George Bass 2016

on Feb 17 in George Bass Marathon, Stew O'Regan by

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On the 2nd of January, I loaded up my ski and headed South to have a crack at a race called the George Bass Marathon. So what’s the George Bass? It’s a race which started way back in 1975 when a bunch of lunatics in surf boats decided they needed to do a massive endurance fest on the Far South Coast of NSW. It runs every two years, and in the 90′s a class for surfskis was added. Kicking off in Batemans Bay, it’s a 7 day stage race down to Eden, 190kms south. I’m not quite sure how this race made it onto our bucket list, probably from hearing about surfski legends like Tim Jacobs taking it on and dominating, but myself and Will Hardman decided a few years ago we’d paddle it sometime. Well sometime arrived, and there was no turning back! The tradition is to do it on a spec ski, so my BOS Raptor XR was to be my companion for the week.

I’d never driven south of Batemans Bay, so everything was a new adventure down this neck of the woods. Race briefing was low key and very relaxed. Forecast however wasn’t looking too flash, with lots of Southerlies on the way, and some solid swell. This might have put a few guys off, as not all entries turned up.

I won’t bore you with a day by day account of the race,  I did that already on our social media streams on Facebook and Instagram which you have look through if you’re inclined! Needless to say it was a tough week down there, as tough off the water dealing with the rough weather as it was on it paddling. Reaching Eden on the last day was quite a relief, with a big dinner and few cold ciders helping. It’s very humbling to have my name on the winner’s list, which I certainly didn’t expect heading down.

 

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The Bass certainly is like no other race we have in Australia. We don’t have long, multi day stage races, which sets this race apart from others. Would I recommend it? Definitely. It really is a different challenge from what we’re used to, and it takes in some stunning coast line and scenery. It really does have a country feel to it, this region, but you still have a beach life. If you fancy something a bit different, this is definitely it. The format means it’s more than manageable with a not ridiculous amount of training, and you’ll certainly feel happy with your effort when you finish. If you’re in a surf club and row boats, I would without doubt say this is a race to do at some stage in your rowing career with your mates. The team work on display by some of the crews was very impressive.

 

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I was very proud to be representing North Bondi surf club down there, even though I think a few locals might have thought I was having a laugh when they heard my accent. I don’t think they get many Irish lads on skis in that neck of the woods, only ones in smelly camper vans loaded with back packs. If you plan and having a shot at this race in the future, don’t hesitate to give me a call or flick me an email and I’ll help out as best I can with advice on what to expect and what else you might need for a successful journey south.

I’d like to thank everyone who sent messages of support through the week and helped in any way. Way too many to mention, but it was really appreciated.

 

See you on the water,

 

Stewart O’Regan

Think Kayak Australia

Mob:     0404 236 638
Web:     www.thinkkayak.com.au
Skype:  stewieor