Lelovits ICF:n maailmanmestaruuskisoihin

Kansainvälinen SUP-kisakalenteri on täynnä mielenkiintoisia tapahtumia ympäri vuoden. Suomen maajoukkue on osallistunut ISA:n MM-kisoihin Tanskassa 2017 ja ICF:n MM-kisoihin Puolassa 2022. Useampikin on käynyt melomassa Hollannin legendaarisella yli 200 km mittaisella 11-city tourilla. Mutta muuten suomalaisia on nähty harvakseltaan kansainvälisillä kisavesillä. Poikkeuksen tähän tekee yksi henkilö: Tomas Lelovits on kansainvälisten kisojen konkari sekä arvokisoista että Euro Tourilta. Tomas valmistautuu parhaillaan kauden pääkisoihinsa, Thaimaassa 15.-19. marraskuuta pidettäviin ICF:n maailmanmestaruuskisoihin. Moninkertainen suomenmestari edustaa kansainvälisissä arvokisoissa synnyinmaataan Slovakiaa. Me kysyimme, mitä Tomasille kuuluu kisojen alla, miten kisavuosi ja valmistautuminen ovat sujuneet ja mitä vinkkejä hänellä on kansainvälisiin kisoihin osallistumiseen.

Kuva: Ingrid Lelovits

How did you become a SUP athlete?

I am not really sure. It just simply grew on me as I am a competitive person. My first race was in Sieravuori without even having my own board. I rented one from Jari Laakso and finished my first race dead last. I remember trying to keep up with Pasi Rahikka in the back of the field, but it was no chance for me. Then later on I bought my first race board and said to myself: “Now you spend all this money on your board so you better keep paddling”. And it just took off from there and I never stopped. I think I am just addicted to it now.

What does your typical training week look like?

It very much depends on the time of the year as there is some variation. But let’s say during the week most of the time doing different kinds of interval training. Then during the weekend I still continue with some intervals but I mix in 1 longer distance paddle. I am trying to practice all different kinds of scenarios and therefore doing various lengths of intervals. I am also keen to paddle in any conditions that are out there and stay relatively close to boat routes to be comfortable in all conditions.

When and why did you start attending SUP races abroad?

Uff, I don’t really remember when it was as it was really a long time ago. Again, it somehow started in Sieravuori, when Jari Laakso with Waterman league brough up top international athletes to race in Finland. I liked the format and searched where else I could race while still manageable with the travel arrangements. And the first one abroad was a Sharbeutz World Cup race in Germany. My goal was simply to just race and experience more. Different races abroad bring different paddlers and different conditions. It is always nice to mix it up a bit and challenge yourselves.

What is your favourite race location?

I really like the locations that are challenging me. I like to participate in Eurotour races as those are the easiest ones to manage logistically. One of my most favorites was in San Sebastian, Spain that provided some epic conditions. We didn’t have a race there for a long time, but that place brings some great memories. But I also like races in Santa Pola, Spain, Scharbeutz, Garmany and Namur, Belgium. This year I did also Skreastrand in Sweden and it had a really nice and friendly atmosphere.

What race or event would you recommend for a Finnish international race first-timer?

I would say any of them just pick one that is in an interesting location and go. Most of the time you can rent some board over there so you do not have to worry too much about the transport hassle. Make a trip for a few days so you can also have some more experience of the area and you will have a great active trip. Skreastrand in Sweden is easily accessible by car and it is similar with north of Germany. If it is your first one and you do not want to have very challenging conditions, then the races in Germany or Namur are good options as they are flat water races. But really, just pick one you like and go.

What practical tips would you give to anyone who’s considering to race abroad?

I think the best way to start is to attend some local race even with a rental board. Experience the vibe and talk to other racers for advice. All racers in Finland will happily try to help you and give you as much information as you can absorb. Get yourself a board that you will feel comfortable with and keep paddling. Set up some smaller and realistic goals so you can challenge yourself and keep the motivation up. Don’t be picky in conditions, you will learn to like them all. And be careful, you might get addicted like me. 😊

How has your racing year been so far?

This year was a bit up and down for me. Maybe a little more than usual. There were races where I was struggling a lot and couldn’t find my rhythm and there were other ones where I was going strong. But this is part of the racing and I am always looking into the next one. 

In which disciplines will you race in Thailand?

I will do all three disciplines. Sprint, Technical and Long distance.

How have your race preparations gone and what are your expectations for the event?

I think it has been going quite well. This year the Championships are quite late in the year, which brings challenges to us living in cold climate. It is hard to train in this cold weather we have here, extra clothes give you more resistance and body is not so relaxed in low temperatures. On the other side the weather in Thailand will be quite hot and humid, so totally different. Therefore, it is a bit unknown for me to understand where my form really is although I have done all my best to prepare. But I will push to do my best and my goal is to stay in all the heats so I can race as much as possible.

What gear are you planning to use and how will you handle logistics?

For the competition, I will have a board from Sunova. It will be the same board as I have raced here in Finland during the Finnish Championships. So Sunova Flatwater Faast Pro 14×21’.

Tsemppiä kisoihin Tomas!

ICF-kisalähetykset ovat katsottavissa verkon kautta suorana.