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Friday, 22 September 2017

Croatian Swimmer Dina Levačić Completes Triple Crown Swim &...Queens Of The Stone Age Confirm Headlining Zagreb INmusic Festival

I wasn't planning on doing another post for a while, but here's some current events stuff that I decided to briefly mention. The first part is because my last addition was mainly concerning an article about alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, (you can read that HERE, although I touch upon the Croatian skiing scene/history also), so I should add something a little more Croatian themed this time. (I also by chance came across an interesting website that revolves around extremer sports/outdoor things going on in Croatia: According to some of the articles she already did some marathon swimming in Croatia beforehand as humanitarian events, from the island of Omiš to Split and from Split up the coast to the town of Trogir. It's pretty well self-explanatory and you can just hit the links to find out more, cool to see the Croatian swimmer now included into a world elite swimmers club.

(While on the topic of swimming, I should briefly mention Goran Čolak who I haven't posted about before but did read a number of news stories about on the internet. Definitely another great recognition and series of accomplishments. For those unfamiliar, Goran is a Croatian Freediver who over the last few years has set a bunch of Official Guiness World records and won a quite a number of World Championships medals in his specialty disciplines with some really impressive feats, a real life Aquaman or Man from Atlantis basically. You can find out much more HERE)

And as for the 2nd part it's good news too, I already touched upon the band "Queens of the Stone Age" previously, sort of, but that was regarding mainly the other associated band "Eagles of Death Metal" (you can read that one HERE). I don't think I have to explain who EDM are, all I can say about that is that things sure haven't gotten any better in that department. But I guess the various politicians know exactly what they're doing which is why nothing of the sort has happened ever again since, they're pretty much smarter than the normal everyday non-politician folks so there's no point in complaining about anything, they know exactly what they're doing basically. I can also assure there will be no similar things happening this time either with the QOTSA concert just like at the EDM Zagreb concert, it should go off without a hitch and be a fun time and entertaining concert, the band has already played Zagreb previously in 2014.

Croatian Swimmer Dina Levacic Swims Across English Channel Completing Triple Crown Marathon Series 

Dina Levačić pictured after her Catalina Channel swim from Catalina Island to Los Angeles. Because of the strong current conditions, the grueling overnight swim stretched out from 34km to 45 km and 12 hours.(Photo: Facebook)

Sources: (+video)

More images/info:čić

21-year-old Croatian swimmer Dina Levačić has completed the grueling swim across the English Channel on Sunday and with it completing the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

Levacic completed the English Channel swim between France and England in 11 hours and 42 minutes on Sunday, earning herself a place in the Croatian record books as the first female from Croatia to achieve the feat. Because of the strong current, the 33 km swim turned into a 45 km swim.

Because of strong currents, the 34 km swim turned into a 45 km swim for Dina.

“I am happy and proud that I have achieved my dream. Conditions were extremely difficult because of the strong current but I never thought of giving up even though it stretched out to 45 km and 12 hours,” Dina said after the history-making swim.

Dina Levačić (Photo: Private Archive/

Legendary marathon swimmer Veljko Rogosic was the first male from Croatia to swim the English Channel

Only around 600 female swimmers in the world have completed the English Channel crossing.

Swimming across La Manche between France and England.

It was the Split-raised Zagreb student’s third marathon swim in the last 90 days in her Triple Crown attempt.

The Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming is a marathon swimming challenge consisting of three historically important swims.

Dina Levacic (Photo: Facebook)

First, on 25 June 2017, Dina completed the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, a 48.5 km circumnavigation of Manhattan Island, New York City. She was the first Croatian to ever complete that swim and did it in a time of 7:33:50.

Dina during the 20 Bridges Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. (Photo: Facebook)

Next up in the Triple Crown was the Catalina Channel, 32.5 km between Catalina Island and the California mainland. Fewer than 400 people have accomplished it since 1927 and Dina swam it in a time of 9:47: 53.

And now today she has completed the last of the Triple Crown swims inside 90 days.

Only 143 people have done the Triple Crown, but only five of those have done it within 90 days. Dina now joins the club.

 Dina thus joins a very small elite club of swimmers in the world. (Photo: Facebook)

After arriving back in Croatia at Split Airport. (see related post about current new Split Airport terminal work going on and sheduled for an early 2019 opening HERE)

Interview, afterthoughts and future plans after arriving back in Split


Behind the scenes swimming footage, afterthoughts by her proud parents and arrival back in Croatia.


Related: swedish-otillo-swimrun-weekend-hvar








Queens of the Stone Age to Headline Next Summer's INmusic Festival in Zagreb

American band Queens of the Stone Age are the first headliners announced for the 13th edition of Croatia’s largest music festival – INmusic festival.

Following the masterful „…Like Clockwork“ Josh Homme and the gang are back with a brand new groove on „Villains“ and ready to bring the swagger back to Zagreb, INmusic revealed.

Queens of the Stone Age are returning to Zagreb after their headline show in June of 2014 and will bring the Californian desert grooves and stoner riffs to INmusic #13 as the first confirmed headliner of the upcoming festival edition.

Queens of the Stone Age formed in 1996 and includes founder Josh Homme, alongside longtime members Troy Van Leeuwen, Michael Shuman, Dean Fertita and recent addition Jon Theodore.

The band adopted the name Queens of the Stone Age in 1997 and released a praised self-titled debut album in 1998. Their first tour followed, with the band consisting almost exclusively of ex-Kyuss members and with the addition of Dave Catching on guitar. The follow-up album ‘Rated R’ was released in 2000 and in 2002 ‘Songs for the Deaf’ would cement the bands status of stoner heavyweights and one of the best alternative rock bands around.

Queens of the Stone Age during their Zagreb concert in 2014 (with opening act being the local band Punčke). Photogallery:

The long-awaited seventh studio album by the great Queens of the Stone Age, ‘Villains’ dropped on August 25th 2017 delivering a new, groovier and yet even more personal sound, once more establishing QOTSA as one of the few bands that can bring the noise and the swagger all at the same time.

The twenty year long fruitful career of QOTSA has featured some of the most coveted collaborators and rock heavyweights around – from Dave Grohl, Mark Lanegan, Alex Turner to Elton John, among others. The creative force behind QOTSA, Josh Homme has contributed and set into motion a slew of impressive side projects, from the Desert Sessions to the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, and collaborated with the likes of Iggy Pop, PJ Harvey, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Primal Scream, and many others.

INmusic #13 will take place at the Isle of Youth in Zagreb’s Lake Jarun from June 25th to the 27th, 2018. Festival tickets are available online via the official festival website.

Queens of the Stone Age - The Way You Used To Do (Behind the Scenes)




And as a bonus, here's a couple of interesting related pics from this past August, since on the topic of musicians. Lorde pictured with her mother and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović at a Government House lunch in Auckland. The Croatian President was on a state visit to Australia and New Zealand recently and also met the Croatian community with a number of high-profile New Zealanders of Croatian descent being present (aka Kiwi-Croats) including none other than Lorde herself showing up.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Why The Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Loves Croatia — and Colorado

Firstly, this New York Times article that just came out the other day was already titled that way, and I totally came across it by chance and immediately thought I should put it here, (really, I was just Googling around for information about skis and ski touques and there it was, and skiing season isn't that far off either so perfect timing) and even though she's not a Croatian skier it's still pretty cool and good to know for a few reasons. After all, she is a 2-time winner of the annual Snow Queen Trophy World Cup alpine ski races that take place at Zagreb, is the current World Cup overall and slalom champion and has skied at many locations on the World Cup ski circuit, so she should know what she's talking about. (if the reader requires a more Croatia related topic, the Karlovački Dani Piva/Karlovac Beer Days just finished up recently, see karlovac-dani-piva-days-of-beer post and hit the links there for more about that)

Also, her personal thoughts, experiences and the article title is just a very good promotion of the sport around the world in general, so speaking as a skier that gets a 2 thumbs up from me. Because dang, it doesn't say "Mikaela Shiffrin Thinks Croatia Is "OK"..or "Not Too Crappy But They Wear Wierd Clothes "..or "Is Alright, But Should Have Better Beers, Pastries & Sausage Toppings" or something like that, heck no. It's just a few brief mentions like this in a major newspaper that does wonders in bringing awareness to very important world topics like this, it opens up a whole new can of worms that I get to elaborate on for the benefit of the reader. (it's always and at all times strictly for the readership). I'm not going to get into how long I've skied, where I've skied, what skis or poles or helmets I think are the best or even which ski hills have the best martinis or steaks, the main point is I like the sport and the whole skiing tradition and culture thing, it's like surfing in the winter in a way.

Like I said before, it should simultaneously also help bring awareness to the upgrades, renovations and additions that are currently going on and being envisioned for the whole Medvenica Mountain Sljeme Ski Resort, which will help the future of the annual FIS Alpine World Cup Snow Queen and King Trophy slalom races to remain as one of the most popular and important on the FIS World Cup Skiing circuit calendar in Central Europe, and so eventually become an even better world class event for everyone, including even those watching at home on television. The Croatian ski team is in a rebuilding stage with new skiers, (more info about the current lineup at, but what's important here is keeping the ski culture and tradition alive. Even just the few mentions help bring awareness to the fact that there's been a skiing culture in Croatia and around Zagreb long before the FIS World Cup Snow Queen slalom races started up in 2005. It even brings awareness to the very existence of the Winter Olympics in a way, (and what kind of a world would it be without the Winter Olympics and skiing I ask the reader? not a better one that's for sure, probably fucked up much worse and absurd), so in the process in effect bringing the holy skiing bliss and joy of the ski gods to people around the world basically, which is way better and more interesting than lots of the crap and infotainment in the news these days. Yep, the world quite simply needs more ski hills and ski resorts/skiers because it's apparent that skiing is the answer to many of the world's problems and crapola woes, and that's the truth.

(I guess it all comes down to that age old question and enigmatic riddle that has perturbed and perplexed many great minds, thinkers and philosophers for thousands of years since time immemorial, namely..."Skiing, What is it? Friend or foe?" (you know, that whole velocity/distance/angle in relation to the earth's circumference/rotational speed thing vis a vis if you didn't ski on the mountain would it exist? (aka the skiing crocodile dilemma, "I ski therefore I am" etc), as well as the very real possibility for the existence of the previously thought mythical legend of the aerodynamically ideal perfect ski position mentioned in ancient chronicles where the skis actually float slightly above and don't even touch the snow going down the hill. Because it's all about just you and the mountain and the elements and there is no going back, time-outs or complaining to any ref, either the mountain and snow becomes a part of you and vice versa or it will simply crush and annihilate you whenever it feels like it, just like a pointless foreign puny skiing mammal insect who wandered onto it's snowcapped territory, but the rewards and blessings from the ski gods looking down from above for those who do accomplish the feat are immortality, real immortality just like those ancient ski heroes of renown from times long past who's names still echo across the mountaintops eternally, the Winter solstice belongs to such as these. Well, that just about sums it up and I think the answer is self-evident, that skiing is a mantra for the ages, ageless, a philosophy (in most cases even a religion, which it is) and a way of life that contributes to civilization, progress and a better future, that's the way I see it)

(and you know what else? interestingly it's almost like the statistics situation in my croatians-world-lists-drinking post, eerily similar actually. Like when's the last time you heard in the news about a skier or former skier being involved in robberies, assaults, throwing acid in faces, various voilences, muggings and especially homicides and murders? exactly, it's pretty darn rare and hardly ever in the news. Heck I can't even remember the last time I heard about some skier involved with those things, at some ski race, after ski-party or even while wearing any ski related fashion/attire..."...And tonight's top story, a stabbing and shooting in the west end after a ski-party, the suspect is a former member of the local ski club and was described as wearing ski attire items before running into an alley and the local mall ...etc", (it sounds shocking but it's true and good to know). Actually when you think about it, long before the invention of podiums or carbon composite graphite ski poles, the first skiers are just like a Hermóðr, Prometheus or Mercury, taking from the gods the knowledge of the enigmatic secret skiing ways and then skiing down the mountain themselves, (the very fist slaloms and downhills), and they brought the gifts of the skiing magics to the mortals far below, that pretty well sums it up.

Anyway, this article may even encourage more young kids in taking up the sport and culture, or the other related skiing disciplines like Cross-Country Skiing, Nordic Skiing or even Freestyle/Snowboarding etc, in Croatia or anywhere actually, (because not everyone can be a ball kicker or a ball bouncer, ball thrower, drop balls, sell eight-balls or do speedballs unfortunately, maybe in a perfect world somewhere in some other universe, so perhaps the ancient sport of skiing is the answer). Heck, it wouldn't even bother me in the slightest if she was to win her 3rd Snow Queen Trophy this January, because her few kind words and skiing insight have done wonders for the sport of skiing, for a whole new generation of skiers in Croatia and all around the world...and beyond. Well that's about it, for more information and pics of the Zagreb Christmas Holiday Markets that she mentions in the article see post zagreb-advent-festivities-are-underway and for more information about the Medvenica Mountain Sljeme Ski Resort upgrades in the works see free-skiing-at-sljeme-begins.

(And for those who are totally unfamiliar with this topic here's some supplementary tidbits...the FIS Snow Queen (Croatian: Snježna Kraljica) trophy is a World Cup alpine ski race in Croatia. The men's and women's slalom races take place on the Crveni Spust (Red Slope) Medvednica mountaintop at the Sljeme-Medvenica Ski Resort just north of Zagreb, every year in early January. The women's Snow Queen alpine race debuted in 2005 and the men's event was added three years later in 2008, with the winner being crowned the Snow King. Besides the city events in Moscow and Munich, it is the only World Cup event held in the vicinity of a large metropolitan area.

Its current prize fund of €120,000 is one of the largest prize funds on the World Cup circuit and the races have been known to attract up to 25,000 spectators, making it one of the largest and the most visited races on the World Cup calendar. The trophy is a crystal crown with past winners' names imprinted on it. At the award ceremony, the winner is presented with a cloak and sits on a throne like a queen, and a king. The race was originally called the "Golden Bear" Trophy (Croatian: Zlatni Medvjed), but from the 2006 event the name was changed in honour of Janica Kostelić, whose victories in the sport helped popularize skiing in Croatia and also paved the way for the World Cup race at Zagreb to be included as a premier competition for alpine skiing.

In 2013, the Snow Queen Trophy races were admitted to the Club5 Ski Classics, which gathers traditional organizers of the FIS Ski World Cup races. Zagreb has thus joined the company of the leading organizers of the FIS Ski World Cup races, including Val Gardena, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Kitzbühel, Wengen and Val d’Isere. Annually TV stations in over 25 countries of Europe, North America and Asia broadcast the races by Eurosport Europe, Eurosport Asia and ESPN Latin and South America, while news reports and features are transmitted in an additional 50 other countries together reaching more than 250 million households around the world.

And here's some interesting skiing trivia since already on the topic; even Ivica Kostelić who is a World Cup Overall, Slalom and Combined Champion and Janica Kostelić who likewise was an Overall, Slalom and Combined Champion and multiple Olympic Champion before early retirement, neither of them won at the Snow Queen Trophy World Cup races, (having podium finishes though), so it's not exactly an easy slalom race to win and it's definitely not fixed. And courtesy of and some other Croatian ski sites some other interesting skiing trivia...the first official ski club in Croatia was formed in Rijeka at nearby Platak ( and founded in 1885, which is actually 10 years before even one was formed in more snowier Zagreb in 1895. (How's this for a total mindfuck since on the topic, that's even before the oldest founded ski resort in America, which was in 1915 at Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Colorado, that's just plain crazy). And the first official skiing competition race was held at a ski slope on Učka just outside the town of Opatija in 1897, (yep that's not a typo, that Opatija), the first locally manufactured skis were made in 1911 as well as the first official Croatian ski camp was held at Mrkopalj in 1913, amazing)

A 2-time winner of the annual Zagreb VIP Snow Queen World Cup alpine ski race, Mikaela Shiffrin pictured earlier this year at the 50th FIS World Cup Skiing Anniversary event in dowtown Zagreb. Image:

When Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s World Cup overall title in March, she was the first American to conquer skiing’s most coveted title since 2012 — coincidentally, the year she won her first World Cup event at the ripe age of 17.

Like all top-level ski pros, Ms. Shiffrin, who lives in Vail, Colo., spends most of the year circling the globe. In summer, she trains in New Zealand and Chile; from October to March, she races across Europe, with occasional jaunts to North America — the World Cup opener in Sölden, Austria, is on Oct. 28. And this season will add a big detour to her itinerary in February, when she competes in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Below are edited excerpts from interviews with Ms. Shiffrin.

Mikaela Shiffrin in the women’s slalom race in Aspen, Colorado in March. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Q. Do you have favorite resorts on the racing circuit?

In Zagreb, in Croatia, we stayed in the middle of the city, right near the biggest shopping street. We were there when the Christmas markets were still up. It’s one of the few times I make a point to get out and walk around a bit because there’s so much history. With Zagreb and Maribor, in Slovenia, the [ski] hills are right on the outskirts. You’re driving through a city for 45 minutes, thinking, “There’s no way we’re going skiing anywhere near here.” Then all of a sudden you’re at a ski hill.

Are there any differences between the ski cultures in the United States and Europe?

Yes, but then there are also different approaches to skiing within the U.S. The East Coast is generally a lot more about racing. The West has a huge all-mountain culture, with powder skiing, heli-skiing and freeskiing. The crowd at the Killington races in Vermont [in November] was incredible. It was this moment for the U.S. to show all these Europeans who think they own ski racing that we can hold our own.

Mikaela Shiffrin celebrating on the podium after the FIS World Cup Women's Slalom race on Sljeme in Zagreb January 4, 2015. Image: REUTERS.

What is it like to be a bona fide star in the Alps?

In the U.S. people might recognize me at home or if I’m at a ski event; otherwise they don’t know what’s going on. But in Austria or Italy I can count on somebody stopping me in the street. When I go to Europe I have to start thinking about trying to be incognito if I have to get somewhere on time.

You’re on the road for months at a time. What’s always in your bag?

I travel with a blanket that I received as a Christmas present and my own pillow, because the pillows in a lot of the [European] hotels are really thin and I feel like my head is falling off a cliff while I’m sleeping. And my face creams, from a company called Beautycounter that specializes in clean products.

Mikaela Shiffrin. Credit Dustin Snipes/Red Bull Content Pool.

How do you deal with travel fatigue and jet lag?

People say that the first few days at a new place, you should not nap no matter how tired you are. But I find that oftentimes I still have some sort of a disrupted sleep pattern at night, so I do nap. If we have to ski the next day, it’s important to get your muscles going again so you must do something active, like go for a walk or a jog, and get some fresh air. For athletes nutrition is always important, but especially with travel you want to make sure you get the right kinds of fats and protein, and bring healthy snacks so you won’t go to the candy shop at the airport. I like dried mangoes, also cheese and crackers — there’s probably no study that shows that’s the greatest thing to be eating for jet lag but as far as snacks go, it’s not terrible. Sometimes dark-chocolate-covered berries, to get a sweet fix without eating an entire doughnut.

What do you look forward to the most when you go back home?

My bed and my shower! In the springtime the snow can be really good in Colorado, so I try to take advantage of that and have some fun with my freeskiing. There’s also a really great movie theater called CineBistro in Vail, a sort of extravagant in-theater dining situation with a burger bar.

Behind the scenes footage and interview from the 2015 Ski Legends and VIP Snow Queen Trophy slalom races.

Previous related posts: photos-of-day-50th-fis-world-cup-skiing-anniversary
















Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Young American-Born Actress With Croatian Roots...Izabela Vidovic

I'm just doing this one for a change of pace and the interesting Croatian connection. (Because I don't really do "celeb" posts as regular readers already know, even the previous post links at the bottom were done mainly as just informational posts revolving around the interesting Croatian connection, they're not even "celeb-ish" as far as I'm concerned).

Anyway, I also decided to do this one just so that more people will know about her Croatian background and not mistake her for something else. as in..."Oh hey there, did you see that girl in that show there last night on the TV? that Russian or Polish girl or whatever she is?..."No dum-dum, she's Lithuanian or Czech or something like that, probably Hungarian or somewhere around there"...."Aw geez, both you idiots are wrong, that's a Belarusian or Ukranian actress, probably Estonian though actually come to think of it like that tennis player whatshername" and other similar scenarios. I explain this simple topic very clearly at with a number of other interesting examples.

For instance since on the topic remember Eric Bana also? the guy from the 2003 Hulk film? Lots of people at first thought he was maybe Italian, French or Spanish background. (you know, like Bana-Bono-Bonbon-Bellini etc). But nope, his real name is Eric Banadinović. (that was a pretty good Hulk film too actually, it was the first updated Hulk before all the later Hulk versions). I explain the Croatian surname adjustments and spelling variations history from over the centuries at that link also, although it's been common knowledge that for quite some time people have changed their names in Hollywood and the entertainment biz, many even already with English names changed to have a fancier or a plainer celeb name, a few examples...Cary Grant/Archibald Alexander Leach, Hedy Lamarr/Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, Marilyn Monroe/Norma Jeane Mortenson, Meg Ryan/Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra, Joaquin Phoenix/Joaquin Rafael Bottom, Jennifer Aniston/Jennifer Linn Anastassakis, Natalie Wood/Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, Bela Lugosi/Béla Ferenc Dezsö Blaskó, Boris Karloff/William Henry Pratt, Jean-Claude Van Damme/Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, Doris Day/ Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff,  Vivian Leigh/Vivian Mary Hartley, Rita Hayworth/Margarita Carmen Cansino, Raquel Welch/Jo Raquel Tejada, Carole Lombard/Jane Alice Peters, Mundako Kamambwe/Dolimba Zaululu, Lauren Bacall/Betty Joan Perske, Richard Burton/Richard Walter Jenkins, Gene Simmons/Chaim Witz, Elvis Costello/Declan Patrick McManus, Michal Keaton/Michael John Douglas, Judy Garland/Frances Ethel Gumm, Demi Moore/Demi Gene Guynes, Nicolas Cage/Nicolas Kim Coppola, Natalie Portman/Natalie Hershlag and hundreds of others did the same. 

You will also notice below she was in a film with John Stamos, remember that guy from the series Full House? I never really watched that series though because it was just too creepy and disturbing for my taste, just a very disturbing series from the equally dark and disturbing late 80's and early 90's in general. There are quite a few other celebs with Croatian background but it's not really the purpose of this blog. you are now free to watch television and movies, I've done my part and now hopefully in the future at least more people will know about her Croatian background and not mistake her for some other tennis player or soccer player or something else.


Izabela Vidovic (Photo: IMDB)


Although she is just 16, actress Izabela Vidovic is already building an impressive CV in Hollywood.

Next month on 9 October 2017 in America the third season of the series Supergirl, starring the young actress with Croatian roots, starts on screens.

Supergirl (Screenshot)

Izabela was born in Chicago to Croatian parents Mario and Elizabeta Vidović.

Her mother Elizabeta was born in Germany to Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina and then moved to Chicago and then eventually to Los Angeles in 2002. Izabela can also speak, read and write Croatian.

Izabela with John Stamos (Photo: IMDB)

Izabela started her career at the age of 7 by performing in stage productions of Mary Poppins, Camp Rock, and Annie. After that, she moved onto film and television series in 2011.

She is best known for her roles in movies Homefront (Jason Statham), Wonder, which starred Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts, Little Brother (John Stamos) and in the Freeform television series The Fosters.

Izabela also appeared alongside her mother in the 2012 film ‘Find me’.

Izabela Vidovic (Photo: IMDB)

Her sister Katarina is also an actress and the family regularly visit Croatia, RTL writes.












Thursday, 7 September 2017

Croatian Shipyard Uljanik Launches World’s Most Powerful Dredger

Here's a quick post just for the hell of it, and it will probably be mainly of interest to those types who are really into ships technology, capabilities, knots, tonnage and specs etc. (there's more exciting things going on in Croatia right now but if I mentioned them it would probably depress the reader, and then next time at the store line up you'll blame me for even mentioning it). Now sure a dredging ship is perhaps not as glamorous or interesting as my previous luxury super yachts, Croatian Navy and Coast Guard patrol boats posts, but still (those links are below). It's just good to know that Croatia is doing it's part for progress, civilization and in this case, for cleaner and better seas and waterways, boats and ships are still very useful as long as there's still oceans so that gets a 2 thumbs up from me the way I see it. Because after all, we're not exporting any sort of weird or crappy foods, fashions or clothing, fundamentals, terrorism or strange theologies, books, cults, dances etc, not even any cartels contributing to crime rates and that's all a good thing I say (you simply can't blame us for exporting that kind of stuff because we're too busy making ships, so it's also a good thing for this overpopulated spinning dirtball in space we call the world's largest round 3-D hi-def holographic television, aka the planet with the various mammals and creepy-crawlies). And besides, once in a while I like to show that we manufacture and export things other than soccer players, a country can't just be all about exporting soccer players all the time I say. (there's some updated construction video footage HERE of the Scenic Eclipse passenger luxury mega-yacht project in the works, which is another prestigious and cool kick-ass boat project currently going on at the same shipyard).

Another thing I like about this story that just occured to me, is that the mentioned Croatian shipbuilding companies have already for a while been building ships and vessels for the Croatian Navy, Coast Guard and Police, mainly various class missile boats, landing/assault ships, minelayers and various patrol ships. But if they really had to they have the means and technological capability to easily build the much larger ships, battleships, destroyers and heck even aircraft carriers. However, I think the chances are pretty well zilch that Slovenia, Montenegro, Italy across the Adriatic or even Greece down the way will attempt a naval attack or amphibious assault on the Croatian coast and vice versa, so it's just mainly national territorial maritime border security ships and as part of Nato, EU maritime forces (besides the inland variable yield nuclear tipped missiles will take care of that anyway).

Basically I think there's a lot worse and pointless absurd things to be exporting around the world these days, so this world's most powerful cutter dredger ship gets my official stamp of approval for that reason. Most of the text below I just added from a previous post for some supplementary probably less well known information about shipbuilding history in Croatia...


I touched upon Croatia's long naval and shipbuilding history in a few posts before in case the reader didn't know (those links are below), Croatia's current shipbuilding sector slowed down a little after the world economic crisis a few years ago, but recently it has been steadily growing and getting back to previous production numbers. (Which all makes sense, being that Croatian shipbuilding history actually goes back through the centuries to the early middle ages and it's not just something recent. The history of the Croatian Navy also goes back to the same times to at least the 8th century, that's another topic I touched upon at croatian-navy-25th-anniversary and added an excerpt of at the bottom).

Brodogradilište Split, aka Brodosplit shipyards, ( is based in the city of Split, (obviously) has already for years been building super-large container ships, ferries, passenger ships, oil tankers, (example) as well as the Croatian Navy warships/police boats mentioned earlier and other marine transport vehicles, but this shows that Croatian shipyards can still make top notch quality fast response Croatian Navy/military ships today. There is also the city of Pula based Tehnomont Brodogradilište which also makes large ships and boats for export, especially lately for the Croatian Coast Guard and the Police Patrol Boats mentioned. (Interestingly Brodosplit even won a contract last year to complete the ‘Save Venice From Flooding’ Project, a system including 63 huge steel gates and one of the biggest construction projects in Italian history, they're practically saving Venice basically, how's that for interesting? (you know, Venice like that gondola guy on those Ragu spaghetti sauce labels, that's in Venice and not just some guy on a boat probably many people don't realize). The gates will also thwart any future shore landing attempts by Ra's al Ghul and his minions if necessary, intelligence reports last year reported his dastardly plan is to transfer the entire populations of Egypt, Libya, Algeria and the whole Middle East into Italy and Greece by 2030 before then taking over North America, China and Japan, he's just plain diabolically evil that guy).

3Maj Shipyard (Treći Maj Brodogradilište) in the city of Rijeka is another one that has a long history of building all kinds of large ships, oil tankers, container ships, ferries, passenger ships and not just oyster, lobster/crab and shrimp catching boats or just those touristy river rafts like some people think (example). The first docks were erected in 1892 at first as an affiliate to the German Howaldtswerke from Kiel. 3Maj was recently incorporated into Uljanik which are based in the town of Pula. This saved a lot of jobs and costs and combined their shipbuilding know how technologies, streamlining operations to make a more efficient and productive shipbuilding company. Case in point, Uljanik Group Shipyard was chosen to make the Katina luxury yacht and the Scenic Eclipse super-luxury passenger yacht not that long ago.

A few other ones I should mention since on the topic are the Dalmont Brodogradilište Kraljevica (aka Kraljevica Shipyards) in Kraljevica near the city of Rijeka, which has a history of shipbuilding since being founded in 1729, these days including building commercial ships, military vessels, and superyachts. The Viktor Lenac Shipyard (Croatian: Brodogradilište Viktor Lenac) was founded in 1896 near the city of Rijeka, it at first specialized mainly in ship repairs and lengthenings, today it has three floating drydocks, a large offshore construction site and it specializes in ship conversions and gas platform construction. Over the years it has even signed a number of contracts to repair and overhaul various US Navy ships (including the US Navy's 6th Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney). And the Brodotrogir Shipyards in the town of Trogir near Split is another one building large container ships, ferries, passenger ships and oil tankers etc, with even documented historical mentions of shipbuilding in the town going back to the Middle Ages, so nothing new there.

I also found out that not long ago this same Uljanik Group shipyard signed a contract to build three 740 foot Seaway Max self-unloading bulk freighters for the Algoma Central Corporation shipping company in St. Catherines Ontario, more on that at and Good news for Croatian shipbuilding again as well as their customers world-wide, Croatian shipbuilding saving jobs and lives and even saving Venice while making the world a progressive and better less absurd place, and top notch beers and pastries too.

Related previous posts: first-of-5-new-croatian-coast-guard








Croatian Shipyard Launches World’s Most Powerful Dredger

Croatian shipbuilder Uljanik has launched the world’s most powerful cutter dredger (Photo: Uljanik)


Croatian shipbuilder Uljanik has launched the world’s most powerful cutter dredger over the weekend at its shipyard in Pula.

Uljanik built the 151.3 m long vessel named Willem Van Rubroeck for Luxemburg-based Jan De Nul Group.

The self-propelled cutter suction dredger, named after the great Flemish missionary and naval explorers of Medieval times, is 36 metres wide and is able to dredge material up to 45 metres deep.

Footage from the official ship launching.

Willem Van Rubroeck is 10 metres high and can develop a speed of 12 knots. It has installed power of 40.975 kW, three dredging pumps with a total power of 25.500 kW, two of which located in the pump room and one in the cutter ladder, and 2 retractable thrusters with a total power of 6000 kW.

The launch of the world’s most powerful dredger in Pula (Photo: Uljanik)

“This vessel, the world’s most powerful dredger, will have a cutter power of 8,500kW and it will be able to dredge compact sand, clay and rocks up to 45m deep, while the operation will be controlled from a central station and is almost completely automated. Also, it will be able to receive 67 crew members in a comfortable and high standard accommodation,” Uljanik said.

Uljanik said on Monday that they have also signed a deal with Norwegian company Nexans Subsea Operations to build a cable laying ship. That ship will be 149.9 metres long and 31 metres wide.

.....Like I said, interestingly for those not in the know, and since already on the topic of ships, sailors and the Adriatic sea, I should briefly highlight again with an excerpt about the early Croatian Navy, shipbuilding and coastal maritime activities and history that extends from well before the 21st century, stuff many probably didn't know...

Movie screenshots from "Croatian Kings" (Hrvatski Kraljevi), a Croatian Television (HRT) produced 7-part documentary series viewed by millions and broadcast to over 30 countries by the Swedish "History Channel" on the Viasat World satellite television network. More information at and viasat-history-channel-to-broadcast-documentary.

...From the time of the Croatian King Petar Krešimir IV around 1066 the Croatian Navy was still an integral part of the overall Croatian military forces and might, during King Petar Krešimir's reign there was a duke Rusin mentioned who assisted with the coordination and activities of the Croatian Navy, some other local dukes and admirals before and after from 835 to 1089 were Družac, Božidar, Berigoj, Jakov, and the fact that the very title of Duke could be borne only by governmental dignitaries and bestowed by the King is proof of the navy importance. In 1069, when he donated the island of Maun to the city of Zadar, in the surviving royal charter document King Krešimir did not fail to point out that ancient Dalmatia was rightfully part of the Croatian Kingdom and that it was "...our own island that lies on our Dalmatian sea...". (Latin: nostram propriam insulam in nostro Dalmatico mari sitam) ie: the eastern Adriatic of the Croatian Kingdom, even the Byzantine empire recognized him, along with his maritime naval fleet, as the supreme ruler of the coastal areas and eastern Adriatic Sea. However well before this and already from the year 642 the early Croats are recorded by the Longobard historian Paul the Deacon as having many ships at the city of Siponto across the Adriatic Sea. The same sources speak about Croats as successful ship builders. At the time of Duke Vladislav (821- 835) sources mention a strong navy. Thanks to the Croatian maritime power of Duke Mislav (835-845), he signed a treaty with Pietro Tradonico, Doge of the Venetian Republic in 839, which led to the further growth of Croatian sea power and control of the eastern Adriatic. During the rule of Duke Trpimir (845-864) Croats broke through to Furlania and in front of Venice itself. In 871 as an ally of the Frankish Carolingian Emperor and King of Italy Louis II, the Croatian Navy under Duke Domagoj distinguished itself in the liberation of Bari, Taranto and southern Italy from the Arab Saracens occupation. Interestingly, during the reign of Duke Branimir (879-892) the Venetians were defeated and were even obligated to pay tribute to the Croatians for the freedom of sailing on the eastern Adriatic, the taxes ensured a safe passage preventing attacks or conflict from the Croatian ships, (so besides being independent of not only the Frankish Empire but also the Byzantine Empire and Venice as well, then it also shows that a well organized under command royal maritime naval force existed). In the work of the domestic and foreign policy manual De Administrando Imperio by eastern Roman Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus VII from circa. the year 950, he wrote that after King Tomislav secured peace with the Bulgarian Empire who bordered the Croatian Kingdom to the east, and the Frankish Empire to our west, we had a military of 60,000 cavalry, 100,000 foot soldiers as well as 80 galleys (larger ships with 40 sailors) and 100 cutters (konduras - smaller ships with 10 to 20 sailors), not counting the oarsmen this would then amount to over 5000 sailors...

Movie screenshot.

...Later during the times of Croatian Kings Michael Krešimir II (reign 949-969) and Stephen Držislav (reign 969–997) as well as their powerful Bans/Viceroys Pribina and Godemir, Croatian Navy ships were victorious when in conflict with the fleets of Saracens and Muslim Arabs attempting to cross and invade from the Italian peninsula of Gargano in 968-969. A number of Croatian Navy conflicts during these centuries successfully repelled Muslim Saracen and Moorish pirate raids arriving from Italy whose primary aim was to attempt to carry off women and children as sex slaves. Later the era of King Stjepan Držislav (969-996) was also marked with successful maritime trade and safekeeping of maritime routes and domination of Croatia on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. King Stephen I Krešimirović (988-1058) is known in sources for solidifying the Croatian Kingdom domains of the formerly named Pannonia and Dalmatia, but also for strengthening the military and especially ensuring the coastal defence and rule with the aid of his Croatian Navy fleet, with trade and commerce flourishing afterwards. Later in 1084, when the Normans under Robert Guiscard Duke of Apulia and Calabria conquered southern Italy and Sicily, he invaded the Adriatic Sea and western Balkan provinces of the Byzantine empire, and King Dmitar Zvonimir (1074-1089) even helped by sending troops as well as ships from the Croatian fleet to his aid. It is even precisely for these reasons that the medieval Croatian Kings with their royal courts, Viceroys/Bans and many of their nobility kept their seats and official royal residences near the strategic coastal areas, to much easier personally oversee and direct their maritime fleets. (Nin, Šibenik, Zadar, Biograd, Split, Klis, Knin, Trogir, Solin, Kaštela etc). Without getting into the maritime tradition and history including Dubrovnik, events after union with Hungary and the Habsburg Empire, the thousands of Croat sailors who took part in the epic historic Battle of Leponto defeating the Ottoman Empire fleet etc, these are just a few examples of the early Croatian Navy presence and maritime naval history from well over a thousand years ago. Basically in a nutshell, like I said at a previous croatian-navy-25th-anniversary post, the Croatian Navy and maritime shipbuilding tradition and history is then actually much, much longer than just 25 years, which is good to know.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Rowing Sinković Brothers Become First Croatian Athletes Featured On A Red Bull Can &...Toni Kukoč Inducted Into Basketball Hall Of Fame

 Olympic, European and World Champion rowers Martin and Valent Sinković became the first Croatian athletes featured on Red Bull cans. More information:

I thought this Croatian related piece of information was interesting and sort of cool, I wasn't panning on adding anything here for a few weeks...but what the hell it's also solar eclipse day today. I've been trying not to do sports or celeb topiced posts for a while either, but it's really not about either actually.

And I should mention btw, everyone around here has caught the solar eclipse fever just like everywhere else, yep it's all solar eclipse talk and festivities all over the place. Why the whole neighbourhod even got together for a sort of block solar eclipse party. It started last night with various moon themed movies playing on the large outdoor screen (the side of a garage actually) all through the night as a pre-eclipse countown. It started off with the classic A Trip to the Moon, (the first moon film made ever), then Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, An American Werewolf in Paris, Dark Moon Rising, Alien, Moontrap, Dune, Blade Runner, First Men in the Moon, Edward D. Wood Jr's classic Orgy of the Dead, a film that fittingly seems like it even was entirely filmed during a solar eclipse, and of course the Doris Wishman classic Nude on the Moon as a pre-eclipse finale before the sunrise. There was also moon pies, moon dogs (hot dogs in the shape of the moon), phases of the moon Oreo's, eclipse-burgers and various moonshine and other moon foods and drinks, (coincidentally even Red Bull was used to make some of the pre-solar eclipse moon drinks, a combination of Red Bull with cherry brandy, pelinkovac/absinthe and then topped with whipped cream, moon shaped marshmallows and candied meteorite sprinkles), some people brought moon sparklers and even wore those nostalgic moon boots for the full effect. It was eclipse and moonmania all over the place and almost like the 1979 solar eclipse again, just amazing. (Well not really, but there should have been a pre-eclipse moon festival I say, what's a solar eclipse without a pre-eclipse shindig?)

Anyway back to the main topic, I don't really follow rowing and it's much more popular outside of North America, especially Europe, Australia and New Zealand, but I did mention them previously once, so I just re-added that one below also...

Image and more information:

The current Olympic, World and European champion rowers, brothers Martin Sinković and Valent Sinković recently became the very first Croatian athletes to be featured on cans of Red Bull.

Red Bull energy drink has been releasing a new series of cans featuring athletes, non-profit charities and various other themes which is a pretty cool idea, and now for the first time cans of Red Bull can be bought that feature the champion rowers.

“We are so honored to be the first Croatian athletes on the Red Bull cans,” the brothers wrote on their Twitter profile.

Martin Sinkovic & Valent Sinkovic at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, Aiguebelette, France. Photo: FISA Igor Meijer

There are a number of other Croatian athletes that could have also been put on a can, but going with the Sinković Brothers is a wise choice and there's no complaints here. (and nope, none of my other choices would have been soccer players btw, picking them for the can just proves like I've shown numerous times that Croatians are much more than just soccer, perhaps shocking to some but it's true). After dominating the double skulls discipline by winning everything possible around the world, including Olympic, World and European titles, as well as remaining unbeaten for three years, it's definitely not an undeserving accolade and honor. And it's not just your typical usual athletes who can get the honor in the first place either, Red Bull is all about extreme athletes and being hardcore, never giving up and pushing one's self further than average athletes, going beyond the limits of normal abilities and mental and physical endurance when others said it was futile, perseverance and proving them all wrong, doing the impossible basically.

As of now they hold 23 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals from international rowing competitions, (as well as still hold the World Record for being the first and only men's pair to ever go under the 6 minute mark in the 2000 meter (2 kilometers) category at 5:59,72) for a total of 29 podium finishes. The brothers also decided to change disciplines just this past year to the Coxless pairs, so they're not even finished yet and it should be interesting.

I should note that the rowing duo also took part in and promoted the not-for-profit humanitarian Red Bull "Wings for Life" Foundation Run that took place earlier this year in the coastal city of Zadar.

More information including behind the scenes video and tips can be viewed at:

Previous related post: croatian-brothers-break-rowing-world-record

Related posts: croatian-brothers-break-rowing-world-record









Croatian Brothers Break Rowing World Record Time, Win Gold At World Championships

*original post from 2016.

Valent Sinković and brother Martin Sinković had an amazing world record breaking start to the weekend yesterday, and finished it nicely with a World Rowing Championships gold. Not too shabby and definitely worth quickly adding here. Rowing is very physically demanding, quite a grueling sport actually, and you need to be in peak physical condition to give it all for the whole race, with not even a millisecond for a breather. (For all the boys and girls out there who may want to take up the sport, you know what that means, that's right it means lots of hours rowing on the water practicing, rowing machines in the gym, you're going to have to turn down that slice of pie, chocolate eclair, those chips and that yummy crack, it means having to eat those carrots, asparagus and cauliflower on your plate without the extra cheese sauce, no bacon bits and sour cream on your steamy potato and forget about that extra piece of steak, because in a hour you'll be stretching for your 5 km run or other endurance exercises. That's the price you have to pay for becoming a rower and world record holder boys and girls, and probably just growing up on Croatian food is the main thing)

Anyway, it seems all the training footage of them I came across is paying off. There's lots of training and practice behind the various medals. The brothers latest medal is the fourth gold for Croatia from world competitions where Croatia has so far bagged a total of 13 medals, and the 4 man team have been having great success over the past few years also. More info at the links below...

(Also, another quick mention, Lucija Zaninović had a great weekend as well, bagging another gold, this time at the 2014 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Friday. Lucija Zaninović also just happens to be the twin sister of Ana Zaninović, who is also a champion taekwondo athlete. I know what you're thinking but I don't know if the Zaninović sisters dated the Sinković brothers. More info about her HERE)

Valent Sinković (L) and Martin Sinković (R) from Croatia celebrate after winning the Men's Double Sculls Final A at the Rowing World Cup on Lake Rotsee in Lucerne, Switzerland, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Keystone, Urs Flueeler). Image:

Croatian Rowing Brothers Create History – First Ever to Go Under 6:00 On The Way To Gold


Croatian brothers Valent and Martin Sinković have become the first Men’s Double Sculls rowers to go under six minutes over 2,000 metres in the history of the sport…

The Sinković brothers broke the old World Record by 4 seconds with a time of 5:59.72 at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam to become the only rowers in history to go under six minutes. French pair Jean-Baptiste Macquet and Adrien Hardy previously held the record for eight years.

“How did it feel? It is phenomenal to be the World Record holder,” the older of the two, Valent said after the race.

The brothers are the World Champions in their discipline and were silver medal winners at the London Olympics. The Sinković brothers' latest medal is the fourth gold for Croatia from world contests where Croatia has so far bagged a total of 13 medals. The Croatian rowing team have also won 3 medals at summer Olympics finals.

The future world record holders pictured with their mother before the 2014 World Rowing Championships. How long will this new world record last? We'll have to wait and see.

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Final


Like a Shakespearian drama, the men's double had heartbreak and triumph and that was just in the leadup to today's final. The reigning World Champions, Norway were out with the new combination of the Sinković brothers from Zagreb, Croatia shining with every race through this regatta.

Right from the first stroke Valent and Martin Sinković had the lead. The duo said that they love to lead from start to finish and they were doing just this today. Germany's Hans Gruhne and Stephan Krueger followed in second before last year's bronze medallists, Romano Battisti and Francesco Fossi got ahead.

But what a show of dominance. At the head of the field Croatia had strided away to a two boat-length lead. Battisti and Fossi now slotted into second with a virtual line for the bronze medal between Australia, Lithuania and Germany. The crowd was on their feet. The gold medal was clear. The times showed just half a second separating four crews. Italy had taken silver and Australia's James McRae and Alexander Belonogoff the bronze.



I lucked out and found fresh footage from yesterday after the world record breaking semi-final race result (Greek commentary), later they went on to take gold in the final with a not much slower time of 6.00.52. (If any highlight videos get deleted for whatever reason, just Google around there's plenty of others)

Valent and Martin Sinković with David Šain and Damir Martin featured in a behind the scenes vignette during the preparations for the coxless 4 race at the 2012 Olympics.

I also came across these different interesting pics while doing this post and decided to throw them in here, Valent and Martin Sinković with team members David Šain and Damir Martin from a photoshoot dressed in the newer pixelated version Croatian Army fatigues and tees. Images:

This pic of the 4 man rowing team I came across I'll just throw in for the girls...oh and maybe for Richard Simmons and Boy George too, I read somewhere they're big fans of rowing. Image:

I might as well add this updated information from just a few days later, since already on the general theme. I don't really watch basketball or follow it, not since elementary school anyway, (that's when I got into the wonderful world of professional wrestling, and some other more interesting things), but it's still good to know as it's another prestigious honour.

Toni Kukoč will thus be the 4th Croatian to be elected to FIBA's Basketball Hall of Fame after former players Krešimir Ćosić, Dražen Petrović and former player/coach/referee Mirko Novosel.

For those unfamiliar, Toni Kukoč was part of a core of Croatian basketball players (along with Dražen Petrović, Dino Radja, Žan Tabak and Stojko Vranković), who since 1989 and in the early 1990's became the first modern era Croats to play in the NBA during the time of official UN world recognition of Croatian independence. They are also considered the crucial part of the first to present-day mass influx of drafted Croatian and other European country players into the NBA, thus paving the way especially for other recently freely independent and former communist countries such as Poland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Montenegro, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania etc, which unlike in the NHL was extremely rare and practically non-existent before then. (Toni Kukoč in Croatian is pronounced something similarly to "Toe-knee Koo-coach" btw)...

Croatian Toni Kukoč to be Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame

Toni Kukoč, a 5X Euroscar European Player of the Year, 4X Mister Europa Player of the Year and 3X EuroLeague Final Four MVP will officially become the 4th Croatian to be elected to FIBA's Basketball Hall of Fame later this month.

Croatian basketball legend Toni Kukoč is to be inducted into the FIBA international basketball Hall of Fame.

Kukoč joins The Dream Team, Shaquille O’Neal, Valdis Valters and Moshe "Miki" Berkovich as headliners in the FIBA international basketball Hall of Fame inductees for 2017, it was announced on Wednesday.

A ceremony will take place on 30th September 2017 at FIBA headquarters in Geneva Switzerland.

Toni Kukoč in 1996. Image: Getty Images

Kukoč was one of the first established European stars to play in the NBA, and was known as a versatile left-handed player who could play any position, for this he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1996 and played a pivotal role on 3 NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.

He won a number of honors throughout his international career, including being a 3-time Croatian Sportsman of the Year, FIBA World Championship MVP, 5X Euroscar European Player of the Year, 4X Mister Europa Player of the Year, 3X EuroLeague Final Four MVP: (1990, 1991, 1993), 2X EuroLeague Final Four Team: (1991, 1993), EuroBasket MVP as well as a 2X Olympic silver medalist.


After retiring in 2006 and undergoing hip replacement surgery in 2009, he has hosted various Toni Kukoč Basketball Camps for youths. He has several deli sandwiches and mixed drink shooters named after him in the metropolitan Chicago area and now plays at least one round of golf daily, winning Croatia's national amateur golf championship in 2011. These days he's also Special Advisor to Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago Bulls.


Somebody's Toni Kukoč Top 10 plays highights.

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