The inaugural Roseville Bridge 2 Bridge was rocked by a nasty forecast. What was meant to be one of the few truly Flatwater races in Sydney was greeted with a 30+ knot SWly winds and building Southerly swell.
This meant the course had to be changed to keep out of the wind. Instead we paddled East along the southern coastline of middle Harbour up towards Balmoral Baths and did this lap twice.
This actually was a major change up that unfortunately couldn't have been avoided. Touted as the first true flat water race of the year for the SPSC race series, a serious cold front meant all the flatwater training had not fully come into play.
Board choice was a hot topic before the race with a few people rocking up with a flatwater and an ocean board. Decisions made before the race definitely made an impact on the outcome. Mike Hayes opted for a purely flatwater shape whereas Dave Kissane went for an ocean shape. Paul Jackson, Lee Condell and myself opted for a more all round shape. This proved to be pivotal.
To make things interesting and fun I've opted to dish out a few light hearted awards for the day of racing.
Worst Board Choice - Dave Kissane
while it was set to be a flatwater race, Dave took the chance on his ocean board given the forecast. Unfortunately it meant he didn't have the top end speed he'd normally have to keep the likes of Lee Condell and Mike Hayes from nipping at his heels. An allround board seemed to be the pick for the day as a mix of swell, bost wash tide and current made it a bit tricky on a pure Flatwater board.
Tidal Master - Lee Condell
Lee raced the perfect race, fought his way up into contention for a podium finish and stuck to his strategy of staying out of the outgoing tide. A truly gritty performance and an upset over his more fancied rivals, Kissa and Mike Hayes.
Fast Starter - Chris Cross
We worked on starts in the pre race clinic and Chris Cross soaked up all the beach start info. 2nd around the can and hung in the top 4 untill about half way through the race.
Strong Finish - Mike Hayes
Mike had a shocker of a start falling off in the boat wash, finding himself towards the back of the peak. Credit to him though he managed to grind his way back to the pointy end of the race and gave himself a real chance of podiuming.
Determination - Jinbo Dong
In his first race ever Jinbo entered the long course and battled the elements an the way until the end. A lot of people opted for the short course, last minute because of the adverse conditions. If you knew Jinbo you'd know how stoked he'd be to finish his first race and with only one fall right at the end too. Congrats Mr Magic Elbow. Special mention also needs to go to another first time racer, Isabel Braga, massive effort on a borrowed board.
Cripple - Angie Jackson
Driving down from the Gold Coast, Angie Jackson was the only women's long course finisher. To make it even more impressive was the fact that she was paddling with a now long term Achilles injury. Good luck in your next surgery Angie.
Overall it was an awesome day with the whole paddling community coming together from across the South East of Australia, as far as Melbourne to the Gold Coast and all in between. Congrats SPSC on a great race and I look forward to watching the final point scoring race of the season, the JPP Buoy Turn Race unfold.