2017 Oceanseries

This is the relatively new series for the PaddleNSW Open Water Committee. There are 4 events in the 2016-17 Ocean Series. The series races are spread between October and February (although the Feb race was postponed due to bad weather). Here is the official website.

Here are the dates for the 2016-2017 Harbour Series:

2016-17 Ocean Series

Above: the fleet sets off at the Cronulla Bay Runner

Ocean Series #4 - Bulli Seacliff Ocean Challenge - Bulli SLSC

From Suzie Rhydderch

Bulli SLSC organised a stunning day for us all to come down and paddle off shore on Saturday 6th May - clear skies, mild temperatures, calm seas... And for someone not overly confident in the off-shore racing, minimal swell to get off shore and back into the beach was so encouraging to see. The briefing was simple - head straight out, keeping the coast on your left until you get to a pink buoy, and then turn around, coming back with the coast on your right (oh, and mind the reef - this is not an optional portage!)

Of course nothing is ever quite that simple... As we marshalled for the start, the NW'ly arrived, and threatened to blow us all over the starting line and out to sea. But with the wind, came the promise of better downwind conditions (you just had to get through the upwind onslaught first!) It was about 2km into the upwind section that I was wishing for a few more muscles to help me get along faster. I watched as my fellow Lane Cove paddlers became dots in the distance - including Jezza, Pete Conway, Rodrigo... (Dave Coward was probably already on his return leg!) But then my focus shifted to practicing some of the skills required in ocean racing - taking the best line to avoid some of the breeze, watching the water for any hint of a run going my way, navigating the rebound from the cliffs, trying to lose the jet ski that I was convinced indicated I was the last paddler out there - turns out not quite, they just had impeccable water safety! All the mind games you play, as you persist through the hard section just for a taste of the down wind leg - and it was oh so sweet!

Rounding the pink buoy for the 9km paddle home, it was like a different race - the wind was behind us, and there were runs for the taking - the focus shifted to looking down and just ahead to see where the "holes" were, and aiming the nose of my boat for those sections of water. At this point in time, it mattered so much less that I was near the back of the field - I was simply having too much fun and loving the ride home. At one point on the way back, I caught a glimpse of the escarpment, that made for such a dramatic backdrop to our race course. Coupled with the azure blue of the ocean, I found myself thinking more than once, "where else would you rather be!"

Coming in to the beach, it's true to say that I was definitely making up numbers at the wrong end of the field. But on reflection, to have been out there and giving it my all, in what were pretty challenging conditions wind-wise, I had a blast, and will be back for more!

Thanks to the support from the Lane Cove paddlers who made the trip south - I think we all finished with a big smile on our face, and that's what it's all about really!

Above: Finishing times for LCRK Members

Above: the 2017 race (image from SLOC FB page)

The Ocean Series results at 3 May 2017)

Below is a synopsis of the results so far from the Open Water Committee PaddleNSW (Courtesy of Tim Hookins):-

Let's re-focus on the series pointscore which will climax at the Seacliff Ocean Challenge at Bulli SLSC next Saturday 6th May. To refresh your memory, you must have done 3 of the 4 races to be in it. Points are 50 for first, 48 for second etc. There will be series money prizes for 1st , 2nd and 3rd in one of the divisions chosen by a lucky draw. Divisions with three or more qualifying paddlers will be eligible.

In the 23-39 Female Ski division it is Suzie Rhydderch in front with 142 points from 3 races. Heidi Carlyle could take the crown if she wins on Saturday. In the 40 plus Women’s Surfski Sarah Davis will win if she just fronts up. We look forward to seeing you Sarah! Same with Fiona Tschaut who will win with the full 150 points if she wins on Saturday.

Luke Gosling already has the win in the bag with 148 points from three races but Sam Djodan might take the gloss off if he wins at Bulli.

Sasa Vujanic is going to be hard to beat with his 148 points already but Wayne Dunbar, Mark Anderson or Keithley Burn could make life a bit harder for him. There are 7 other contenders who could be among the medals. They are: Brendan Crowe, Andrew Wilkinson, David Horkan Mitchell Coffey and and Jakub Obr. The over 23 Spec ski class has a wide range of points and is pretty wide open for placegetters. At the top are Mike Clempson and Jonathan Dowling, but Dommie Domokos or Pep Font could win by just doing well on Saturday.

The big category in the series is the 40 to 49 Men ski class. It is led by the ever reliable Davo Coward with Stewie O’Regan second and Steve Thomas third. But if Tommy Woodriff just fronts and does OK he will get the 150 points and the horse will have bolted as they say. There have been 36 paddlers in this division including some very able athletes like Jimmy Walker, Dave Tudor and Cade Barnes and the competition will be stiff on Saturday.

The 50 to 59 Mens ski class is a quirky affair with Micheal McKeogh as usual out in front a little way ahead of Creagh Bouttell who has been paddling really well the last few races. But if Brett Greenwood paddles and does reasonably well his total will edge close to the magic 150 points. Who knows?

In the 60 plus Men’s ski Gary Hancock will as usual be very hard to beat. Tim Hookins is miraculously in second place with Tom Jones a bit behind. Mark Gillett has also been putting in placegetting performances recently. To round off, if Kayleene Eagles just appears on the water she will get the full 150 points to take the Women’s Open OC1. Be there Kayleene! Bet she will.

In the short course the very competitive Robert McVicar will take the Men's Open ski medal if he paddles. In the Men’s SUPs it will be between Trent Shaw and Rohan Evans, while if Traci Dustalek shows up she will take the Open Female SUP gold medal.

We look forward to seeing you there!