One of the most talked about subjects before a race is the conditions, what are they going to do? What does the forecast say? How strong is the wind going to be on race day?
If you travel for a race or line up in a race be ready for anything, at home I train in all conditions. You can’t have a weakness whether being mental or physical if you want to race the best competitors from around the world.
The morning of the race was shrouded in low fog, with no breeze to blow it away and the sun taking its time to help burn it off.
All craft were loaded onto trucks for the journey up to Clearwater Bay, our start for the 2011 Dragon Run.
Team Nelo, were ushered away to their waiting limo while everyone else was herded onto buses for the ride to Clearwater Bay.
The race start was held up for an hour to gain more favorable conditions and the race organizers were rewarded, as the wind continually grew stronger with each passing minute.
Final briefings were said and competitors hit the water for their warm up and their 22km journey down the coast to Stanley and the finish line.
10 minutes to start warning.
5 minutes to start warning.
Competitors were crowding the start line but others lagged behind and before 5 minutes were up, the flag had dropped and the horn had sounded.
The race was on.
Andre Santos, team Nelo, had a flying start, quickly putting distance between himself and every other paddler. His reign of terror was short lived as the lead group of more than 20 paddlers swallowed him up.
The wind and surf made for great race conditions as we headed out to the Nine Pins, a group of islands 6km off the coast where we would turn and head south for Stanley.
Tom Schilverport set the early pace gaining 40 meters on the chasing pack which included myself, Dawid, Hank, Shannon, Jeremy, Cory and others.
We had runs all the way out pushing us straight to the Nine Pins.
Tom rounded first followed by myself, Dawid and Hank.
Sorry I can’t add more names but I don’t look around during the race, peripheral vision only.
It was a ninety-degree turn around the Island to set our course for the finish, so that meant; crosswind for the downwind leg.
But it didn’t. The prevailing swell was a cross tail from the left and the wind was a cross tail from our right so the runs lined up beautifully to form nice V’s and allow for great surfing across the backs of them all the way down to our headland mark of the ‘Kissing Whales’ outside Stanley Bay.
Dawid and Tom took an outside line while Hank took a line tighter in than me.