Well judging from what I have heard and the live commentary on surfski.info the Europeans are catching on to surfski at a rapid rate. There were no less than three past world marathon champions in the top ten, and two in the top five. The list of skis paddled is no longer Fenn vrs Epic there was a mixture of Fenn, Epic, Think, Nelo and Okrea spread across the top ten.

The Start Euro Challenge 2010. Photo surfski.info
Obviously the race was relativly flat, but the reality is this is going to be the norm rather than the exception with races happening on a set date. Try as race organisers might to get the perfect downwind race it is most likely not going to happen.
It is always great when a race has one mass start, its a great spectator spectacle and great to know exactly where you are in the field, speaking to Sean Rice (2nd) the race was fast and hard with a quicker time than last year in more unfavourable conditions. Dawid Mocke ended up winning by just over a minute from Sean, Manuel Busto Fernandes, Eirik Veraas Larsen and Kiko Vega. In the womans race Nikki Mockes return to racing really created a great race with her winning by just over 4min from Michele Eray and Chloe Bunnett in 3rd.

Sean Rice Orka Super Flex 2nd Euro Challenge 2010. Photo surfski.info
To finish off the race report I keep being asked by Sean and the rest of the training squad why we spend so much time on flat water and my answer is always, you need to have a good mix of both flat water and surf when preparing for these races, odds are it is not going to be a howling downwind, but will be fast and tactical. Having said that when ever there is a chance to go downwind claim it and always try to do your long paddles on the Sea. Next races in the world tour Molokai and Durban lets hope Molokai is not flat for the 4th year in a row and Durban again has great downwind.
Pete