9/10 My First Downwind Race, My First Openwater Race
I’ve been paddling outrigger for 4 years now & decided that it was time to do some OC1 racing. You can find out more about the Hoe Horo series on www.ausoutrigger.com
This was partly inspired by Claire-dy’s offer to share her new Anderson with me & partly a desire to put myself a little beyond my comfort zone. OK, so the first race was only 6km and within my comfort zone ….. and I race-christened Claire-dy’s canoe 🙂
The 2nd Hoe Horo race was a downwind race, Palm Beach to Mona Vale. The temptation of being pushed to the finish line was very tempting so I decided to give it a go, even though it was 12km. When race day arrived the wind was a strong (20kt) NNW. Sitting in my car at the start I was very tempted to give it a miss. The start leg was straight into the wind. Yuck! I walked up the hill and the open water side was much calmer. I figured it was less than 2km to reach the good stuff and then the winds would help me to the finish sp I signed up.
The start was horrible. My lack training on an OC1 recently showed as the other paddlers pulled away from me. Hard slog around the headland, but that was still better than the headwind start & finally my downwind race was a downwind race. Yay! I had 2 paddlers in my sights & set about settling into a groove, that took another km. I was surprised at how good I felt, the wind was definitely helping. And then I picked up a runner, and then another. Woo hoo! The runners helped me pass one of the other paddlers! Sure, the second start pack paddlers were now passing me, but I had passed someone. I focused on trying to make up ground/water on the next paddler. The runners were great, and I was able to hold some for more than one set. That is such an awesome feeling.
And then the finish was in sight. There was even little runners to the beach. It was great to see so many paddlers on the beach welcoming the slower members of the pack home. I am so glad that I did this race. I had an absolute blast!
For the newer OC1/OC2 paddlers that are comfortable in open water I definitely recommend taking the opportunity to race if you have the chance.
(note for new paddlers that may not know me … while I haven’t done any OC1 training for the last 2 years I have spent that time playing on a surf ski in the harbour & off the occasional non-surf beach)