Meeting of the Champions

Thanks to Nelo I have just returned home from an incredible European trip!

The team at Nelo have outdone themselves once more by putting on a fantastic party to celebrate theirs and their paddlers success and dedication from over the past four years.

From Wednesday through to the Sunday just about all of the top paddlers in the world were able to catch up in Porto – Portugal to socialize and relax outside of the normal pressures of competition.

The four days consisted of a lot of partying, time on the beach, paint ball and a very impressive tour through the factory that is responsible for producing the finest racing kayaks in the world!

Having seen the factory and met the staff behind the scenes it is very easy to see why Nelo is as good as it is. The factory is huge and there appears to be no compromise on creating an environment where their craftsmen can go about doing what they do best. The work area is uncluttered and very clean- you could just about eat off the floor, the layout is obviously a result of many years of experience, with compressed air hoses and a vacume system all the way through the factory to keep everything spotless as just one example.

Below is a picture of Nuno explaining the process of how the boats are made as two of their craftsmen go about vacume bagging the lay up that has been put down. Hmm is that an oxymoron??

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We had a chance to see the computer controlled molding system for developing new shapes and the purpose built oven rooms for curing the boats. There has obviously been a HUGE amount invested to produce the boats that they are so well known for.

To round the tour off Nuno Santos presented the Olympic medalists that were present with a brand new Vanquish 3 in the Olympic racing colors the respective athletes had in Beijing. This was a great opportunity to unveil the new boats with media and dignitaries from Portugal present.

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Above Shaun, Tim and Ekaitz standing in front of the presentation area prior to the Launch of the New Vanquish 3.

Below a photo of everybody getting up close for a good look once the covers had been removed and the boats had been presented.

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After recovering from yet another harsh reminder that I didnt medal in Beijing (exemplified by myself and a few others omission from the presentation of shiny new boats) I gathered myself and really enjoyed checking out what the new boats had to offer. (please note, this is a joke! Yes it did happen, and I felt a bit left out, but it was a great idea and worked really well with good impact..) Seriously though I do believe it is important to have a distinction between the higher achievers and the lesser achievers, as without it there is less consequence, and it is the consequences that add the flavor to winning and losing. I agree that winning is not quite everything, but without the acknowledgment of the winners, there are no losers, and as many people would agree it is the losing that can quite often teach us so much..

I have to say I REALLY like the new boat. Visually it is very nice – a refined Vanquish 2 may be one way to describe it with a revamped deck with the lines tweaked. Functionally it has less rocker, and a deeper bow with a narrower front where the paddle enters the water. The tail is a little fatter width wise at the end. All these factors will help the boat glide even better.

All in all a boat that I think really suits what I like and I cant wait to get my hands on one – ASAP.

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