Race report by Lisa Green for the 40km Bayview to Shelly Beach Relay held on 1 February 2009.

I think I can safely say that during the 40km Bayview to Shelly Beach Relay held on 1 February our PD paddlers got a little bit more… and less, than they bargained for! More fun, more experience, more crew changes, more challenges, more car swaps, more real and imagined shark sightings and more excellent placings….. and less teeth, less leg circulation, less time, less wind and less swell than expected… and that is just what I know about!

As far as my experience goes…I had a great time, being lucky enough to experience two completely different races in one and being part of the OC2 team made up of Charmian, Mark, Mel, Michelle, Nic and Norm.

For my first leg it was a hard fought, relatively flat, approx. 10km paddle from Bayview to Pittwater with Norm, who provided the most amazing strength from the back of the canoe. We had a blistering start, almost mowing down 2 OC1’s in front of us. Other highlights included a bit of a stand off with a grumpy guy on an OC1, getting some nice pushes off some boat wash, and passing a couple of guys that we had been sitting on the tail of for half of the race after a good lift.

I then got to do the last leg of approx. 8.5km from Long Reef to Shelley Beach with Nic. Having been well informed about the potential dangers of Long Reef Reef, we headed off with eyes wide open, ready to observe, react and anticipate. We had a few anxious moments over some decent sized swell threatening to break, the challenge of trying to push down swell only to suddenly get hit by swell from the other direction, a weird moment paddling through a patch of suddenly eerily flat water with a large flock of seagulls who played chicken with us, and for me a giggling fit to the point where I had to stop paddling for a couple of strokes after a miscommunication with Nic. We had a strong finish with a lift for what seemed like at least 2km, with our sights set on pulling in and passing a guy in front of us before the finish, which we did.

A big thank you to Billy on behalf of the team, thanks to him we felt well prepared and confident to take on the race.