Hadn’t planned to do this race, but as it got closer thought why not? Use it as training for the series races; catch up with some folks and who knows, might win some money as well? It always comes in handy.
Weather was breezy but bright, so the Joyce clan decided to go together. Turned out to be a great idea as a few of my paddling buddies had familied up as well! We all decided to go to café on the beach and had a leisurely hour eating, chatting and playing with the littl’uns on the beach.
Race was at 2, so started prepping from about 1, nice not to be under too much pressure for a change. Poole Harbour was fairly choppy with moderate SW wind, so took my Starboard Ace out for a quick warm up paddle.
We all lined up for a standing start and boom! We’re off into a head wind section of a triangular course, 2.5km long and going round twice. By the end of this straight we went round the buoy with Tim Harley 1st, me 2nd and Mo Guy 3rd. The next and longest stretch was cross down wind, and we three managed to make a great lead on the rest of the pack. The Ace excelled in these conditions, I managed to join a few bumps together to get a slight lead on Tim. Last section, almost total crosswind was tricky and Tim managed to get the lead back, with me on his tail.
Onto the last lap, I drafted Tim upwind and we both managed to leave Mo behind. Same thing on the second and last stretches as before, except for some wind surfer cutting in front of me just before the 2nd buoy! I know it’s busy out here…..but it’s a race! Tim caught up and came alongside, with about 700meters to go. Both of us weren’t giving up, we’re great friends, but highly competitive and in the spirit of performance were giving it all and nothing away! About 300m from the line, Tim caught some side chop and fell! So unlucky, if this didn’t happen I believe he would take the first, he seemed to have just that little more go left. Being on a more lively never ridden before board must have been really tricky.
Sorry bud, but I’m free! Head down, increase the pace and keep the technique….sweet. Look up and……….OMFG! 6 meters in front of me someone has dropped their power kite so the lines are right across my path like a fence. Didn’t even have time to think, swore and just reacted. Ducked down, paddle low, I lifted the 2 top lines over my head and passed through. Amazingly, I had a low angled weed fin (Thanks to Ryan and Black Project-win saver) set and the lower lines didn’t catch my board. Now I’m free (again)! I just looked at the finish line and gave it my all. I had no idea where Tim was and didn’t want to look, just GO!
I made it! 1st….I can’t believe it, just stoked! Tim was only 10 seconds behind, caught up for a quick chat and congrats. He was cool, these things happen and he was well impressed I got through the kite crash, no problem for him as he had enough warning to skirt round it. Mo Guy came in hot on the heels of Tim, if we hadn’t made the ground on him earlier in the race it could have been a much different story. Charlie Gridley came in an awesome 4th place, especially as he’s only been paddling less than a year. Another fantastic finish was Will Vincent…5th on an inflatable, nice. Jo Hamilton-Vale came storming in 1st for the ladies soon after that.
Met our dearest and nearest when we got back to the shore….did you see the race girls? Our tribe’s had been back at the Harley’s apartment and missed the whole thing! Glad they find SUP as exciting as we do;-) Overall a great result, Starboard team members 1st in men’s and women’s, excellent trophies to remind us of the day and some cash to keep the wolf a little further from the door!
Today reinforced the maxim “Never give up”. If I had slacked off a bit at the end and not kept the pressure on; I mightn’t have got the advantage of Tim coming unstuck.
Thanks H2O, Easy Riders and BSUPA for a great weekend and organising the race, All the BaySUP crew (Tim, Will, Jo, Pete, Charlie, Mo, and Sean)-great fun with great paddling pals.
Lastly, big up to Sian Harley (Pictures too!), Clare Vincent and all the little dudes and dudette for making Emma and Dylan welcome and kept busy-they loved it:-)