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Every year, when May approaches, I know it is time for the Pyrénees Buddies Race.

This is the most awaited event for the kayakers of the area and one of the most important races in Europe. The Brousset river in the Ossau Valley (France) hosted the first stage of the Extreme Kayaking Pyrenees Cup, and congregated many paddlers from both sides of the Pyrenees for two days of good kayaking.

This year the water level was good and the weather cold and rainy like always. I think that I haven’t seen the sun in this Valley in its five editions… The day before I was surfing under blue sky in the beach in San Sebastian but I knew I should take the Drysuit for racing there. And thanks that I took it.

For one more year the competitors level was high again. Eric Deguil (2x AWP World Cup Champion) was the favorite for taking the victory for another year, but Maxime Mitaut, Albert Aixás, Aleix Salvat… were also names that I knew would be hard to beat.

The event started Saturday morning with the sprint race. We had to run a short but very technical section as fast as possible. I knew all the lines well from other years but because of the flooding of the past year the river changed a bit so we had to learn them again.
I did a fast run but wasn’t enough to beat Eric, who took the first place, followed by myself in second and with Aleix Salvat in third.
In the afternoon was time for the team race. This time the course was longer and very physical, so we had to take it easy. I raced together with two friends from Spain, for one of them was the first time in a race and he crashed several times during the run, what made our run quite good fun full of carnage!

On Sunday, after a long night where the frenchies showed they are the party kings, arrived the last race of the weekend, the Long Race. It was a hard section, and the scary rapid in the end of the run showed so many crashes, including myself, ending up in the wrong line and falling in a small stopper from where took me a bit to get out. Despite of this crash and that I was angry with myself, I managed to finish in third place in the long race.
In the overall Eric Deguil took the victory for one more year, I finished second and Maxime Mitaut closed the podium.

It was good fun in the PBR for one more edition, a race that never lets down. And this race is always the beginning of good kayak sessions in the Pyrenees followed by more races and full of water in the rivers.
Thanks to the organizers for making such a good event year after year! Next year will be back there for sure!