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Recipe for Monaco’s coolest charity challenge ever

Recipe for Monaco’s coolest charity challenge ever

By Nancy Heslin - May 30, 2017

To make the coolest charity challenge, combine a cause, like “drowning claims a life every 85 seconds”, with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation that was set up in 2012 to address “one of the greatest silent killers on our planet” by teaching children essential water safety skills and how to swim.

Add some worldwide awareness to the cause with one crazy sport event, the Riviera Water Bike Challenge on June 4. The 21-km relay race will involve ten teams of five, who will pedal on Schiller S1 water bikes, what Luxury Travel refers to as “This Bizarre New Watersport Is Taking Over the World”. The idea comes courtesy of Gareth Wittstock, Princess Charlene’s brother, and the choice of a relay is the embodiment of teamwork and team spirit.

Throw into the mix a desirable destination where the event will be held: Mediterranean Sea. The relay will start at Plage Nikaia in Nice and wind along the coast until it finishes at the Monaco Yacht Club.

Photo: Eric Mathon/Palais Princier
Photo: Eric Mathon/Palais Princier
Photo: Eric Mathon/Palais Princier
Photo: Eric Mathon/Palais Princier

Spice it up with 20 major sports celebrities, say F1 drivers, rugby giants and Olympians – with two stars assigned to each of the ten teams – and have as many as possible be on hand for the entertaining team draw press junket at the Monaco Yacht Club, where they will take the shiny Schiller S1 for a test drive.

  • Paula Radcliffe, marathon world record holder
  • Simon Shaw and Dan Luger, both rugby world champions with England
  • Esteban Lozada, former Captain of RC Toulon rugby team and Argentinian international
  • Luciano Orquera, former Italian international rugby player
  • Mika Häkkinen, F1 World Champion
  • David Coulthard, former Formula 1 driver
  • Kevin Crovetto, Olympian gymnast
  • Pierre Frolla, four-time world record holder in free diving and ambassador for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation

Toss in a few choice team names – like COCC, Slammers and Monaco Police – for attention-grabbing Riviera Water Bike Challenge headlines.


Let set until June 3 when the teams will come together for the first time at the Monaco Yacht Club. Over a barbecue meal and beverages, they’ll discuss tactics for following day’s race, remembering the rules: one sports celebrity must start the race, and the other finish. The three additional team members, who will be following the water bike in an inflatable boat, can pedal as much or as little as they wish.

Mix all these together, along with a fundraising Gala that was held in March 24 at the Monaco Yacht Club, and you have a recipe for success.

The June 4 Riviera Water Bike Challenge will help finance the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation’s project in Burkina Faso. In partnership with the Monaco and Burkinabe Red Cross, they will transform the Monegasque Pavilion from the Milan World Expo 2015 into a centre to train lifeguards and swim instructors, as well as operate as a first aid and CPR unit, which will focus on countries in the West African region.

Article first published May 15, 2017.



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