20 Beaches Race Video

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Looked tough, great video by Rambo.

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One month into 2012. New Boats. Crazy weather.

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One whole month has zoomed by already. Unbelievable. Slightly on the back foot here, but I am making February’s goal to get ON TOP of things, with better planning & scheduling, and even more importantly, PRIORITISING!

My new Nelo Ski and K1 arrived yesterday. Holding the 2 beauties I couldn’t help feel that shiver of excitement that new, COOL stuff brings! It kind of renewed my stoke to go paddling again. Not that the stoke was gone, just that it is now doubled. The colour scheme I have chosen, and which the great guys at Nelo managed to get 100% right, looks crazy good!

Thanks Andre and your team. The effort that goes into these boats is incredible, and the finishes are something to see! Did I mention they are LIGHT!! Stoked:)

Here is a shot of the Quattro K1:

I am loving the design! To find out more about the boat, click on the photo.

Here is the side view:

I had a quick session in it yesterday, and I loved it! It has a bit more meat in the tail than the Vanquish 3, and the front deck is rounder.

I will do a proper report as soon as i have had some more time in it.

I can’t wait to get into the new ski, the surf here is just massive today so I think I will use my old boat (just in case…)!

(Imagine it survives the shipping and road transport process to get from Portugal all the way to Plettenberg Bay, and I smash it in its first sea run!)

And again, I will post a review of the 2 ski’s and compare them.

I have been paddling a lot of doubles lately, and been using the Genius Double Ski. Loving the boat, will get some pics up soon!

OK, going to hit the water now.

Oh yes, crazy weather. We have been having unbelievable weather, and strangely warm turquoise coloured water the past 2 months. It’s also been super humid, and hot! It’s been great. Just strange. Normally in December we get a SE wind that pushes the cold current that travels past our bay, into the shoreline, making it super cold. Not this year.

OK, signing off! Have a super weekend, paddle a LOT and enjoy it!

 

Blue Bottles

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The past few days the onshore wind has been blowing in Plett. Unfortunately a SE means only one thing… Blue Bottles.

(A 3-year-old child of a friend had a perfect name for them: “Sting Bottles”!)

The one really good thing about the onshore wind is that it makes for super fun paddling conditions!

We paddled a super out and back with the wind paddle this arvo, I will post the footage soon. Here is the photo sequence of me managing to (unknowingly) fling one particularly long bugger over my head, and snag it on my ear, and then wrap it around my paddle and arm!

Getting it off is a tricky business. You don’t want to touch the blue string as it will burn you! You have to at some point, and balancing a tiny surf ski in the wind with no hands on your paddle is a sport within itself!

Hooked it on the left with my hair…

Now flicked it over my head and snagged on my ear!

Now the really tricky part, getting it off my paddle without getting stung again, and taking a swim in the deep blue sea!

All’s well that ends well!

I find the best treatment for Blue Bottle stings is ice!

2012. welcome!

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“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself”.
How fast did 2011 pass you by? I can honestly say that this world we live in, has definitely increased its rotational speed over the years!  Life is so busy these days, trying to fit in training, travelling, work, friendships, relationships, and family can really prove to be a challenge. So much so that I think we sometimes forget the reason why we even do things!
I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions, as I feel that every minute that passes is an opportunity to have a fresh start. As they say, if you are not making mistakes, you are not doing anything! However, my opening quote is a goodie! Instead of always trying to find who you are, how about becoming who you would like to be. Make sense?  Set out those ideals of the type of person you would like to be, the goals you would like to achieve, how you would like to live, and go for it! Create yourself this 2012!
Usually at the end of the year I do a race highlights photo blog of the past year, so here is a belated attempt:

Winning the Perth Doctor Surf Ski race

Winning the Nelson Mandela Bay Ski Classic 3rd in a row

On my way to a win in the Plett Easter Games Ski Race

Won my first Swartlands River Marathon and SA River Championships

Winning the Durban World Cup

Won my first Berg. What an epic/long race!!

Won the US Champs

I got to visit Colorado after the US Champs race. I went on same amazing trail runs (altitude is hectic!) and SUP’d down the Colorado river, went on a rafting trip, experienced the best of the micro-breweries on offer, and even got to go to a Demolition Derby!

Then I picked up some wrist tendonitis and spent a frustrating (and expensive) few months going to physio, specialists and running!! At least my running as improved!

Fortunately I had done enough to win the OceanPaddler World Series for 2011!!

Besides the injury it has been a super year, and having the time off has been great, and has allowed me to focus on some other aspects of my life.

The running has also been good, and I haven’t had such a long paddling break in 8 years. 2012 was supposed to start with the Dusi, paddling with my Fish partner Robyn Kime but unfortunately that hasn’t worked out due to some conflicts with sponsors and unreasonable rules layed out.

So onwards and upwards, time to get back into my surf ski and do some amazing downwinds. 2012 is going to be great, and I am hoping for some new experiences, new races and new places!

Thanks to all my sponsors and dream givers for your support in 2011, Nelo Surf Ski’s, Knysna Racing Paddles and Kayaks, PVM Nutritional Sciences, Rudy Project Sunglasses, Thule, Garmin, New Balance Jeep Apparel. I am looking forward to a super 2012!

US Surf Ski Champs

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Leaving the hotel at Berkeley dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, we arrived in the Nelo Truck (the biggest car I have ever ben in!) at Fort Baker to fog and wind and freeze! This place… It’s like 4 seasons in one day!

The race organisors had put out a spread of note, coffee, fruit, water and cake. Awesome:) After a comprehensive race briefing everyone got onto the water to warm up.

From the start, we paddled into the wind, but with the current about 6km to a turn can, then back into the current, however the wind seemed to drop. Under Golden Gate bridge again, to the HotSpot near the start, and then on to Angel Island. This section was great, and the runs just got better and better. The run from Angel Island to Berkeley was amazing, dodging sail boats and  surfing runs.

Unfortunately my wrist blew up within the first 10 minutes, and the pain just grew from there. It was excruciating, and I think mentally, this was one of the toughest races I have ever done. Each stroke was like having a knife stabbing into my wrist. The only relief was when I caught a run and could relax. The finish couldn’t have come sooner, and I realised while I was paddling, that there is no way I can continue on my trip. I made the decision that I need to get home and rest my wrist so that it can heal. I can’t explain how disappointed I am. I love Portugal and the next 2 weeks of my trip were going to be amazing. Plus I have 2 titles to defend.

It is what it is I suppose, and I need to focus on the future, and the races that are still coming up.

The organisation and hospitality from the organisors was unbelievable, and this is definitely a race to add to your calendar. Besides the amazing race, there is the city of San Francisco and surrounds. Think: the best sushi ever, loads of touristy things to do and amazing scenery.

California Dreaming

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Golden Gate Bridge

After many flights, a few delays, and a security frisking from a Fräulein at Frankfurt airport, I arrived in San Francisco. Late, tired, and feeling guilt about making Helen wait for me.  And then a sniffer dog at the airport discovered an apple in my bag… Back into the queue at customs!

There is so much water in this part of the world. I stayed at Carter Johnson’s awesome houseboat in the Sausalito area for the first few days. Carter has to go down as the World’s Best Host. Not only did he move out of his own house so that we could all crash, he even arranged a cool chef called Texan Tom and his wife Sandy to make us unbelievable French Toast for breakfast 🙂

Houseboats of Sausalito

So far the trip has been great, ran up onto Golden Gate Bridge, then paddled underneath it! Serious current that. Did I mention it’s cold? This wind can freeze your bones! We checked out a very cool hippy town called Bolinas, tasted many local beers (the whole microbrewery industry here is massive).

Now I am at race HQ in Berkeley, staying with Michael and Boris from Nelo USA. They have one SERIOUS truck. Will put a photo up soon! Now I am waiting to go to the start at Fort Baker, looking forward to catching some runs.

I picked up some tendonitis in my wrist just before I flew out here, pretty bummed as I have had to sit out on all the paddles. It is still pretty sore, however I have been fortunate enough to see Scott Kelly, physio legend!  So hoping for a miracle here, as have many races and training sessions lined up for this month!

Have to dash, will update after the race!

Team Nelo, me, Michael and Boris

 

Dunlop Durban Surf Ski WC Report

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Photo by Anthony Grote

Windguru couldn’t quite make up its mind as to how hard the wind would blow come Sunday, however it was certain of one thing: the surf coming in at La Mercy beach would be massive! Take a look at some photo’s by Greg Labuscagne on this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.173550652707583.46845.154072097988772

I had woken up with a sore throat and blocked head on Saturday morning. In my final race prep paddle my heart rate was unusually high, and I slunk off the water and into bed for the rest of the day. I am learning (finally) that when your body gives you warning signs, you need to listen, and act on them. Lots of Vitamin C, water, and an immune booster and the most crucial ingredient-REST. With Berg only 2 weeks away, I really couldn’t afford to get sick now. Luckily it seemed to work, as i woke up with just a small head cold on race day.

My small (really small) rental car, with awesome Thule racks and Nelo Ski loaded on top must have looked pretty crazy driving along the freeway to Marine Surf Life Saving Club for the start at 9am. At least I had wheels! The wind was nowhere to be seen, and the swell looked big, but I knew it would be travelling pretty fast to try to catch.

Race Course

As usual, the race started with the slower batches first, racing snakes last. We were off in B Batch, and we had some pretty fast guys in our batch. I wasn’t feeling fantastic off the start, and let the front bunch go, along with Nikki. I knew this was going to be a long, hard grind and didn’t feel it was necessary to blow myself up in the first 5 minutes.

After about 2km I made a small break, and then basically tried to go just below max the rest of the race. I wanted a nice time buffer over any competitors in case I had a problem coming in at the finish, and ended up winning by 5.5min from Nikki Mocke, with Australian Ruth Highman in 3rd. I felt great the whole way, and managed to keep my boat speed up, as well as catching the odd bump (few and far between), and so I am happy with my form going into Berg.

As is Hank I am sure. He looked phenomenal when he came past me just before the Lighthouse, and I am sure he is going to dominate Berg as he did this race!

I got some great coverage including a National TV clip on the SABC News (even if it showed me getting smashed in the shorey! at least I had a smile on my face!)

Here is a link to the results:

http://www.surfski.co.za/viewresults.php