A bunch of PD’s kick-started the season with La Patada over the past weekend up in Fingal Bay, Port Stephens. Not only did we paddle and party hard, we also managed to raise $300 for the charity UNICEF. Well done guys!

Saturday sessions
by Mandy

A mixture of OC1’s & skis are spread out across the white sandy beach with 20 eager amigos ready to glide across the beautiful clear water of Fingal Bay. Before hitting the water Juan Pablo Segundo (Billy) explained some simple guidelines we should always put in place every time we paddle to ensure a fun, safe session… PWEP: People, Weather, Equipment & Plan. (More info on PWEP to follow in PD’s Single Craft). Having checked the weather as part of our homework & having our equipment in place Juan Pablo Segundo explained the plan & yippee we’re ready to go.

The zany Mexicans were split into 4 small groups, each group left in the accomplished hands of one of the PD’s more knowledgeable taco eating Mexicans.

Paddling in the calm waters of Fingal Bay we covered a selection of skills with a focus on huli drills, flying the ama, more huli drills, anticipating & catching runners (unfortunately they were very small) oh & just when we started to dry out, another huli or two. A few lucky Mexicans spotted some dolphins in the distance but I guess we need to work on our speed as they were long gone by the time we reached the spot.

Off the water session focussed on the importance of safety, mishaps that have occurred in the past and what would you do in a similar situation. These scenarios and our responses will be detailed in the Single Craft section on the website.

By the end of day one the unease of wearing a leg rope & huli-ing had vanished, we all felt more confident on the water & recognise that if you follow the guidelines of PWEP you’ll enjoy your paddling & minimise the gravity of a tricky situation. Bring on the La Fiesta de la Patada!!

Time to Party – La Fiesta La Patada!
by Taco Shell

As the sun set over Fingle Bay, a crowd gathered at the local cantina—Don Eduardo, Juanita, Gonzalez, Juan Pablo Segundo and the like were drawn in by the sound of maracas and the smell of spicy seasoning. In the time it would take to realise you’ve sat on a cactus, Coronas were opened and the fiesta had begun…tortillas, burritos, and tacos…a colourful array of Mexican delights were readily prepared and wwwoured by the hungry PDs crew. Eduardo offered a chilli challenge, but was in a class of his own, the others content with a few jalapeños washed down with a series of tequila slammers.

After a game of Burito baseball, and consultation between the coaches on the taco telephones, it was time to crack the (almost) indestructible PD’s piñata (canoe shaped, of course). Many tried but failed – Christian’s approach would have toppled Darth Vader, but the canoe lived on, until a directed swipe finally cracked the hull.

No time for a siesta, lollies and other treats were collected and the party continued, with the Mexican accents becoming slower and slower as the tequila bottle emptied. Finally weariness took over, and with Juan Pablo Segundo’s carnival whistle ringing in our ears it was time to hang up the sombrero until tomorrow.

Sunday…over the border
by Mark

Hai curumba! Nursing hangovers bigger than Texas, we stumbled onto the beach for an informative pow-wow about typical repetitive injuries.

The winds were slightly stronger, obviously Quetzalcoatl had enjoyed the fiesta the previous night, but we were quite sheltered from the Westerly tending winds in the bay anyway.

Next we went through our PWEP routine (for people who enjoy partying) and Billy had us do the first of two short circuit races in the bay. Afterwards we hit the beach for a rest and some discussion on race tactics (apparently tactics are not those little mints you suck on), focussing on:
1. How to make the most of a turn (the famous $h!t sandwich);
2. How to draft someone on the ama-side without starting a fight; and,
3. When to put in your level 4 (drop the smart bomb).

We partnered up and practiced our new moves and then applied all we had learnt in our second race. As our weary bodies caught up with us we retired to the beach house and spent the rest of the day chilling out by watching Billy’s old PD dvd’s and munching on the left overs before heading back to Sydney.