Unasked questions about The Lake Rocks Festival 2023 and the philosophy of the SUP Alps Trophy

Interview with the Boss of SUP Alps Trophy series – Gerd Weisner

By Damodara for all paddlers.

Hello Gerd! Its my first experience in such an interview and immediately interesting task – to figure out, what people still don’t know about The Lake rocks 2023 and SUP Alps Trophy.

Welcome to the heart of the Alps-Adriatic region, welcome to paddling paradise, welcome to the paddling town (Paddelstadt) of Villach

– What do you think will be the most challenging part on the race?

– The most challenging part, I guess for sure will be the start on the long distance race 12 km. The start will be longer. We’ll go anticlockwise, so not like in the last year. It’s going to be one of the biggest races at least in the Europe, from my data, what we have in participation right now. 

For sure it’ll be super hard to get into top 10 with the athletes that confirmed, I predict will be also getting difficult event to get to the top 20.

Just take some names – Bruno Hasulyo decided to start at Faaker See (Faak Lake) couple days ago, Donato Freens is coming for a long distance, Joep van Bakel and Maximus Sijrier from Netherlands, Filippo Mercurialy is one of the TOP Italians, Paolo Marconi with Susak Molinero, Blu Ewer – the champion from United Kingdom. 

Normen Weber is really fast in this year. I can promise. Peter Weidert, Hermann Husslein, Christian Taucher, Manuel Lauble is coming, you are also. 

We have more than 30 athletes from Hungary, clubs from Poland and Czech Republic.

So you see, you can be proud if you catch the top 20. In total is about 300 athletes and 14 nations. 

Yeah, it sounds like one of the biggest races in 2023.

*updated data  for 12 May 2023 – The number of registered participants is more than 320 athletes from 16 countries. 

– What do you expect from the weather? Will there be a lot of wind?

– I don’t think that there is, usually in this time of the year, there’s not much wind. I would be happy if there is, let’s say sun out and a bit wind, it’s okay. I would not like to see rain is coming, but you never know.

– Something new, as “City Race” will be. What is it?

– The “City Race” is kind of a fun technical race – air cross race in the centre of Villach on the Drau River, where everybody must use 14 ft inflatable boards.  

There is no hesitation for people to have more contact. We’re not, let’s say, hurt each other. There will be a little rule, like in the usual tech race – don’t put your paddle on the competitors’ board.

The “City Race” should give people the opportunity that have never raced before. Cause it’s just a short run so they can do it even if they don’t train a lot. If they’re technically experienced, then they might end up with good results.

And on the other side, the racers can just have start into race, it’s a base, just without pressure, something that is just for fun.

– Can people come with their own 14 ft iSUP boards? 

– Yes, sure, it’s absolutely open. You can come with own one, with 22-inch version, 24-inch version. This is up to you. You can choose whatever you want. 

– What about live broadcast? 

– Live broadcast will be there. We just set out a team of young students with Christian Taucher. It’s a good opportunity to give it a try and we will follow up this on YouTube channel SUP Alps Trophy, so even if you’re not live, you can look at it later on a channel. We hope to have kind of a good quality, choosing the right equipment and choosing two channels. The lake is not too big, I think that we will have, let’s say, no, not too many technical issues.

–  On my point of view – Live broadcast is one of the most important parts of the all race process, cause, we need to reach more people to our sport, show them how beautiful it is, for example, what a spectacular technical race we are running and to inspire them to come and participate. 

– Yes, you’re absolutely right, but not only a tech race, also a long distance. We don’t want to film only TOP 5 in the front, we want to film everybody in the race. So with the drones, on the small lake, with the circular of four kilometres, we should be able to fly with the and peak about everybody. We can switch pictures, hopefully. We’ll have Mathieu Astier – Total SUP, Rudy van Haven and local guy from radio Antenne Kärnten.

– I know that registration is free for juniors (Under 16). Is it right?

– Yes, this is just to build the next generation. It’s quite important for me to keep the families together. The cost nowadays is high, so they should not pay for their kids to have some action with them.

We need the fees to fund the part of the organization, but the juniors are more important.

– What is the plan for Lake Rocks for the next years?

– From my side, we want to have the mix of quality. It would still be like a race managed clear for the SUP Alps Trophy Family, for all those people who are, let’s say amateur people who love the sport and pray for it. Those guys, who wants to do fun races who want to live into SUP racing.

And we also want to mix it up with professional racers, so that people can, especially in this one race, compare themselves to the best SUP athletes in the world and also where everybody can give respect.

Most people are not used to paddle in the ocean, but everybody can paddle on the lake, that is not a problem. This is our advantage.

In terms of quantity, I think it won’t be a problem to have 200 racers on the course, maybe 350 for that kind, this is a big number of paddlers for the Central European race.

– Do you want to bring to Faaker See (Faak Lake) some official races, like maybe in the future European SUP Championships or World SUP Championships? 

– We have to be true to ourselves and first we have to prove if the lake is big enough, if the surrounding can handle it. When you look at the venue of World Championships, it’s been not this family characteristic anymore and this is exactly I really like, that is the SUP Alps Trophy.

Also, let’s say a nice party here in the evening, it’s not only just concentrated on the race. It’s a well-balanced mix of both. And that’s what’s nice, what you are looking for in life, at least me. 

Faaker See (Faak Lake)

– I see philosophy of the SUP Alps Trophy…

– I think it’s the good vibe – the weather is nice, most of the racers, that take part, have their mobile homes and they, they can all just stay together in the camping Gruber, with all the concert that is around, restaurant.

Thank you for your time, Gerd. It has been great to learn more about the upcoming Lake Rocks Festival 2023 and the philosophy behind the SUP Alps Trophy. See you soon on Faak Lake!

Two legends: Gerd Weisner and Rudy van Haven

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