Last weekend Team Fat Paddler sent down a team of four to compete in the first race of the 6-race Summer Series, being held at Balmoral. Still somewhat tired from the previous week’s Hawkesbury Canoe Classic, we went simply for the fun of being on the water with lots of folks, and in fact arrived a few hours early to get a quick paddle in amongst the rocks of Grotto Point first.
When we arrived at the race start area we got to mingle with other paddlers and sponsors as well as catching up with paddling friends. The kayakers were pretty slim on the ground (basically the Team Fat Paddler contingent plus a few of our friends) but all the paddlers were friendly and there was plenty of fun banter before the race started.
When we did get on the water the sight was pretty funny. Fit paddlers on their skis, boardie wearing beach types on their SUPs, and a few weirdos in kayaks. I’d taken my white water boat so TFP’s own chef Burnsie could have a paddle in my sea kayak, so everyone gave my short stubby boat a once over and shared a few jokes. Then once the race started, I watched as everyone around me took off like rockets as I slowly plodded along.
Those of us in the slow kayaks had a mixed race. Friend of Team Fat Paddler Meg took out her Flash, a river racer that’s probably never seen waves, and ended up having a few swims along the way. Another friend Martyn also overturned his kayak and needed a rescue. Speedster Alan may have missed a buoy or two. And I wont even say what Burnsie was up to!
By the end of the race it was true that many of the TFP contingent may have run somewhat controversial lines over the race course, but like so many things, you gotta be in it to win it. And win it we did, with Alan, Burnsie and yours truly taking out 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Kayak Division. Plus our mate Meg took out the female kayak trophy, despite her swims!
Of course the best part of the whole race came afterwards. A free sausage sizzle kept everyone fed as all the paddlers mingled and chatted with each other. Sponsors had gear to check out and our own Nat had fun trying out the Carbonology skis on display. We even got to have a good laugh at TFPer Alan attempting a ski for the first time – and his subsequent swim session.
I didn’t really know what to expect from this race but we were all pleasantly surprised at how much fun the whole day had been. The paddling, the sausages, the jokes and friends made – all made for a brilliant day!
There are another 5 events in the series being run across different locations in Sydney (one per month) – if you’ve ever thought about a little fun racing, come out and give one a try. Lot’s more info on the 2011 Summer Series website. Cheers – FP