2022 Harbourseries

The Harbour Racing Series offers paddlers new to open water unique courses in the lower risk racing environment of enclosed harbour and lake waters. Long courses are generally between 14 and 18kms, while short courses are between 8 and 12kms.

The 2022 series will run on the first weekend of the month between May and October.

  • Race 1 - Pittwater Challenge, Sunday 1st May
  • Race 2 - The Iron Cup, Sunday 5th June
  • Race 3 - Newy Harbour Classic, Sunday 3rd July
  • Race 4 - Dolls Point Classic, Sunday 7th August
  • Race 5 - Brisbane Waters Open, Saturday 3rd September
  • Race 6 - Hacking Classic, Saturday 1st October

Harbour Series Results

[[ https://www.webscorer.com/seriesresult?seriesid=278957|Harbour Series Results (webscorer)]]

Hacking Classic - 1 Oct 2022

Race 6 of the 2022 PaddleNSW Harbour Racing Series was on Saturday 1st October 2022 - Gunnamatta Bay, Cronulla NSW 2226 - Hosted by Cronulla Sutherland Kayak Club.

Newy Harbour Classic - 25 Sep 2022 (take 2!)

Race 3 (Take 2) of the 2022 PaddleNSW Harbour Racing Series was the Newy Harbour Classic, hosted by Newy paddlers on Sunday 25 Sep 2022 – Carrington Beach, Tully Drive, Carrington NSW

Above: Results for LCRKers

Brisbane Water Open - 3 Sep 2022

Thanks for being a part of this year’s Brisbane Water Open, Race 5 of the 2022 PNSW Harbour Series on Saturday 3 September 2022. A shortened course on a rainy day - with lots of happy paddlers!

Dolls Point Classic - 13 Aug 2022

Race report - from Andrew Pratley
Individuals and groups that pursue a specific outcome are naturally more successful than those that spread their time and energy around. What's rare is for a successful partnership to form between different people or groups. It's not because people don't see the value in other ideas; it's more likely because we find it hard to give up control. Whilst we might understand that 'what got you here may not get you there', it's easier to believe in your ideas than others.

Partnerships are not a natural formation. Almost every aspect of society is hierarchical, from education to employment. The student knows they will never be equal to their teacher. The staff member will never be equal to their boss. In the sport, where this paradigm could be broken, we choose captains of teams to create a hierarchy when it doesn't need to exist.

For partnerships between individuals and groups to succeed, the two parties must be confident enough to be open to someone else's ideas. Counterintuitively, the weaker party dominates a partnership, ultimately making it fail. The better (or more competent) person is often the weaker party, which goes back to the earlier point, the more successful you've been, the less likely you'll trust outside ideas. How could someone else know more than me when I've been so successful?

In art and business, the failure of partnerships is described as 'creative differences'. In athletics and sports, it's dropping someone because you found a better individual and don't understand the concept of building a team. Teams of two people are the embodiment of a partnership model. There is nowhere to hide. If there is a problem, there is only one person to blame.

Sports involving a net seem to be unique to the two-person partnership model (tennis, badminton, volleyball), which requires the team to work together to succeed. In all of these sports, the goal is to anticipate each other. The best teams are often composed of different people who individually never achieve the same level of success. For example, few top 10 tennis players win a doubles grand slam. Conversely, the people that do win doubles grand slams you wouldn't know. Formula 1 is the antithesis of the partnership model; the team members actively compete against each other. Cycling sits somewhere between the two extremes.

Kayaking is akin to lumberjacking (called loggersports (see Wikipedia), or as I just made up, wood sports) in that success is a product of staying in sync and minimising errors over a long period. You can never make up for a missed stroke; all you can do is try to avoid them. In both sports, technique matters more than raw power. Maybe the Doubles Cup could be extended to include a two-person sawing competition on the athletics field in 2023...?

Above: lumberjacking (single blade)...

On Saturday night, Naomi and I saw Taikoz on stage with Ensemble Offspring and Waangenga Blanco. The arts arguably pioneered partnerships between individuals and have refined the approach. I would imagine at some point, two people with different styles, possibly no common language, drew on a wall to capture a scene or event. That's evolved to what we see today, or in our case, Saturday night. The challenge is for a genuine partnership, not a master and subservient relationship. A partnership doesn't mean equality of outcome; it's equality (and respect) of ideas. The metaphor of a dance between two people seems apt in this context as Taikoz (drummers) performed with Waangenga Blanco (dancer) to capture a moment of historical significance.

As we rounded the top buoy on Sunday, the wind came across us; our doubles partnership was evident. Over the race's first half, we'd progressively moved up through the field from somewhere in the middle to behind the front group.

Four weeks ago, if you'd seen us out on Sunday in the rain on Lane Cove River for our first doubles paddle, few could have imagined us pushing at the front of a race. Even more unlikely a harbour series race, given the event seemed to suit neither of us. As was evident to everyone (fortunately only three others) on the river on that fateful Sunday, my stroke was abysmal. Using a paddle a few inches too short wasn't helping. Dropping my shoulders, having an uneven catch, poor rotation, and no foot drive seems to capture all the errors you can make. I am sure I had more, and even Tony probably thought, at some point, I might stop pointing out the problems. That or he wanted to give someone else a chance to get a word in. No one would have anticipated that we'd be close to the front group less than a month later in only our second paddle in the V10 double. For those not there after the AGM, I recounted what was said to me as we exited the pontoon (having reached 14.5km/hr in the V10) "Your technique is not as terrible as I thought it would be." That confidence inspiring pep talk ensured that neither of us went into the race with any expectations.

Naomi has crafted a technically perfect stroke on rivers in fast, tippy K boats. Then extended the distance to hold this effort. I spent 2021 by myself outside the heads in the worst weather I could find, battling to stay upright and overcome my fear of the water (the latter never happened). I just got used to 3m breaking waves in 20kn+ winds. Paddling along the cliff line, I knew that one missed stroke might result in me not coming home. Once you make peace with this, there's less to be scared of. I'd rarely see another person on a ski, and there were many days when I didn't see any vessels. On more than one occasion, as I was heading out, all the boats came back in, and I wondered if this was a sign I couldn't see. I was never interested in racing; my goal was to be self-sufficient and survival.

Returning to the race, all the advice, feedback, corrective action and kind words (?) started to be seen in conditions that suited me. Doubles skis are inherently more challenging to paddle well than singles due to the nature of the conditions and having to work with your partner. To paddle a ski well, you must trust the boat will hold its line. In a double, you also have to trust your partner. I brought my knowledge to the team for the first time on the water together. When Naomi was tentative, I was able to set a cadence we could both stay at and not lose any distance to the singles. By being in the front, I made decisions about our line, when to make the catch, and, occasionally, some helpful feedback.

To those watching from the outside, we might seem a strange pairing. The newest member to the club (lapsed multiple times but returning) with the best female paddler in the club. My early time trial results didn't indicate any great potential. Fortunately, these were probably overlooked. What couldn't be seen is our commitment to being open to ideas. I re-joined LCRK because I realised my technique was non-existent, and I had no desire to race. By turning up on a Wednesday night, I was forced to change how I viewed a sport I'd made into an endurance activity. Why not ask to paddle with someone who is technically excellent? It's strange to be on the water without multiple dry bags of food and clothes. I can't speak on behalf of Naomi, but I can guess that she might see the potential in someone who considers a 200km bike an easy day and, after six months of going to a gym, lifts weights that not many people get to after a few years. Maybe there is something to having a high level of endurance and strength in kayaking.

Rounding the final buoy and heading into the wind for the final four kilometres, we settled in behind the two single skis we'd been with during the crosswind. The right strategic decision was to conserve energy, sit on the wash, and try to be in the race at the end. Having done a lot of work in the race's first half, there was little to be gained in fighting to get to the front. Whilst we could sit comfortably on the back, pushing out into the wind, showed that for all the improvement we'd made, there's still a lot more to go as we couldn't get past the single skis. Had we held on in the last 500m, we probably could have come fifth as the skis surged and raced each other to the line, oblivious to us only seconds back.

I think the defining feature of a successful partnership is that both individuals or groups become a slightly different version of themselves but don't lose their identity. As we rode home after the race (the only people to come via bike), our lives diverged. Naomi spent the afternoon at music practice; I went to the gym. Back in our worlds, I doubt the people we were with could imagine the fun we'd had that morning. Four weeks ago, I wouldn't have attended a performance at the Seymour Centre on a Saturday night, and Naomi wouldn't have ridden out to a kayaking race.

As we left the city on Sunday morning to head south, the soft hues of the sky were slowly fading to make way for a bright, brilliant winter day. Dolls Point is arguably the beach in Sydney that best represents the metaphor of bringing different people together without losing their identity. There's no other beach in Sydney that's as culturally diverse. The same stretch of sand with people racing high-end skis had women in hijabs carrying hookahs down to the sand. Dolls Point seemed an apt location for our first race together.

On a personal note, it was nice to contribute to the club, LCRK coming equal first on points (Mark Hempel came 5th, and we were 7th). This result could only happen because the club believes in partnerships with its members. Few other clubs would make hiring club equipment so easy and accessible. That's the work of many people over many years - all of whom I'd like to thank. The result of this is we were able to go out and represent the club and just happened to do okay in our first race together.

Above: paddling in symphony...

Naomi Johnson
I have a policy of saying yes when people ask me to paddle doubles, on the basis one never knows where it might lead. At worst – and honestly, I’ve yet to find that worst – you can have a laugh at the BBQ about a boat that just won’t sit flat or run straight, and at best there is that fabulous feeling of two bodies working in a way that is somehow greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Andrew and I have ‘doubled up’ a few times in the last month, choosing the club Cobra with me in the front for flatwater paddling and gradually refining technique and timing over a timetrial, a Saturday squad and a very wet Sunday morning session. Our quick pre-AGM spin in the club V10 double – this time with Andrew in the front to keep the nose down – confirmed that we could get it running over 14kph in a flatwater sprint but gave no inkling of how we might fare in the harbour conditions of Dolls Point.

My expectations of Botany Bay course choppiness were based on the 20 Groynes race way back in January, which were interesting enough to ensure full concentration but never really outside my comfort zone. With over 40 boats in our start, Andrew managed to park us between some crash hot single skis. Off went the siren and, somehow, we were in with the mix of the initial sprint, just missing out on Dave and Suzi’s wash and rounding the first pink buoy with plenty of serious competition. Any thoughts of settling in and cruising were quickly dashed, with both of us itching to work our way up the field. We managed to relax the stroke just a bit from Andrew’s super-enthusiastic rate to something I felt was sustainable and powerful. Chop was manageable, we had the glint of cool winter sun on the water and the thrill of the race increased as we caught Mark, then Kieran on the way up to the top turn.

Rounding the top turn, with a 4km run alongside the main airport runway and my learning curve for the day began. What had been a pleasant tailwind was now buffeting us diagonally from the side, drawing up a swell made me want to sit still and brace. Andrew had other ideas, if anything increasing the intensity of his effort to catch the guys just in front, while casually shouting “put the power down” and even “timing” over his shoulder!

Lesson 1: Trust, trust that a ski will move and feel different to K1, especially when there are two people in it. Trust that I’m unlikely to be the one to tip it in when the guy in the front has 30kgs on me, and that it’s still better to keep moving forwards. Trust that someone who goes on solo paddling adventures outside the heads might feel totally at home in the ‘relatively’ benign chop of Botany Bay.

Lesson 2: Open the venturi! By the time we rounded final turn buoy and headed for home I was sitting in a bucket mostly full or water. Enough said?

The final back to Doll’s Point was a push into both waves and headwind. Andrew tucked us neatly in behind Mark Hempel and Jamie McCrudden from Illawarra, with Mark on the front and doing most of the work. I was beginning to feel the race in a way that I wouldn’t 12kms into a flatwater marathon, and tried to focus on rotation, power and timing while watching my mostly submerged feet turn a little purple. Despite some pushes to pass Mark and Jamie, and intermittent returns to Andrew’s super-enthusiastic stroke rate, we couldn’t quite match the singles in the final kilometre home. Seventh overall still had me grinning ear-to-ear, with heart rate thumping from the effort.

Lesson 3: Always say yes to doubles. They’re fun and exhilarating, and one never knows where the partnership might lead!

And a massive thanks to Kieran for transporting the boat, paddles and lifejackets. It’s fabulous to be part of such a supportive and enthusiastic club.

Results for LCRKers and regular TTers

Iron Cup - 5 June 2022

Above: Results for LCRKers

Location: Salton Reserve, St George's Crescent, Drummoyne NSW

Early Bird entries close Monday 30 May, final entries close Wednesday 1 June

Race 2 of the 2022 PaddleNSW Harbour Racing returns to Drummoyne for The Iron Cup, hosted by Pacific Dragons.

Race Check-in: 7am to 8:15am

Briefing via email and on-site (Covid permitting) at 7:50am

Race Start:
8:25am Division 1 – Open Long Course (Wave 1)
8:27am Division 2 – Intermediate Long Course (Wave 2)
8:30am Divisions 3 & 4 – Short Course (Inc SUP) (Wave 3)

Pittwater Challenge 29 Apr 2022 REPORT

Tingira Challenge. 9th April 2022 REPORT

from Tim Hookins

After weeks of rain and the event being delayed by a week because of bad weather, Saturday dawned with a bit of sunshine and a lot of shiny happy faces at the Tingira Reserve, Rose Bay. The ever-present Rozanne Green was there to direct people to registration in the Yacht clubhouse where, breaking with tradition, they were handing out lucky door prizes at the beginning, not at the presentation. Good thinking!

There was a briefing on the sandy flat in front of the start buoys but when the short course starting hooter went no-one moved. The competitors had to be shooed off like chicks scared to leave the nest! The course started from in front of the Tingira Reserve to the seaward side of Shark Island and then clockwise around the buoys to near Watsons Bay. The turn was at Village Point in front of Parsley Bay at the outer mark and then home. Same for the long course but the long course paddlers had to turn round a buoy in front of the start/finish line and then go directly back to Village Point for a second lap. There were quite good little runs from Bottle and Glass Point back into Rose Bay and people riding those managed to get a little advantage there.

Our first boat home was Dave Coward paddling the double with Suzie Rhydderch. They were 8th home in a time of 1:09:14 just 2 minutes and 42 seconds behind Casey Haynes the winner. Young Casey paddles at Wollongong and is ripping things up this season. To illustrate how good Dave and Suzie’s effort was, they were ahead of John Diggin who has won the event in previous years and the evergreen Tommy Woodriff. Both these two are paddling really well this year.

Above: Dave and Suzie round the turn. Photo - Snakey

The results for some may have been affected by the Watsons Bay ferry which hooted and stopped a group of the Long Course paddlers. They just had to stop and let the ferry through. Then of course there were those that tried to get the wash ride of the ferry!

Our first single once again was Mark Hempel who was 16th overall in a time of 1:12:40 just 6 minutes 12 seconds behind the winner. Next from Lane Cove was Peter Conway in 33rd position and Ben Hackett 37th out of 71 long course finishers. Then was Tim Hookins in 64th place in a time of 1:30:45. Tim managed to come in ahead of 7 other paddlers and was second in the over 60s category.

The short course featured our Jeff Collins who came in 9th in a time of 44 minutes and 36 seconds. He probably deserved to be higher up the order except that a bunch of Shark Island Paddlers including Jezza Spear elected to do the short course because they were managing the event!

Above: Jeff positions himself for the SOH and SHB. Photo - Snakey

There were twenty finishers in the short course. The short courses of events like this and the Mosman Marathon are excellent opportunities to get your ski out in the open water and extend your skills especially if you are a bit apprehensive of progressing beyond the river.

Another improvement to the series made by the Shark Island Paddlers was the dropping of the “Intermediate” course entries. Everyone doing the long course was in the same result section. This is the way it should be. The Intermediates have done exactly the same course as the Open Paddlers.

The event now features a lot of silverware trophies and sponsorship prizes which were distributed to grateful paddlers. The Shark Island Paddlers including people like Rozanne Green, Jezza Spear and many others were out there in force and ran the event impeccably. Our thanks to them.

Mosman Marathon - 26 Feb 2022 REPORT

Race Report by Tim Hookins
The rain was pelting down in the hours before the start but that wasn’t going to deter the 153 entrants to the Mosman Marathon held in perfect but very rainy conditions. The start was at about 8am on Saturday 26th February at Middle Harbour Yacht Club.

With the rain pouring down the briefing was held in the new Sandbar restaurant of the yacht club and the paddlers were sent on their way in three starts: First the 20k intermediates including all types of craft, then the 20k open and finally the 10k short course paddlers. All starts included the doubles.

See attached short and long course maps. The start was a belter across to Grotto Point, round Washaway Beach to Dobroyd Head and then across to Middle Head. This was where the less experienced started to slow down! The chop and sideways swell made the flat-water paddlers grit their teeth and concentrate for a few kilometres until they got beyond Georges Head. Then flat-water specialists got ahead on the flat up to a buoy just before Bradley’s Head. Then back the same way. Those comfortable in the chop had their revenge once again between Middle Head and Dobroyd Head as they were able to ride the chop and sideways waves. By the time we finished the rain was gone and it all seemed as though it had never been there.

Above: Short course

There were quite a few doubles who came in early. Our James Harrington partnered up with Bruno Colos to come in third across the line in a time of 1:24:07, four minutes and 20 seconds behind the winners. The first single ski was John Diggin, known to many in Manly-Warringah as a taciturn but competitive paddler.

Once again our Mark Hempel was the quickest from Lane Cove. He came in 14th out of 96 who did the long course. Mark’s performance out in the rougher stuff is constantly improving. Next from Lane cove was Craig Hutchinson in a time of 1:37:50, then Craig Macfarlane 1:40:24. David Young and Allison Bilbow modestly entered in the intermediate division and came in in the very acceptable time of 1:42:00. They of course won the intermediate division but would still have been 34th out of 72 in the open division.

Peter Conway came in next in a time of 1:43.55 followed by Don Johnstone in 1:48.40 and Tim Hookins rounded off the Lane Cove contribution in a time of 1:54:34. You might think this was a slow time, but Tim was ahead of 20 other paddlers.

Also in the mix were some mixed doubles (LCRKers and friends!) including Suzie Rhydderch and Dave Coward 1:27:59 and Jeff Collins 21st in the short course in a double with Tracey Work in 53:35.

The atmosphere of the event was very upbeat especially at the presentation by Ed who is one of the Sydney Harbour Surfski Club coaches among other things. The SHSC folk are a rowdy lot and the organisation led by Luke Hordern put on a seamless event in difficult circumstances. The race was jointly hosted by SHSC and Manly Warringah Kayak Club. Peter Grimes the President of MWKC and Luke Hordern of SHSC were the joint race directors. Vaikobi race gear were the sponsors of the event and handed out a lot of cool gear featuring their new sunglasses as lucky door prizes.

Last week I forgot to mention Tom Burke, a new member of Lane Cove who took 18th spot at the Bridge to Beach in a time of 53 minutes and 48 seconds. This put him in 111th spot overall in a very competitive field and only about 4 minutes behind Mark Hempel our Lane Cove leader. Well done Tom!

Above: Long Course

Above: Don Johnstone photo: Allan Coker

Above: Pete Conway photo: Allan Coker

Above: Tim Hookins photo: Allan Coker

Above: David Young/Allison Bilbow photo: Allan Coker

Bridge to Beach - 20 Feb 2022 REPORT

Race Report by Tim Hookins
The 2022 Manly Wharf Bridge to Beach Race was held last Sunday 20th Feb on a glorious sunny morning with a light breeze blowing in the paddlers faces as they paddled down Sydney Harbour.

The race, featuring 351 skis, sups, paddleboards and a kayak, started in Kirribili Bay at just after 8am with nine paddlers from Lane Cove competing. The course took us round Bradley’s Head, past Middle Head and finished on the little beach of Manly Wharf.

Our quickest was Mark Hempel who came in 51st overall but a very creditable seventh in the highly competitive over 50 men’s ski class in a time of 49 minutes 24 seconds. Our next was David Young who came 10th in the over 60s and in 169th overall in a time of 56 minutes and 39 seconds.

The water was pretty calm with some nice little ripples starting from Georges Head that could be run down every now and then.

It was an event attended by the best ocean paddlers in Australia, many of them travelling from Queensland where they all seem to have congregated on the Gold Coast. The winner of the Open Men’s ski was Tom Norton who hails from Tassie in a time of 42.26 followed by young local Luke Morrison, 43.03, and third was world surfski champion Cory Hill in a time of 43.10. He was quite unfazed at being beaten into third spot.

The quickest in the Open Women’s class was Danielle McKenzie in a time of 46.29, only 4 minutes slower than the winning men’s single. She came in 21st overall!

Jeff Bannerman called out to me just before the start saying he had been out on the harbour but has not been seen at Lane Cove for a few years. He came in 174th but 43rd in the men’s open in a time of 56.49.

Naomi Johnstone put in a gritty 57.56 to come in 8th in the Open women and 199th overall. She was followed one second later by Liberty and Matt Blundell, Team Pro-Kayaks, in a mixed double in 57.57. They were in 199th and 200th places respectively.

Don Johnstone came in in 58.43, in 211th overall and 166th in the men’s ski open class. Next was Tim Hookins in 60.47 followed by Tom Simmat in 68.41. Tim and Tom were 2nd and 3rd respectively in the over 70s category, both podiumites.

Also in the fray was Peter Fitzgerald 41st in double with Dave Smurf Smith 48:44 (7th double), Tom Burke 110th 53:48, Justin Ryan 118th 54:15.

The race was run by Dean Gardiner of Oceanpaddler supporting the FragileX association. It is a great event for starting ocean or harbour racing, shortish, and with a lot of rescue boats looking on.

Tom, Tim & Pete Langley

Palm Beach Pursuit

Race report - anyone?

Cockatoo & Cupcake Cup - 26 Jan

Race report - anyone?

20 Groynes - Sun 9 Jan 2022

by Naomi Johnson

I’ve decided that 2022 is the year of living dangerously, at least in terms of my paddling and choppy water. I want to try some new races and new experiences, with the only caveat being that I’ll need to borrow a ski each time. With this in mind, I told Gareth Stokes from Sutherland Shire that of course I’d be up for the 20 Groynes on Sunday 9th January…as long as he could organise me a boat! A race whose policy is “Arrive – Paddle – Beer – Leave” looked like a great start to the 2022 season.

The event challenges solo paddlers or teams to complete as many laps of a 4km Botany Bay circuit as possible in four hours, paddling parallel to the beach and past a number of the bay’s iconic groynes. Needless to say, groyne humour was a key part of the day, with fastest solo male and female paddlers awarded King and Queen of the Groynes, and one of the SSCC relay teams naming themselves ‘Unused Groynes’.

Doll’s Point at 7:15am on the day was a tad overcast, with a certain blusteriness to the wind and water that looked choppy rather than terrifying. I elected to paddle Gareth’s V10L, having previously borrowed them from Alanna and Rich for various harbour and Hawkesbury paddles. While most paddlers were heading out on some form of ski, Jason Han was gearing up to paddle an OC1 and Gareth had accepted the challenge to do one lap of the course in a K1! Thoughts of a Le Mans-style start where paddlers have to run to the water with their boat were quickly scrapped, and we all sat in the shallows waiting for the starting horn.

A little pack confusion about direction on the initial lap saw Mike McKeogh from Cronulla Sutherland gain an early advantage by heading immediately left towards the bay, while the rest of the field seemed to be heading out first before a sharp turn. Not that any of us were going to catch Mike anyway! Gareth was surprisingly not far behind, making the conditions look very easy indeed in his regular marathon K1. A little behind, I rounded the first Groyne chasing some other skis and trying to settle into the messy chop.

Up to the yellow buoy, around and back into the headwind, I soon realised that I wasn’t at risk of falling in, but that this paddle was going to be a lot more tiring than 30-odd kms at Lane Cove in my K1. Just exceeding 10kph in one direction, the way back was looking demoralizingly like a maximum speed of 8kph if that. I resolved that maintaining a steady rhythm that didn’t try to put too much power into any one stroke was key. Stanna, stationed on a ski beside the first groyne, was snapping artsy pictures with a camera held low down to the water while also cheering us all through the lap. I reminded him the wind was supposed to die down as the day progressed – “you’re not the first person to say that” came the reply.

My second realisation was that dealing with food packaging is a little different to on flatwater. The apricot bar that I decided to tuck into about 2hrs in (I probably should have thought about eating earlier) was not to be accessed while sitting out in the waves, and I ended up taking an impromptu pit stop on the beach with a view through to the relay change-overs. Gareth sidled up in the third boat I’d seen him paddle for the day to ask if I was ok, promptly advocating for pulling off for a beer if I was in any way inclined. Kathleen, who had been completing laps just a tad slower than I was and was also paddling solo, sidled past, so soggy apricot bar it was to fuel the catch.

The final hour and a half were tougher going; I certainly hadn’t eaten consistently enough and was starting to feel a tad nauseous from either the chop or my focus on rock solid core engagement. Thankfully, it looked like everyone else was feeling it too because the ‘well done-s’ and ‘keep it up-s’ each time one boat passed another were definitely on the rise. Coming up the back end of my final lap, I realised Mike was trying to squeeze yet another one in, but thankfully I really didn’t have the time!

I managed 32kms in 3h48, earning me the auspicious Queen of the Groynes 2022 trophy and title, and a very welcome beer! While I was in bed by 7pm that evening, the race was a fab start to broadening my paddling horizons in 2022, and it would be great to see more LCRK paddlers taking on the challenge next year. SSCC and Doll’s Point Paddlers run an event with just the right combination of challenge and fun (and beer), never take themselves too seriously, and are generous with their boats and encouragement alike.

Above: Amongst royalty - King & Queen of the Groynes