All the locals where having their brains picked on the best route across the shallows. Officer of the Day, Barry did the briefing and told all the start was in 15 minutes. A lot of the paddlers hopped on the water and proceeded to do a 20 minute warm and missed their start making the next starts a little more crowded.
The first run down into Bull Creek with a beam wind and 30-50 cm side waves added to the excitement of the first run as paddlers tried for the most comfortable course. Weaving between all the moored boats added to the fun as the turn mark was as far down in Bull Creek inlet as possible. One Ocean Ski tried to tighten his turn by parking on the stern deck of a kayak (Yes, we have it on video) to be dragged around. Coming out of Bull Creek and heading up to Salter Point should have been a good deep water run, except to get deep water you had to go out into a stiff head wind and bigger waves than staying closer to the bank in the shallow water where there was less wind and waves.
Prisoner’s Point saw at least 2 paddlers hop out of their boats to run through the shallows. The poles caused the usual decision making problems, go early or go late; late seemed to be a winner this time. As the flats after Wadjup Point where almost dry, all stayed in the longer, deeper channel around the edge.
Once under Shelly Bridge paddlers prepared for the portage. Bailing out into the soft, knee deep mud was not a pleasant experience. The run along the shore was pleasant, with the smell of CRCC hamburgers being made ready, but then it was back into the mud to get into kayaks or skis. Heading upstream to the weir was a matter of seeking the deeper water all the way with many areas down to less than 20cm of water. The “Short Cut” wasn’t and the turn at Kent Street Weir was tighter than normal, but still the battles continued as “faster” or more canny paddlers tried to slip ahead.
In the Guppy Classes the new team of Emerson A.(CLBC) & Alannah O.(AKC) came home first, with Harriette A.(CLBC) and Gabrielle B.(CLBC) next. The next two young ladies where so busy chatting they paddled past the turn and had extra distance to paddle. Isabella R. and Gus H.(AKC) enjoyed their first race and now looking forward to more.
In the Short Course Tyler A.(AKC) led the group home with Dave C.(Harvey) following and River A.(AKC) third. Alex R. & David T.(both AKC) where the first short course double home.
In the gun Division 1, Joshua K.(AKC), on his first home waters race after the World Marathons and a South African Racing Season ran out an easy winner. The Roll father and son combination (AKC) came in second, with Matt C.(PP) 3rd. These three where then followed in by the rest of the mixed Doubles, Triples, Open Doubles and Singles of this division. Bronwyn M.(AKC) was the first lady single home.
Division 2 was lead home by Chris B.(AKC) with Martin W.(AKC) trying to up hold the honour of the older paddlers. Glen S. (EVENT) was third across the line. In this group the U14 Greed boys bought their K2 home in 6th position with Tess W.(AKC) first Div. 2 lady but 5 minutes behind her father. Don’t think that is going to be allowed for long.
Division 3 was only a small class this race and Steve C.(AKC) went for broke and collected the win. Peter M. (AKC) came in second with Alan M. (AKC) third. Jane L. (AKC) was the first Div. 3 lady home with the husband and wife team of Cynthia & Steve C.(CRCC) leading the mixed bag of K2s in the group.
Division 4 had a couple of ring ins from Canoe Polo and the father and daughter team of Nicky & Bryan L. (PCPC) easily ran out winners. The handicapper will catch up with them now. 2nd to 4thwas Caleb B.(CLBC), Kye B.(AKC) and Tim F. (AKC) youngsters stretching their wings. Daniel B. & Jack C. (U14s, CLBC) was the first Div. 4 K2 home and Yasmin R.(BPC) the first lady in Div. 4 home. Notable in this Division was Kathy M (ParaA) paddling with her husband Ron (both CLBC) in a K2 and Doug H. (AKC)(ParaLTA) on a ski who did the portage.
This quite difficult race was the first outing on the long course with the big kids for quite a few Juniors and they held up well, giving confidence in the future of Marathon Racing in WA.
Our race team did an excellent job of getting the 99 craft registered, Started, Escorted, Portaged, tagged on the turns and finished over 2 Start lines. Advice on the waters ahead was appreciated at the portage and assistance given to one of our para paddlers.
Next Event on Saturday and Sunday 8th and 9th of March 2014 is the Be the Influence Tackling Binge Drinking West Australian Canoe Marathon Championships.
Look out for further information and entry details on the Canoeing WA Website …