The 2023 ICF Surfski World Champs

The 2023 ICF Surfski World Champs

It has been 10 years since surfski joined the ICF and held the inaugural ICF Ocean Racing World Championships in Portugal.

So much has changed since then.

There are more boat manufacturers, all producing lighter and faster surfskis. There are also many more stable options to choose from, allowing an easier entry into the sport. 
The level of racing has got thicker - with many more paddlers squeezing into the time gaps between 1st and 10th.
And we have an open entry system now allowing more paddlers the opportunity to line up at a World Championships.

For me personally, it was amazing to go to Perth and attend the event. Having retired from competitive surfski paddling in 2017, I went into it with a totally different mindset. Although still heavily involved in the sport as a boat importer, coach and member of the ICF Ocean Racing Committee, it was refreshing to be able to see old friends, make new ones and get back in touch with the pointy end of the sport.

Speaking of, both Jemma Smith and Cory Hill from Australia had dominating performances, winning their races convincingly. Jemma Smith is the first woman to win two titles, and they were back-to-back. The 21km course started with a 2km headwind, which was not the funnest part of my Australia visit! After turning, it got immensely better with the runs coming thick and fast. Although slightly side on, there was enough to surf and still work your way out to sea a bit to ensure you didn't end up coming in too early.



A fun shore break was waiting at the finish, keeping everyone on their toes. Our US team had a good showing, with Ana Swetish getting a silver medal in the U23 race, myself getting a gold in the Masters 40-44.

As part of the ICF Ocean Racing Committee, we are trying to grow and develop surfski. At this year's Worlds we hosted our first Talent Development camp. Thanks to Dawid Mocke for running that for us.
We have some exciting plans for the future in this space, which we will roll out over the coming year.

Next year's Worlds will be in Madeira, Portugal. The island looks incredible and will be worth the trip just to travel afterwards!

Thanks for reading, leave me a comment if you have any questions.
- Michèle


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