2017 Champion Nikos Sygrios returned to the top step of the podium at the 9th annual Corinth Crossing on the 2020 Naish Javelin.
The 530 SUPers of the 9th Corinth Canal Crossing felt the awe of how small they were in front of the canal when they stood between its 80 m massive walls. There, the memory of people digging by hand this extraordinary project linked the history with the present and everyone admired the view with a new perspective.
Who had thought that this event, when it started back in 2011 with only 22 participants, would have been one of the biggest international events in Greece and second biggest in Europe. Participants from all over Greece and also many countries like U.K., Austria, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Romania, Albania, Malta and Sweden came to paddle the Canal’s 6.3 km in a straight line. That is why this race is known as “The world’s straightest SUP race”.
Sunday morning the organisers were still discussing within the control tower about the flow of the current inside the canal. Everything is dependent by the current flow inside the canal, but the three days before the race, it was flowing stable from Isthmia to Posidonia, something unusual for the time. That was the big mystery that organisers had to solve, as no one knew the time of the next change of current. The thought of change during the race was something that would create big problems to amateurs or younger paddlers. Despite the forecast from the control tower, the final decision was taken, and Isthmia was set as the starting point. After the decision was made, paddlers began to enter the water and get ready at the starting line.
“Everything seemed simple until I saw the number of paddlers,” George Kontarinis said. “I was watching people entering the water from the beach nearby, but when I took my place in front for the start, I was scared by the number of 530 participants, wondering- oh my God how many?”
In the back, most of them were sitting on their board chatting, taking pictures, laughing and waiting for the horn to blow. The front row, in contrast, was quiet, with faces and eyes focused in front and hands holding the paddles tight, vying for the podium in Greece’s biggest SUP race.
After the final adjustments in alignment, the President of Canal’s Administration, Mr Pantelides, blew the horn for a start.
There are no words that can describe the moment. A large number of paddlers seemed like a “blue tsunami” running towards the canal’s entrance. Only from a drone could anyone get the whole picture!
At the start, Naish’s Nikos Syrigos, winner of the race in 2017, with a powerful sprint on his Naish Javelin, managed to lead the race early, followed by Phaedon Doukas and Alexandro Prapa. Near the 1 km mark, Syrigos made a second push and left the field behind him to the finish line.
For the Women, the winner of the last three consecutive races of Corinth Crossing, Naish’s Konstantina Kontarini, with a strategic move on Linda Schwaiger, managed to take the lead and claim her fourth event win. Naish’s Dori Bathori and Dimitra Tsoni were the next two finishers to round out the podium.
The most beautiful moments were the smiling faces of everyone finishing this unique race. The satisfaction for completing the 6.3 km was imprinted on them. Applauses from the crowd, especially on kids finishing gave the spirit and the attitude that this event is very different, embracing the values of sportsmanship, history, culture and joy.
While the paddlers began to enjoy the post-race party, the organising committee was working for the results of the 9th Corinth Canal Crossing. Trying to get them as soon as possible and having no mistakes was a hard task. However, Mr Nikolaides, head officer for the results, managed to have the results ready 30 minutes earlier than it was scheduled.
The top three finishers in each category, as well as the youngest (7 y.o) and oldest (79 y.o) participants, were awarded in front of the cheering crowd, by the official guests that honoured the event. The Mayor of Corinth, Mr Gionis, Police Commissioner, Mr Bravos, Coast Guard Commissioner, Mr Polyzoides and ambassadors from the Corinth Canal Administration, Mr Pantelides and Mrs Sakisli, were some of them, showing that the authorities are supporting great events that promote the region of Corinth.
Organisers would like to thank everyone that participated for following the instructions given and cooperating perfectly with the committee. Having their best attitude made this event the most memorable one yet!
Winners of the 9th Corinth Canal SUP Crossing:
14’0″ Men: 1st Nikos Sirigos (Naish) | 2nd Nikos Krikelis | 3rd Alex Prapas
14’0″ Master Men: 1st Gannis Tountas | 2nd Giannis Avramidis | 3rd Giannis Topsachalidis
14’0″ Women: 1st Konstantina Kontarini (Naish) | 2nd Dori Bathori | 3rd Dimitra Tsoni (Naish)
14’0″ Master Men: 1st Linda Schwaiger | 2nd Katia Vlisidi | 3rd Christina Bisdra
14’0″ Young Men: 1st Dimitris Nikolaidis | 2nd Dimitris Doukas | 3rd Petros Kontarinis
12’6″ Men: 1st Dimitris Soukoulis | 2nd Marinos Pylarinos | 3rd Spiros Tzilios
12’6″ Master Men: 1st Fanis Polychronopoulos | 2nd Stavros Parastratidis | 3rd Grigoris Vomvas
12’6″ Women: 1st Giota Tsianeli | 2nd Evanthia Bellou | 3rd Kyveli Abela
12’6″ Master Men: 1st Peny Tsaoutou | 2nd Anette Schneider | 3rd Efi Bobota
12’6″ Young Men: 1st Nikos Malekakis | 2nd Sylvestros Vasileiou | 3rd Spyros Gatos
12’6″ Νεανίδων: 1st Elina Nikolaidi | 2nd Georgia Vasiliou | 3rd Melita Gazika
SURF Men: 1st Argiris Klotsonis | 2nd Nikos Apostolakis | 3rd Charis Sardis
SURF Master Men: 1st Cudd Steve | 2nd Giannos Zografos | 3rd Stefanos Ganos
FUN Women: 1st Inga Konti | 2nd Christina Pagoulaki | 3rd Eleni Vai
FUN Master Women: 1st Viky Koloka | 2nd Maria Papaleksi | 3rd Karen Gliki
12’6″ Boys: 1st Andreas Voulgaris | 2nd Nikos Farsaris | 3rd Moritz Schleicher
12’6″ Girls: 1st Emma Schleicher | 2nd Klio Prasinaki | 3rd Zabela Maroulaki
Team: 1st Rennie/Swinsco | 2nd Kalatzaki/Tzanakis/Malekakis/Malekaki/Fytraki | 3rd Gerokostas/Gioliler/Elenis/Monastirioti/Mamai