drop & we managed a couple of runs on a more mellow route from the Red Mountain to Las Galletas. This was a brilliant roughly 11kms run which was pretty mellow. The sun was shining & there were smiles all round. (video below)
Across the week we managed 125kms of paddling (in 5 days). It was an absolutely awesome trip & I will definitely be going again next year. I’d recommend it to any OC paddler. If you don’t have much Ocean experience & you get conditions like we had it could be a bit daunting so worth while getting some practice in before you go so you are comfortable in bigger seas.
Huge thanks to Remy for running a great camp. We’ll see you next year brother!
Enjoy a few clips of the trip: