A brisk westerly wind and an outgoing tide set up some great conditions for the RAYC Opening Day surfski race of 2015.
With the final course being determined in the morning – a downwind course of nearly 16km from Hobsonville Marina back to RAYC was chosen. A compact field of 8 paddlers were relieved to avoid too much upwind paddling, and knew there would some good fast runs to be had through the inner harbour. Its a section of the harbour we paddle regularly, and its always interesting how different sections can provide an advantage at different times and how conditions can change quickly with shifts in wind and tide.
Race organiser, Shower Painter, Shuttle Bus Driver, Starter and all-round good-guy John Cooper set the race off just after 1pm, and the field set of at a steady pace towards Kauri point, with an outgoing tide providing a big boost to boat speed – even against the crosswind and chop at this first leg of the course. The general thought seemed to be to save a little energy for when the runs would start, and then maximise the intensity with the following wind and chop.
4km in and the field were starting to spread out as the conditions were starting to become ideal for surfing and the boat speeds jumped up. Simon Longdill was first into the runs past Kauri point and managed to edge away the chasing group of Grant Heim, Andy Czar, Rod Russell and Rob Askew – a group that would have a great close battle back and forth down the harbour as conditions changed on different lines. With the outgoing tide, boat speeds were high, often averaging 16km/hr through the middle sections, with top speeds of 22kph clocked on GPS. Dave Chambers kept a consistent pace through the race to finish strongly; Danelle Snowden and Anna Longdill represented the women’s division. Both handled the choppy conditions extremely well, and we look forward to seeing them on the water more over the summer to build the women’s numbers.
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