The first strokes of 2017

It’s been a while since posts, but during this time I’ve enjoyed my offseason, it gave me a lot more time to chill out, go surfing, play golf and go on mini adventures with my friends and family. I also got the chance to see one of my favourite bands, Coldplay live in Brisbane and it was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen.

 I started training again the second weekend of January and was feeling stronger, jumping back into gym with Miguel at Miguel’s 24-hour fitness which is conveniently a 3 min bike ride from house. Oh and I started bike riding- Yes I have joined the trend and have become a man in lycra. As the weekend of Australia day (January 26th) went by, so did the feeling of good training. I went to the doctor with sore throat and blocked sinus’s, I was told to relax and take a few days off, so as a good boy I did that until I wasn’t getting better. 3 weeks had past and I scheduled another appointment this time with a different doctor who informed me I had a highly infected middle ear (which would probably explain my swaying when I would attempt to stand still), infected sinus and finally my infected throat. This all meant I had to be put on heavy antibiotics. And with that it brings me to Wednesday 22nd February.

(The boys at Coldplay)

Recently I have been selected to be apart of the University of the Sunshine Coast High Performance Student Athlete program, which allows me to receive more help within the University environment along with a few other things. On the  Wednesday I attended the induction and launch services where we saw Olympians, Paralympians and other leading professionals speak about there journey through sport and also their studies.
Friday was just a crazy day. My best friend got MARRIED!!! The day started at 5:00am with prep work at the reception venue, getting photos taken, getting suited up, followed by the ceremony itself and all the post wedding items including the reception, more pictures and the post party. Being apart of the Grooms party was a great experience, getting to dress up, and being there to see such a beautiful service. Unfortunately, this meant my night didn’t conclude until around Midnight. But it was well worth it.   

My Saturday morning started at 4:30am to get ready to leave for the Gold Coast for Troy Pease’s 12 Towers race, from Rainbow Bay (Snapper Rocks) to Burleigh beach roughly 14km. With the forecast of a great downwind race blowing 15 knots from the right direction increasing through the race to 22-25knots. On the morning we drove down to the Gold Coast, went via to Currumbin waters to Aust Paddler HQ to pick up the epic V12 that I was paddling that day. I would just like to say a huge thank you to Mick and Tim from Aust Paddler HQ for organising the ski and I’m Sorry about the miss communication- totally my fault. If you need any to do with paddling hit them up.

(Myself, Macca, Julian) 

As I was saying before the conditions were cranking, with the wind building and the swell around the 2 foot range it was going to be a fast race. Straight from the start Mackenzie Hynard and I took off with Julian Norton-Smith right behind us, about 1-2km in Macca just took off, and was never to be caught, while this was happening Julian was inline with me, but was about 200m to my right. Being my first time I’ve ever paddled the new V12 I was getting use to how I could push the boat, surprisingly I found the ski quite easy to adapt to, and after 10 minutes I felt incredibly comfortable in the ski. The best features that I found with the ski that I loved was the fact that with the extra rocker in the nose it wasn’t continually ramming the back of the waves/runs in front, also the smaller narrower tail allowed me to turn the ski easily coming down runners. At one time within the race I linked 6-7 runners together and surfed them, coming in past Burleigh point the runners became a little steeper due the water being shallower. Turning the buoy and making my way to the beach was fun, as I linked 2 runners together and they carried me 200m+ and landing me on a wave all the way to the shore where I hopped up to claim 2nd. My time overall was 49:05 for 13.5km which was averaging 16.5km/h. Keep your eyes out on Macca’s Youtube channel LAME for footage of the race it will be epic . A huge shout out has to go to Troy Pease and his team for running such a great event, that included SUP’s and Ski and had over 190 athletes competing- some for the first time. Also to Darren, Roscoe, Paddy and Craig thanks for such a great car trip and the banter that got thrown around (what happens in the car stays in the car). 

(Start line, Myself, Darren, Roscoe)

Straight after this Saturday afternoon race I showered off in the public beach showers, got dressed and hopped back into the car, drove down the Coolangatta airport where I got kicked out to board my flight. It was now time to go to Sydney to compete in the Inamo 5000 Bridge to Beach, which was the final race of the 2016/2017 Australian Ocean Racing Series and the final chance for me to gain selection points for the Australian team for Worlds. Arriving at 8:15pm threw its challenges of being slightly fatigued, but to top it off was the weather, coming from a sunny 28-32 degrees (82-89 for those from America) to a raining 18-22 (68-71) it was a bit of a shock. I was lucky enough to score a ride with Mr Vaikobi Pat, the only problem that I was going to face the following day was staying warm, I only had brought my V Ocean UV top and pants, luckily enough Pat had a few V Cold Long sleeved base layer in his car which I got to wear on Sunday morning. What a difference the base layer made, it fitted perfectly and its fleecy inside kept me warm, to any who paddles in the cooler climates where the UV ocean tops are too cold and a dry suit is too hot, I would recommend the V Cold base layers which can be found in the link below.

(picture: Greg Mccurdy Facebook)

It was finally time to start the race, I lined up looking up at the Sydney harbor bridge, looking left and seeing Luna park (Theme park) and looking right at the Sydney Opera House. What a fantastic view but not for long, next thing I knew I was sprinting off the start line coming second in a group with Boothy, Hill, Cotter, Slossy, Ando and Trimmy all going hard. All the boys were flying and I was surprised with where I was, dropping back to 6th/7th sitting on the diamond wash it wasn’t a bad spot till about 1.5km in when I started to hurt, my breathing rate increased, power in the water dropped and soreness started to creep in. Not being able to keep up with the group I got dropped, and from there on it was survival mode. With the conditions being flat inside the harbor and minimal runner going with you, I knew today was going to be hard especially with me getting over illness’s. I tried holding on, but slowly I would get pasted by others, we turned the first part of the dog leg and I was sitting about 10th, once getting past South Head, more of the raw ocean swell came into play. From there it was about 3-4km till the finish line, and I could never have been happier, all I had to do was paddle for another 18 minutes and I would be done. I was content with this until Brady made a dash next to me with about 1km to go, with a ding don battle going on between him and I, neither one of us wanted to give up. I caught a runner that turned into the smallest wave and allowed me to run up and claim 19th single ski.

(A snapshot of my office) 

I loved the racing weekend I had, both races where challenging but also fun, and I enjoyed both. After this I decided to take a walk across the street to Manly Beach to watch the Australian Open of Surfing, getting to the beach I realised it was up at North Steyne (500-750m) up the beach. Walking up the I finally got to the skate bowl and watched the skating for a while before I had to head back to the ferry terminal to go to the airport, unfortunately I made the mistake of leaving quite close to the cut off time, and I missed the 3:15 ferry. The question now was I going to make my 5:40 flight??? I had to wait 30 mins before the next ferry, departing at 3:45 I was on my way to Circular Quay. Arriving at 4:15 and making my way to the 4:30 train, If I missed this train there was no way I as flying home. Arriving to the train station with a few minutes to spare, I hoped on the train, plugged in my music and waiting until I arrived, checking I had 10 mins to spare until my flight closed. I nailed it, could not have timed it more perfect.

For the Sydney part of my weekend I would like to thank Pat from Vaikobi and Tony from Epic Kayaks Australia (not only did they beat me in the V8 Double) but they supported and helped me greatly, I appreciate it. Deano for holding such a great iconic event, a massive congratulation to Jeremy Cotter, Cory Hill and Michael Booth for their 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Inamo 5000 Bridge to Beach.


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