Rose Bay Challenge 2014

on Apr 22 in Uncategorized by



Autumn in Sydney can throw up any weather. Baking hot one day, hammering rain and wind the next. Unfortunately for the latest rough of the Open Water and Harbour series, we scored the latter. Nonetheless, a bunch of hardy paddlers rocked up to Rose Bay and took on “the Challenge”.

The team at Shark Island Paddlers yet again worked hard to make the annual Rose Bay Challenge a great success. Tents were set up early, and registration was swift and smooth. A two lap race was set, starting at Tingara Reserve, heading straight to Watsons Bay and back, with a portage at the half way point to make things interesting. The short course was one lap. The charts predicted very strong southerly conditions, with heavy rain, which probably kept a few people away. But action on the water was hot from the gun, with a jump start called by the race directors. Once cleanly away, a hot pace was set by a bunch of singles including Istvan Domokos, Paul Smith, Tommy Woodriff , John Diggin, Michael McKeogh and Adam Rowe. Once the fast doubles had caught up to pace after their slower jump ons, a lead group of about 8 craft paddled furiously for Watsons Bay. Andrew Love and Dale Jackson on a double, with Paul Smith, Tommy Woodriff and Adam Rowe got a break on the pack at the 1500 mark and from there the grind was on. Conditions actually had a lot more west in the wind than predicted, so the leg out of Rose Bay had a little side chop, but once turning the point for Watsons Bay, some small runs were there, but you had to work hard to make the most of them and try pop one or two to get any break on your rivals. Turning two massive yellow buoys, (which were nice and visible in the rainy weather), it was a head wind punch back to Steal Point and then a left turn back into Rose Bay. At this stage the double of Love and Jackson had broken away with Paul Smith, leaving a string of paddlers fighting to hold their positions. A mix of side chop and head wind awaited around the corner, and a slug fest to the portage at the beach. A quick hop off, run around the flags, and back onto the skis and we were away again for the second lap.


Double and Paul


A tight sprint finish saw the double of Love and Jackson take line honours from Paul Smith, the first single home. Local paddling legend, Tommy Woodriff was next across the line, with Northern Beaches fire fighter, John Diggin claiming third. Full results can be found here, and photos of the race here. Thanks to Allan Coker for some great photos, and for allowing me to use them for this report.

Congrats to everyone who braved the Rose Bay Challenge this year. It was a tough day out there, but no one was complaining afterwards, it was still a fun day on one of the best harbours in the world. Thanks to the Shark Island Paddlers for again staging a fantastic event, a great job as always.

The next round of the Open Water and Harbour Series takes us to Middle Harbour. It’s always a fantastic course, so be sure not to miss this one. Full details are available on the Surfski Australia website.

See you at the next round,

Stewart O’Regan

Think Kayak Australia

Mob:     0404 236 638
Skype:  stewieor