The ‘kagu’ is a bird native to the islands of New Caledonia. Known as cagou in French and nicknamed the “ghost of the forest” due to its ash-white coat, it has become the symbol of the island’s sporting teams who often compete under the banner of ‘Les Cagous’ (“The Kagus”). It’s a somewhat ironic mascot though — the cagou is almost flightless, yet three of the island’s athletes have reached such great heights.
On a chilly Saturday in the French region of Creuse, on an artificial lake more than 200km from the nearest ocean, the New Caledonian trio of Noïc Garioud, Titouan Puyo and Clement Colmas finished 1, 2 and 3 at the French Distance Championships. The race was held 17,000 kilometres away from the postcard-perfect lagoon that surrounds the main island of New Caledonia (which is an overseas “collective territory” of France), but Les Cagous looked right at home on the water. → READ MORE
While much of the paddling world is still on event lockdown, Europe has been tentatively returning to the water over the past two months. We saw the 11-City Tour in almost all its glory last week, and every weekend there are race photos popping up on Instagram. But it seems the French have been more dedicated than most.
The Alpine Lakes Tour (home of the famous GlaGla Race) resumed two months ago and held another event in mid-August, before the country’s west coast saw four-straight weeks of solid racing that culminated with a classic hit-out in the surf on the weekend. The endless summer in France will continue on to the Fort Boyard Challenge next week followed by the Alpine Lakes hosting the flat-water French Championships on Lake Annecy (same spot as GlaGla) in October, the Corsica Paddle Trophy the week after that, a final Alpine event in November, and then, tentatively, the Paris Crossing in December. → READ MORE
Connor Baxter and Fiona Wylde have made it a clean sweep for Team Starboard at the Gorge Paddle Challenge in Hood River, Oregon today.
Fiona, the three-time defending champ, was once again unstoppable as her home course turned on the downwind conditions. Fiona’s fourth-straight DD crown cemented her reputation as not only the Queen of Hood River but also one of the most-talented bump-riders in the sport.
Click through for the full results… → READ MORE
There must be something in the water in New Caledonia.
The small, semi-autonomous Pacific island nation with a population of just 278000 (98.85% smaller than Australia’s) took home an incredible four of the top five men’s spots in yesterday’s Down Under Double Downwinder.
Inspired by their pioneering superstar Titouan Puyo, a new generation of New Caledonian paddlers are emerging on the international stage with under-18s Noic Garioud and Clement Colmas continuing their meteoric rises. → READ MORE
Titouan Puyo showed he’s still the king of New Caledonia, but there are no shortage of heirs apparent after the tiny Pacific island nation blew away the Aussies at the SUPs Down Under event on Queensland’s Gold Coast today.
New Caledonia took four of the top five spots in the men’s race, with Titou being joined by Noic Garioud (3rd), Clement Colmas (4th) and the new downwind dark horse (or “le cheval noir”) Ben Riviere. Only runner-up Lincoln Dews managed to get in between the “Cagous” and salvage some pride for the home team, while Angie Jackson took out the women’s ahead of her ONE team mate Kate Baker. → READ MORE
France has highlighted yet again why it’s considered a powerhouse in the world of paddling, with the French National Titles showcasing an incredible depth of talent as a mix of superstars and young guns shared the podiums on the weekend.
Held in the Mediterranean town of Cap d’Agde, the 2017 edition of the “Championnat de France de Stand Up Paddle” produced four new champions, with Martin Vitry, Titouan Puyo, Melanie Lafenetre and Amandine Chazot sharing the spoils and staking a claim for a spot on Team France at the 2018 Worlds. → READ MORE
The tiny Pacific island of New Caledonia has another stand up star, with 15-year-old sensation Noic Garioud becoming French Downwind Champion after claiming the 14′ national titles last weekend–an event where his mentor and fellow New Caledonian Titouan Puyo was the defending champion.
Noic finished ahead of New Cal compatriot and another name-to-watch Clément Colmas at the double downwind-style event held in the north-western region of Crozon, while the continental Frenchies were left to battle it out for the minor placings. → READ MORE
Take a look at this great recap from the big downwind showdown on the weekend, the Stand Up Surf Shop King of the Cut, where 140 paddlers from Australia and around the world enjoyed an afternoon of bump riding and beers in Western Australia.
While it wasn’t all-time conditions, it was certainly a solid downwinder, particularly towards the end of the 24km course when the wind picked up and the glides really started running. Click through to watch… → READ MORE
Team NSP’s Titouan Puyo has taken out the Stand Up Surf Shop ‘King of the Cut’ race in Western Australia, earning a clean sweep of Downwind Week after victory at The Doctor last weekend and cementing his reputation as one of the world’s greatest downwind paddlers.
In an incredible 1-2 finish for New Caledonia, 15-year-old dark horse Clement Colmas stunned Australia’s finest to claim the runner-up spot less than a minute behind his compatriot and half a minute ahead of defending champ and Starboard team mate Matt Nottage. → READ MORE
Titouan Puyo won the 14′ French Downwind Championships last week, edging out fellow world-beater Arthur Arutkin and a new name to watch, Clément Colmas, to claim the Presqu’ile Paddle Race.
Titou showed vintage form in the moderate downwind conditions, pulling away from the field to win by a clear margin. The event followed the popular new “Double Downwind” format, with a run on Saturday and another on Sunday before times were combined to produce the overall results. → READ MORE