Fanatic is proud to announce the signing of Spanish professional SUP rider Belar Diaz to their International SUP team.
INTERVIEW WITH BELAR DIAZ
Belar, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into stand up paddling?
I´m 34 years old, I work as a Territory Manager for a Petrol company (Galp). 2 years ago I bought an 11´used SUP and went surfing with small waves. After trying to stand up for 5min, I caught my first wave and I thought this would be great solution for the Mediterranean… I love the fact that you can be in the water every day if you want to, you can surf, you can race, you can do downwinds...
Its a very complete sport, and also a great way to stay in shape.
So, why Fanatic Boards?
I tried a couple of the new Fly race boards and loved them. At the European championship I won the 14´class on one, and I was hooked.
What is your favourite board? The new 14’ Flatwater Board, which I paddled in Holland, it is incredibly fast.
And what was your favourite experience on a SUP? I say it probably was the 96.5km crossing from Ibiza to Javea, which is a small town on the Spanish mainland. We had all kind of conditions and it was for sure a day I won´t forget…
Wow, 96,6 km, how long did that take? It took a little less than 15 hours.14 hours 48 minutes, I recall, I won’t forget that for a while…
And this whole mission was your idea? Yes, actually it was my idea. I wanted to do a nice crossing, something that nobody had attempted before. I looked at some charts and thought maybe it is too long for one day, but I kept pushing the guy that was helping me with the planning to see if we could do it in one day. Long story short, we tried it and it worked out and I am excited about that.
Did you have any help?
A friend of mine runs a charter company and they gave us a Catamaran for free, as long as we make good use of it, which we did. I myself did not enjoy the Catamaran very much because we just did one crossing and paddled all the way back. But the Catamaran accompanied us and kept us safe.
How did it go?
Well, 4 of us started the journey, and 3 finished, Annabel Anderson, Fred Bonnef and myself.
How were the conditions?
The conditions were great, the first 2-3 hours we had the best downwind you can ask for. It was beautiful, we were going 15-20 kilometers per hour – even the Catamaran could barely keep up with us…. That lasted for about 3 hours at most. Then the wind stopped for about 30-40km. And for the last part, we actually got headwind, about 10 knots. We were so exhausted at time, we would have given anything for a downwind.
Did you consider giving up?
I was quite certain we would get there. There were times where I was falling a lot towards the end, but something inside me kept telling me we would make it, even with the hour and a half at night, where we had to paddle in the dark.
Did you take any breaks? Stop to eat & drink?
We stopped like every two hours to eat something, refill the camel bags, sit down on the boards.
But you never left the board?
No, never, we just sat on the board!
And now you just very successfully competed at Eleven City in Netherlands and Battle of the Paddle California, what are your plans after that?
The next big event this year are the Spanish Championships mid-October. In 2012 my plans are to do most major international competitions like Molokai and BOP´s. I would also love to do some new challenges like some crossings that haven´t been done yet.
Thanks, and good luck for your upcoming adventures!