César Solís wins the International Sella River Descent in Asturias

César Solís, a paddler from Club de Mar Mallorca, secured victory in the Surfski category this Saturday at the International Sella River Descent in Asturias, one of the most esteemed and traditional canoeing events in Spain. Over a thousand paddlers from 18 contries converged, as they do each year, at a single starting point in the narrow riverbed. Their aim was to overcome the challenge of completing  the 20-kilometer course and vie for a favorable position.

It wasn’t easy for César Solís who started from position 565, grouped alongside 33 participants in the Surfski category. A sea kayak equipped with a retractable rudder to prevent damage upon touching the riverbed, the Surfski is a common sight on this river course, which had particularly low water levels this year. ” The start was chaotic; just avoiding damage at that moment is already a success. The first three kilometers are a ‘survival of the fittest’,” explains the athlete, originally from asturias, and possessing extensive experience in this competition.

“In the first turn, I was already thrown into the water. At that moment, it´s crucial to be vigilant so that another canoe doesn´t come at you head-on, potentially knocking you out in the river. However, I managed to quickly get back into the kayak,” explains César Solis.

Another challenging point is the first rapid, where around seven hundred boats jostle to navigate a narrow passage of about four meters in width. “At that point, I decided to portage, taking my boat out of the water and carrying it while running to re-enter the river a few meters ahead,” comments the paddler. Portaging the boat out of the water is an accepted maneuver in the International Sella River Descent in cases like this.

Throughout the course, maneuvering around other boats presents one of the greatest challenges of the Descent.  It´s not uncommon to paddle over other canoes… and other athletes, as César Solís recalls: “Around the Llodio area, I had to stop because there was a girl in the water in front of me.” The race demands both both technical precision and physical stamina; Solis´heart rate never drops below  180 beats per minute, but he acknowledges that “to succeed in a competition with such strong competition, you have to give it your all.”

However, the Club de Mar athlete managed to maintain control over his rivals in the category throughout the race: “At the 3-kilometer mark,  I was in third place and by the 5-kilometer mark, I was already in second. From there, I kept pace with the leader, a Portugese competitor, until roughly halfway through the race when I overtook him. I held onto the lead until the end,” explains César Solis. Ultimately, he was able to celebrate his impressive victory upon crossing the finish line.




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