Challenging conditions made for another great day’s racing at Long Reef on January 31

Challenging conditions made for another great day’s racing at Long Reef on January 31. East winds and swell on a north-south orientated course required every ounce of focus to keep working for the runs while maintaining composure in an unstable canoe.

For steerers this made it the ‘renovator’s delight’ of ocean races. The side swell and chop provided the opportunity to both test and enhance their skills but. At the same time part of them was wishing there was just a simple trailing swell to power onto.

Coincidentally the conditions were very similar to those faced at last month’s PD Downwind Day. Being able to draw on our continually expanding library of ocean experience like this was a big factor in being able to paddle so well.

Also thanks to Mel in tirelessly working through the logistics and for Alex in taking time out of his day(s) to get our canoes there and back. There are a whole bunch of little things that Mel has picked up on to help race days run smoother and we’ll be working on these in the races ahead. If you have any ideas to add please let Mel know.

Purple Storm are just starting out in ocean racing and PD efforts for this race helped them gain some valuable experience both in racing and rigging. One of the Storm’s coaches Bec McKelvie passes on her congrats for our great results and her thanks for the lend of our canoes as well as the support were able to give for not only the day but over the last few months.

Thanks to Michelle for putting together a great spreadsheet summarising our results and comparing them to our Five Islands results… 2010 OC6 Results Tally v3.xls. Info like this will allow us to start to wwwelop some performance goals.

Graeme and Jacob’s pics from the day can be found on the PD Gallery as well as Jacob’s website. Thanks guys!

Where to now?
We’ve got a bunch of great regattas coming up over the next few weeks leading up to the State Titles in March. Training will start to shift from working on our building blocks of base, level 4, technique and ocean skills to bringing them all together become more race specific focus

The SGC Squad is up and running for those wanting to take on the Gold Coast Cup as well as catch the improvement train into the State Titles top crews.

Mens Wrap-up

A great result with the A crew winning a marathon for the first time in quite a while. They will have to keep up the hard work though with Cronulla and Five Islands closing the gap compared to the Wollongong race.

A Crew – Great surfing in tough conditions both out and in. Also a good response to calls of bringing the focus back into the canoe. Areas to improve on are keeping strokes parallel to the canoe, keeping in sync towards the end of the race and locking in our changes with seat 3 huts.

B Crew – Great surfing demonstrated by picking up runners that other crews didn’t. Also good control and use of fitness in passing and putting distance on other crews as well as considered by some to be more attractive than the A crew. Areas to improve are sharpening up huli recovery skills, maintaining of focus and inner beauty.

Women’s Wrap-up
As MIchelle’s result spreadsheets confirm the B crew is definitely closing the gap up to the A crew.

At the same time the A crew did much better, pulling further away from ALL the crews that also competed at Wollongong (except our B crew!!)

For the women’s crews some of the things that worked well were excellent starts, good solid power throughout the race and turns.

Areas they want to improve are better focus on themselves with other crews around, more efficient bailing technique, stronger strokes either side of the huts to maintain boat run and keeping it strong after transitioning from the adrenaline of the start.

Relay Wrap-up
How much fun was that! Challenging conditions with seat 1s pitching into the air on the way out, great runs surfing around the reef on the way back and a mid-race water change to test the full range of outrigging skills.

Special congrats to our first time races (El, Laurette, Kerry, Anne, Ian, Nathan, Bryan) that had a ‘baptism of fire’ with some of the most challenging conditions of the day during the relay event. It was a big step up that they can all take a lot of pride in taking. Many thanks to our experienced paddlers for also making that step possible.

Adding to our baptisms of fire, congrats to Todd and Charmian for doing a great job steering their first races!

All crews showed good concentration and determination to keep it together in such rough conditions, and with a range of experience in the canoes. The key area to improve is to become more coordinated around catching runs by hutting at the right time, varying the rate with canoe speed. Balmoral sessions are the ones to sign up for here!