Posted by: Thea van der Westhuizen | October 23, 2010


Oscar Chalupsky Clinic for ADOW


Oscar Chalupsky arrives @ ADOW with the season’s first Shamaal

By: Thea van der Westhuizen

Oscar Chalupsky has a reputation to bring winds of change. During his previous visit to Abu Dhabi, clinics were trademarked by a sudden 21knot Northwesterly Onshore – very uncommon for Arabian Peninsula waters. This year, 24 hours before The Big O’s arrival, the first Shamaal of the winter season blew over Abu Dhabi Island with a 17knot WNW Onshore.

Shamaals result from strong Northwest winds that are funneled into the Arabian Gulf by the mountains of Turkey and Iraq to the Northeast and the high plains of Saudi Arabia to the Southwest.   This was the first wind Abu Dhabi saw after 5 months of flat water, temperatures often soaring a high 52° Celsius and humidity reaching 95%. Indeed the UAE’s capital is one of the world’s hottest cities to paddle in.

Most paddlers welcomed the wind of change and Oscar’s beginners and advanced clinics were fully booked. Both clinics offered paddlers from various levels the opportunity to receive individual coaching plus continuous question and answering time. Oscar’s trained eye missed nothing and paddlers needed to respond to “hip, ho, off-you-go and oh no!” –  and so plenty of time was spend on detail in technique and stroke.

Big O, Team Epic Middle East and some ADOW members had a few minutes to chill out very colloquially with morning tea and then charged up for the advanced clinic in the afternoon.

The advanced clinic also started off on the beach. Oscar’s artistic side flourished as he drew pictures of swells and wave directions in the sand. (No drawings of surf needed in Abu Dhabi!). Different approaches to conditions were tackled and discussed and then all paddlers headed out to try and get the remaining bit of wind from the previous day. Oscar paddled into the wind and downwind with each paddler, leaving plenty of scope for each one to address different individual paddling challenges.

Oscar Chalupsky’s philosophy “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for” (Socrates) was evident at the end of the day.  Some individuals remarked after the clinics that they feel an immediate positive difference in their stroke and technique.

What a way to start the paddling season in Abu Dhabi. Now, to wait for the next Shamaal

Straight arm, young man

Thea, moments before Oscar tied a rope around her neck

Michael Gibson in action

Is this what I've signed up for?!

Gav & Allan


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