This weekend we had the Balmoral SUP X with the Sydney Paddle Surf Club (SPSC). There were distances for all competitors with the 3km, 6km and 9km race. The 6 and 9km race included a running leg but otherwise it was basically a flat water race. Following the race I had the opportunity to share my knowledge on basic stand up paddle technique to the newer members of SPSC. Overall it was an awesome day in Sydney's North, now strap yourselves in for the second edition of my Unconventional Race recaps.
Forever trying to create a bigger gap for the lead group, Dave Kissane rarely relinquished the first place position in the first 6km of the 9km race. Happy to paddle hard and really stretch everyone behind him, he definitely was flexing his flatwater muscles while on his ocean board. An honourable mention must also go to David Hume for leading the chase group for much of the race on his flatwater board. A big thanks to Dave for dragging me around the course ;)
He was off like a puppy chasing its tail and was continuously trying to lead during the first few kilometres of the race. Just like a Labrador his fitness gave way and unfortunately had to settle for a third place. After a very strong start, Harry Lee, is rewarded with the Labrador Award, probably paying for the lack of time on a race board and putting in the big hours on the tools of late. Harry Lee was closely followed by Clayton Kane who was setting a blistering pace of his own in the first kilometre. Clayton jetted off the start line fading into the draft train a few kilometres later but obviously hung in there managing a 6th place finish.
Chris Cross didn't seem to get the best start but managed to read the water and get himself back in the race. Using his new found knowledge of the ocean, Chris used the incoming tide to his advantage and made up a whopping 10 places to record one of his better race results to date on his trusty Fanatic Strike. Ask him about his favourite colour and what board he'll be using for the next race, he'll probably only know the answer to the first question.
There were a few interesting tactics going on in this flat water race. Some using the tide, while others used draft trains to get the best possible result. I was definitely guilty of riding a lot of wash and not doing my fair share of upping the pace throughout the first few kilometres but I'm going to nominate Mike Hayes as the best tactician on the day. Personally I didn't see him lead any train throughout the entire race but he must've at some point as he finished up in 4th place after a blunder by David Hume, falling off in the last kilometre to relinquish the hard earned copper medal. There were also a few who attacked in the run leg like Harry Lee, but undid all the good work by stuffing around with his leg rope, gotta work on those tactics, Mr Labrador.
With calm conditions forecast, Dave Kissane, Harry Lee and Mike Hayes were all on ocean boards expecting a paddle around the notoriously bumpy Middle Head. Instead they were stuck pushing these ocean boards through the flats around The Spit. This is the main feature of the SUP X, no one ever knows what the course is going to be until they turn up. David Hume was without a doubt on the right board for the day, the Flatwater Faast Pro by Sunova Surfboards. While he didn't get the best start he continually made ground on the rest of the field throughout the race, climbing to as high as 3rd place at one stage. Unfortunately a costly fall in the final few kilometres meant he had to settle for 5th but otherwise Dave's gamble was looking like it was going to pay off.
For all the race Results click here. Note: All races were using the same timer so it doesn't give too much info... Also note my recap is only based on what i experienced during my race and discussions afterwards. I am well aware there isn't much airtime for women, juniors or the 3km and 6km races.
After the fun and games that occurred out on the race course we all got a group photo, had some time to recover and then I got straight into a Coach Casey Clinic. As mentioned earlier this was a clinic for the newer paddlers and was put on by the Sydney Paddle Surfing Club. I was more than happy to share my knowledge with all of the up and comers and I look forward to seeing them all compete in more races throughout the year. Check out the video put together by the talented Harry Lee to see what we worked on.