Thursday, September 25, 2008 the first stand up paddle voyage crossing the "Strait of Gibraltar" took place uniting Spain with Morocco. With sponsorship by Starboard, Nicoboco and Stand-Up-Surf.com, International Starboard rider Ekolu Kalama and Starboard Spain riders Fernando Labad and Guillermo Peña completed the feat.
Thursday morning we picked up Ekolu from the airport in Málaga, Spain and we decided to make advanced preparations in “Playa Chica –Tarifa” due to the arrival of a storm.
Our intention was not to break a record, but to demonstrate that the SUP embraces numerous possibilities of practices and is within reach of anyone. For the crossing we decided to use Starboard stand up paddleboards of 11´2´´, two of which were Tufskin models and 1 Protech along with aluminium and carbon paddles. That same afternoon Ekolu opened our eyes to the possibility of fishing to "the currican" stand up paddle stye with some gear tied to the waists of Ekolu and Guillermo.
Being short on time, it was time to depart. Fernando commented, "The water this difficult. Indeed when paddling you feel as if the water is blended with a dense filler and it seems that you don't advance.” Continued Fernando, “Half hour later, Ekolu called me and directed me toward the port. It was the same height of earlier as it seemed that we had just been digressing. The pattern of a ship urged us to change direction to overcome the current at an angle. The thing became so serious that we concentrated on increasing the rhythm and after almost one hour we could see that we were advancing forward. We went into in the strait and the Crag of Gibraltar was perpendicular to us when we entered the area of marine traffic. Enormous containers, cargo carriers, oil tankers, cruise ships, approached from the front and behind. As some of them approached us directly, we all modified our directions. They were enormous.”
Said Fernando, “Flying fish and dolphins passed near us as we headed out over the sea. A group of whales passed among the three of us as it is an area rich with marine life. The sun began to set and the constant breeze and strong current of the Moroccan coast set in for the last half hour of the voyage.”
After 2 hours and 45 minutes we arrived at a little beach with a lot of newfound knowledge and at once were greeted by an armed soldier who appeared. Afraid and astonished, Fernando put his foot on the beach and he began to give explanations to the local authority. Tensions were abandoned and we celebrated the culmination of the voyage.
During the return, the setting of the sun was astonishing. We arrived at night, pick up the gear and we had a dinner of fried fish and cold beers with friends.
This is SUP!!
Javier Bartra (Starboard SUP Spain)
José Luis Pictures
- Nicoboco (www.nicoboco.es )