Makai Madness

on Feb 22 in mackenzie hynard, Racing, Team Think, Think, Uncategorized, Uno by

Macca 640 x 360

Second weekend of February, and it only means one thing. Hitching up a trailer of surfskis and heading south to Ulladulla for the annual Makai Cup. There’s always excitement watching the wind charts for the week ahead of the event, praying for the strong Summer North East breezes. Unfortunately the predictions weren’t looking too good for the 2018 running of the event, but once everyone got on the water and lined up and the stunning location of Sussex Inlet, our prayers were answered, with a consistent wind having kicked up, and small white caps visible out to sea, which meant it was going to be another fun run the whole way to Ulladulla Harbour. What is it with these Makai dudes, have they got Huey on speed dial?

After a clean (OK, so there was a bit of rolling) start, everyone got away and charged 4km out to sea to the massive green Makai Paddlers marker buoy. After paddling right over the top of a shark when the siren went, I suspected this was going to be a pretty good day on the water. Once around the turning buoy, super fun little runs lined up nicely, with a small east swell having a north east breeze chopping across its top. You had to be disciplined in your surfing, take off right, and surf left. It was technical, but amazing fun.

The escort boat lead the way, and guys like Mackenzie Hynard, Dean Gardiner and Andy Mowlem headed after it and on a deep line. I turned the buoy with Cade Barnes, and decided to work on his line towards Ulladulla. Dane Sloss came across onto that line, and I tapped along just behind them until about the 14km mark when the video boat came over and the guys decided to put on a show by hammering some runs. I found myself with no one around to pace off, so I kept plugging away on the line of the boys who had now worked about 500mts ahead of me by the time we got to the 18km mark. At this stage though I’d worked out I was probably way too shallow and was going to have to tough it out on a very tight line into the Harbour, copping a lot of backwash off the cliffs, while the guys on the deeper line had a nicer run into the Harbour on the east swell. But hey, you live and learn. One of the great things about racing surfskis and doing downwinds is not only doing your best to surf as much of the energy available, but also working out the fastest route to the finish. My mistake cost me two spots in the end, but I was really happy with my best ever finish at Makai and 8th overall and 2nd in the 40s.

Andy 640 x 360







Team Think had an awesome day on the water, with Mackenzie Hynard taking a great win on his Uno. Andy Mowlem was over from NZ for work and decided to make the trip down, and was rewarded with a cracking 5th spot, so we had 3 Unos in the top 8 and the win. A very solid day for us, and a display of what the Uno can do in technical conditions.

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Once war stories were shared on the beach after the race, it was time to pop upstairs to the cafe for a few cold ones and the prize giving. In usual Makai fashion, this was quick and easy, and thanks to a lot of sponsors, some great cash prizes were handed out. Think Kayak Australia are very proud to have supported this race for the last few seasons and hope to do so for many more to come. Two lucky paddlers walked away with $500 vouchers off a new Think ski.

Stew and Macca 640






















There’s something special about the Makai Cup. A combination of terrific scenery, great course, downwind, the community engagement and support from the locals, it captures the very essence of surfski paddling. If you’ve never done this event, make sure it’s on your list for next year. And if you have done it previously, well, we’ll see you there again next year, because we know you’ll be back too, just like us.

Catch you on the water,

Stewart O’Regan

Think Kayak Australia

Mob: 0404 236 638
Skype: stewieor