Running from the beach into the water 50 women and men are jumping on their surfboards and begin to paddle in a hectic fight to get first in the field.
They are part of the second group of the race because of the lange number of participants. The world premiere of the Triathlon des Mers in the bay between Cap Ferrat and Villefranche-Sur-Mer (five kilometers east of Nice) has started. One kilometer of swimming, four kilometers of stand up paddle on surfboards and six kilometers of kayaking has to be done before the medals can be handed over. Thereby another water activity is launched in the bay, La Rade, which - because of the deep waters - has served as a natural harbor of the french fleet during the 19th century but now is a popular destination for a lot of maritime leisure from Mediterranean cruise ships to kayaking, diving, swimming and relaxation on the beach.
Focus on environment
This arrangement, Triathlon des Mers, is focusing on environmental issues concerning sports at sea.
- I'm certain, that in a few years, Villefranche-Sur-Mer will be the “Capital” for the discipline standing paddle, the major of Villefranche-Sur-Mer, Christophe Trojani, said before start.
Back to the surface. The paddlers have now turned around by the harbor terminal (where the swimming competition is going on) and are on their way back to the starting point. From the beach and the promenade it is easy to follow the paddlers.
But, of course, for the audience, part of the entertainment are the moments when some of the competitors lose their balance on their surfing boards and fall into the water.
A drink on the beach
At 1.30 PM when the last discipline which is six kilometers of kayaking, is over and done with, the ceremony of medals takes place. All participants are rewarded. The organizers want to ensure, that the event is performed in a cosy, friends-and-family atmosphere. For example the municipality invites afterwards all the athletes and associates on a drink at the beach and the local kayak club contributes with surfing boards, kayaks and instructors for those among the audience, who want to test our their own skills.
Excellent for diving
Triathlon des Mers is one of several promotion-events in the bay of Villefranche-Sur-Mer throughout the year, where the audience is invited to participate in the fun. Later in september beautiful ships will arrive in the four days Regatta Nice-Villefranche-Sur-Mer.
In general La Rade is a nice place for diving. Every day, boats and tourism offices at the harbor offer tours with exciting underwater experiences.
Transport and prices
Triathlon des Mers is planned to take place every year in september. To participate in the premiere cost 30 euros (online payment), but of course the audience could watch for free.
For events coming up soon, check out the french-english internet page www.Villefrance-Sur-Mer.com.
It takes 10 minutes by train from Nice to Villefranche-Sur-Mer (Direction Ventimille) and 15 minutes by bus. (Lignes d’Azur 81 or 100). One way tickets cost 1,5 euros. Brig along swimwear. The bay of Villefranche-Sur-Mer offers one of the best beaches on the Côte d’Azur.