Macca Cracks The AORS Code

on Mar 14 in Uncategorized by

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The Australian Ocean Racing Series has concluded after a season of frantic racing in locations all across the country, with the final race being Bridge to Beach on Sydney Harbour. There are not many images as iconic as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and lucky paddlers got to take them in, in all their splendor and majesty, at the start of this grueling 11km dash to Manly. Normally an 11km race isn’t too grueling, but the pace dropped by paddlers in their quest to get to the other side of this stunning water way is nothing short impressive.

Race start was an early 7.45am, so under the cover of darkness, cars with skis converged on Blues Point, just west of the Harbour Bridge. The morning was overcast and very still, but a 20knt Southerly wind was predicted, which would make things interesting on the water. Once Dean from Oceanpaddler had briefed all the competitors, it was time to jump onto craft, get a quick warm up done and head towards the start line. Ladies first, with the men’s start a few minutes later, followed by doubles. In what was one of the cleanest starts at Bridge to Beach I can remember, paddlers burst off the line and quickly formed into groups, all trying to find a wash to assist them. By now, the Southerly winds had started to kick up, which meant some side chop for the next few kms, but it’s a wind which gets better for paddlers as the race goes on as the course swoops into a Northerly direction as it heads into Manly. It didn’t take long for some of the form paddlers of the series to break the pack, with Cory Hill, Jeremy Cotter and Mackenzie Hynard getting away in a small group of three, and it was like this for the next 9 to 10 kms. From my vantage point inside the top 10 I could see Macca get into some trouble within the first 2km and find himself dropped, but he worked hard to close the gap and work back into the small group. Then like 3 street fighters in a mass brawl, the guys throwing out jabs, punches and hay makers in a quest to drop each other in what looked like a brutally hard battle, with not an inch given.

 

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As the course went on, the direction of the wind improved, and there were lots of small runs to be had, with the last section into Manly being a lot of fun. No chance to sit back for cruisey rides, but if you kept the pace ticking along, you were rewarded with some pops and drops to help you home a little faster. I’m lucky enough to take part in a lot of these great races, so I don’t get a chance to see the leading guys finish, so it’s always exciting to seek out our sponsored paddlers afterwards and hear how they’ve gone. I actually saw Cory first, and was expecting to congratulate him on yet another win, such has been his dominance of the AORS this season, unbeaten all year, simply stunning. To hear that Macca had edged him out for his first AORS win was very exciting, but you could see that Cory was excited too for his training partner and great mate. The respect and admiration some of the current crop of top ocean paddlers have for each other is terrific to see, and these guys set a great example for everyone on the water. When I managed to catch up with Macca, you could see how stoked he was and what this win meant to him. I wasn’t too far behind him on the stoke level though, to win such an iconic race is no mean feat, particularly against the current world champion and the rest of a high quality field, and it’s a privilege to be able to support a guy like him.

 

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Speaking to Macca once things had settled down a little afterwards, he was waxing lyrical about how his Uno had just flown across the last downwind section into the finish, the section he was able to put a small gap into his competitors and lock in his win. Macca raced an Elite construction model, fitted with our #3 rudder, the 7″ (for all the surfski frothers who take note of this stuff!).

 

 

Another big part of the weekend for Macca and Cory was the announcement of the Shaw and Partners Race Team. The boys have signed up with this new team, which is backed by Shaw and Partners Wealth Management, driven by the ultimate surfski maniac and supporter of the sport, Earl Evans. It’s going to be a very exciting year ahead for the boys as the race all around the globe representing this new team.

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So that closes out the AORS for the season. I only managed to get to a few of the events in the series, but the team at Oceanpaddlers did a very good job across the season and deserve the thanks of paddlers nationwide for their hard work. Well done guys.

 

 

See you on the water soon,

 

 

Stewart O’Regan

Think Kayak Australia

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