Hooray we had the first SUP race in who knows how long. We already have the results online and so we thought why not do a short interview with Christian Taucher from the ASF (Austrian SUP Federation) to round off the Legend of Ox SUP Race.
Aloha Christian, thank you very much for your time. The SUP community was very happy to finally race again. Tell us briefly how the atmosphere was at the Wolfgangsee?
Hello Mike, hello Stand Up Paddle World!
The Legend of Ox in St. Gilgen at the Wolfgangsee, has been one of the SUP event highlights in Europe for years and the organization team, around mayor Otto Kloiber and the event professionals Rupert Hödlmoser, Thomas Auer and Valentin Hödlmoser, have managed to carry out sensational races with supporting program also this year.
The atmosphere was excellent despite, the for this time of year extremely untypical really cold and bad weather!
We all athletes were incredibly happy to participate in a race again and to meet other paddlers with whom you otherwise only had contact via social media.
It was a bit like a big family reunion after a long time. It was wonderful!
Let’s talk briefly about the performance of the paddlers: Could you tell that people were able to use the lockdown for training? Was the performance level like it was before the pandemic?
Oh yes, you could see that very well. The athletes used the time of the lockdowns in Europe very well to train. In most countries in Europe stand up paddling was allowed during all the lockdowns, people had less work, less social obligations and more time for sports and nutrition
The performance level has risen sharply, the performance density has become much higher, the gaps smaller. Especially the athletes in the midfield have come closer to the top. Only 2min. distance between place 30 and place 15 shows already what has happened on the 11.2Km of the long distance race!
How have you personally prepared for the race and kept fit over the last few months?
Personally, I was able to train really well last year and I spent more time on the water than ever before. My focus was clearly on basic endurance which was and still is a little bit the weak point of my athletic performance.
Do you take a structured approach to preparation with training planning and analysis or do you just try to spend as much time on the water as possible?
I studied sports science and have been coaching athletes from various sports for many years. Last year I joined forces with Philipp Reiner, who runs Personal Peak, a large coaching company specializing in triathletes and endurance athletes. This year, Dr. Sunsanne Eder-Meyer, another highly qualified coach, joined us. Together we coach Stand Up Paddle athletes under the name SUP.Training which is also the homepage domain. Of course we also make a structured training plan for ourselves. Especially amateur athletes like us benefit a lot from a structured training week, because you can achieve more performance with less time.
Tell us briefly how the Long Distance race was from your point of view you were just 30 seconds behind the winner Ole Schwarz and 8 seconds behind Peter Weidert. After that the gap was over a minute to the 4th place. How did you 3 fight for the victory?
The start of the race was very fast until the first buoy after 700m… we paddled the first kilometer in 5:22min including the first buoy turn.
Nevertheless, there were a good 10 paddlers. First at the buoy was the Czech champion Ondrej Petrak, I was in 4th position.
After about 1.5km a boat with photographers crossed in front of us. This caused quite a bit of chaos. Everyone sprinted to surf the boat waves. Ole Schwarz was the only one to catch them and surfed 50m ahead, Peter Weidert with his incredible sprinting strength also opened a small gap on Ondrej Petrak and me. Behind us a small gap opened up, which we were able to increase.
I felt good and wanted to close the gap to Peter Weidert, which I did in lap 2. Ondrej Petrak could not quite keep up the pace and had to let go. He was later even overtaken by the onrushing “Dark Horse” Manuel Lauble.
Peter Weidert and I then took turns in the lead work to catch up with Ole Schwarz. We came quite close to him from time to time. But Ole controlled the race very well and never let us get too close to him.
In the end, Peter Weidert and I were pretty exhausted. Peter didn’t give me a chance in the finishing sprint and deserved 2nd place. It is incredible how strong he is despite his much older age! This deserves great respect and also shows nicely how long you can still remain competitive in the SUP sport!
You are not only an active athlete, but also president of the ASF. How do you see the future of SUP events in 2021 nationally and internationally?
2021 will still be a difficult season due to the different restrictions and regulations in the various regions of the world.
As in many other areas of the economy, the crisis shows which event organizers are really good. They find solutions and ways to hold events at a high level.
Other events, which were already on the brink without Covid19, will disappear from the race calendars. Unfortunately, there are certainly also cases of hardship in particularly hard-hit regions of the world that work great, but still have no chance to organize a good event this season. But these events will come back in 2022 and be successful!
Nationally, we have it a bit easier than some other nations because we have a very lean federation structure with top managers like Rudy Heriszt, reliable organizers and a very good cooperation with ISA and ICF and their Austrian representatives.
The ASF SUP Tour even took place last season with several tour stops and will be a great success again this season.
Thank you Christian for everything and still much success, thank you for the good cooperation.