Powerade 20 Beaches Classic
What a Race! Conditions for the Powerade 20 Beaches on Saturday 14th December were perfect! A strong Southerly airstream arrived early on race morning generating a 1.5 metre + swell to push competitors North from Freshwater to Palm Beach.
300 + competitors faced the starting line for the 2013 edition of the Powerade 20 Beaches Classic. Amongst them some of the worlds best Ocean Paddlers.
Here is the Powerade 20 Beaches from Vaikobi’s perspective (also 1st time 20 Beaches Racer)
Race Day Morning
The mood on race morning was one of excitement as more and more competitors turned up to register and race. The conditions were just too good to miss and one by one, all the legends turned up to race.
Vaikobi’s Tim Jacobs was his usual upbeat self on race morning and went about getting ready like he would for any other race. He too was getting quite excited about the conditions ahead.
Ocean Paddler/ Fenn’s Dean Gardiner also turned up to race. Now Deano doesn’t get out of bed for a race unless there is going to be big waves and wind, but here he was lining up to race with fellow coach Yanda Nossiter in the double- A good sign for things to come.
Throw in some other big names- Oscar Chalupsky (on his global Epic Tour), Clint Robinson, Murray Stewart, Jeremy Cotter, Grant Kenny, Dave Kissane (Now SUP legend), Terene Black and Brad Gaul (Paddleboard World Champ and now SUP convert).....we had a field of amazing depth. It was game on!
Race Start Time
1PM: The strong field of 30+ SUP’s of varying configurations from 14 footers through to the Unlimited 17 footers, all lined up for the race to Palmy. They battled into the wind out to the first turning buoy, then let loose downwind....These guys never cease to amaze me.
1.15PM: The start for the OC’s, 50+ Ski’s, Spec Ski’s and Ladies - Race Director Marcial Nunura got them off on time and with no dramas. Legend Oscar Chulupsky leading the charge followed by IronMan Grant Kenny.
1.29PM: There was a BIG field for the start of the Open Ski’s, Doubles and everyone else. The startline was 3 rows deep and with hearing limited due to the strong southerly wind and some eager paddlers looking to get a jump, the field started a minute earlier than scheduled....but there was no turning this field back and we were off!
Start at Freshwater
Let the slide North begin
The rounding buoy off Freshwater Headland was tight and the turning mark was 3-4 ski’s wide as the bulk of the field rounded to begin the run to Palm Beach.
The Tasman Sea opened up ahead of us and there were Ski’s, OC’s and SUPs as far as the eye could see. Marcial’s team did a great job with water safety with plenty of IRB’s on hand to keep everyone looked after on the water.
A bit of Early Drama
Not long into the run, an orange smoke flare could be seen in the distance. I remembered thinking that I hope the person was OK. A few minutes later the ski and the paddler were in an IRB making a trip to the beach, so it was good to see she was OK.
Little did I know at the time, that TJ had infact stopped to assist this paddler and lit her Orange Smoke Flare to attract the attention of the IRB. Had this kind act possibly cost him the 2013 Powerade 20 Beaches?
Getting a bit low on Long Reef
By now the leaders were in the distance, scoring constant runs North. Back in the pack, we were also scoring some pretty cool runs too, but we had got ourselves a bit too close to Long Reef and had to make an effort to get around the breaking waves on the point. Atleast there were quite a few of us in the same situation, but there were guys offshore who were doing better as they kept the pace up whilst we had to get around the point. That was not in the race plan!
Long Reef- Bangalley Headland
This is where things started to get really interesting. Off Newport Reef, the breeze was now blowing a solid 20 knots and the waves started jacking up to quite a decent size. There were some huge runs scored and the km’s were ticking over nicely. It was hard to see everyone else with the swell size.
Bangalley Headland- Finish
Once arrived at Bangalley Headland, the swell for the run to the finish was in perfect alingment. The race thus far had been so much fun I kind of forgot I was racing as all concentration was going into catching runs.
On approach to Palm Beach the swell size reduced and I turned the last mark before a nice ride in through the break and into the beach. The legs barely ticked over for the little run up the beach to the finish and where there were big grins all round.
The scene on the beach
The war stories were flowing on the beach as the race had turned out being one of the most Epic races in living memory of the 20 Beaches. Everyone had a tale of to tell and I am sure the runs got bigger and longer as the beer flowed at the presentation tent.
Tim told me that after rescuing the paddler off Curl Curl, he got going again and finished 4th after attempting to chase down Jeremy Cotter, Murray Stewart and Bruce Taylor finishing 30 seconds behind Cotter and 1 second behing Taylor. Still Tim didn’t mind, he didn’t think twice about going to help and the most important thing that mattered beyond the race result was that the paddler was OK.
Cotter, Stewart, Taylor and Jacobs pushing hard to the finish
Let the presentation begin
With everyone still feeling the glow of the great race, the presentation got underway with a heap of prizes thanks to event sponsors, Heartsmart.me, Vaikobi, Bennett Boards, Adidas, Newport Arms & Mona Vale Golf Club.
At the Prize Giving, it was announced by Marcial that in the Mens’ Ski division, the committee had met to discuss the matter of TJ going to the assistance of a paddler in distress which ultimately cost him any chance of victory in the 20 Beaches. Tim had in fact stopped for over 3 minutes to assist the paddler, so after taking this into calculation and also factoring in the fantastic performance of Jeremy Cotter, it was decided to declare both Cotter and Jacobs as joint winners of the 2013 Powerade 20 Beaches Classic.
It was a popular decision which was met with a loud applause.
In the Female Ski, Kate McGrath had a blinder to finish first from Tracey Wilson and Katrina Wilkinson.
Paddling legend Clint Robinson & David Rhodes took out the double ski from super coaches Dean and Yanda in 2nd and John Clarke and partner in 3rd.
The “Big O” Oscar Chulupsky held off a fast finishing Grant Kenny in the 50+ division. Robert Barry took out 3rd in a great race for the legends of paddling.
The U/19’s Ski was taken out by Mackenzie Hynard from Jeremy Collins and Sam Djodan. This field was hot with everyone completing the course in under 1 hour 45.
In the Mens SUP’s, Nick Malloch scored a massive win beating Dave Kissane by 3 minutes with Wind Surf n Snow’s Sam Parker in 3rd. Terrene Black took out the Womens SUP from Vanessa Smith. It is worth noting that Terrene finished 10th overall in the SUP, highlighting just how good she is.
In the Open OC1, Daniel Bova enjoyed an emphatic win from the ever consistent Graham Groeneveld and Grant Olufson. The OC’s enjoyed some blistering runs out there and were bloody quick!
Nearly a week has passed since the great race and the buzz has not quite worn off yet. Bring on the next one!
Gratuitus Sponsor Plug
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