SN: How have things been going since last time we talked?
OC: It is fantastic working with Nelo. The owner is my training partner and is paddling with me every day---He has lost 15kg so far!!!. I love that he is taking to surfski paddling as well. Andre, the CEO, is also very passionate about surfski paddling which helps. It makes it very easy for the success of the Nelo Surfski Brand.
SN: You didn't get the result you were looking for at Molokai this year, aside from the unfavorable conditions, how did the race play out for you?
OC: I made a few errors because I think I was a little too confident. I should have stayed with the pack but they went so far North and I didn’t think that was correct. I was with Greg Barton and Richard Van Wilderman and we were going very well for about 20 km in totally flat conditions; it was like paddling on a lake. I started having a small problem with my stomach when I tried to paddle harder. About 10km later my ears started feeling like I was flying in an aeroplane. It never cleared till the end. It actually remained for awhile after the race. Very strange as it has never happened to me before. I also got caught on the reef off China wall. I will be back
SN: What's next?
OC: I race and have clinics in Japan this weekend. Then I’ll race in Copenhagen the following weekend, then Perniche, Portugal and afterwards---Mauritius.
I have other races and clinics around the world as well. We at Nelo will focus on the European market, but will also do a few clinics and races in Hong Kong and Australia.
SN: Nelo recently unveiled the newly redesigned surfskis created in partnership with you. The new designs have retained the shorter length of original models in comparison with most contemporary elite boats. Are there any specific performance gains or losses with the shorter length?
OC: I came to Nelo with an open mind and did some testing with the shorter surfski and was very happy. The more I paddle the shorter boats the happier I get. You lose nothing in performance in the flat or the rough conditions. In fact, I think it is better in both. Also, when you consider transporting and carrying, it’s a real win.
SN: The foot plate features an adjustable angle, what is the benefit of having the ability to offset the position?
OC: Nelo utilize adjustability and options in their sprint boats, so we wanted to have the same in our surfskis. So like the custom colours, we give you the option to customise your angle.
SN: What advantage would the carbon foot strap provide over a soft strap?
OC: You can have either but I prefer the solid strap as it doesn’t flop down so your Garmin and Motionize monitors stay in position and when you open and close your bailer you don’t have to worry about the foot strap falling all the time.
SN: Can you describe the bucket?
OC: When I design a surfski the first thing I do is make sure to have a very comfortable bucket that can fit most people around the world. It must be easy to remount and you must be able to drive your legs without bottoming out too soon. It also needs to be snug so it doesn’t hold too much water.
SN: The new Nelo's are designed to use wave deflectors. Can you discuss your decision to include these in the design process?
OC: Yes all our boats are made to have a wave deflector. With the wave deflector you can have a lower volume boat and achieve the same dryness in the cockpit area.
SN: Some surfskis are beginning to show up with reverse bows. At the same time, Nelo has debuted reverse bows on their sprint boats, but not the surfski. Why did you opt to keep the traditional bows over the reverse?
OC: The Cinco was the first reverse bow but it isn’t about the bow it is all about the hull. We will do some experiments with that concept at a later stage.
SN: Thanks and best of luck to you!