Outlaw Paddling   Victorian Race Series

Outer Edge Crit Race 2: Challenge of the Chop

Friday, 25 November 2011 by Jarad

The conditions were a little breezy for Outer Edge Crit Race 2. By the time the starter's hand came down, a cheeky southeasterly had stirred Port Phillip Bay into a challenging froth, putting all those fairweather paddlers to the test. From the get-go, it was evident that those with experience in the chop would win the day.

Pic 1

The first challenge: not to get t-boned during the beach start.

In the ski race, Ivor Morgan took the lead early, showing he is beginning to return to form after a long spell off the water. But it wasn't long before Tim Altman - the silent assassin - hit his stride and used his exceptional downwind skills to take advantage of the fast sections and snatch the lead. From here, he remained unchallenged, winning the race in a time of 48:48, followed by Ivor Morgan in 49:41, Garth Spencer in 49:56 and James Pretto in 50:17.

Pic 3

Bumpy much?

In the women's field, Chloe Hardman once again dominated, coming home in 1:13:42, followed by Leonie Campbell in 1:15:38 and Laurelle Stalker in 1:20:05. Chloe said the tough paddle "wasn't much fun," but she still had a smile on her face, so she's not fooling anyone - we all know Chloe loves pain.

Pic 7

Laurelle Stalker - is that a smile or a grimace?

It was always going to be tough slog for the guys and girls in the SUP/Paddleboard race, but that didn't stop seven brave souls lining up to take on the challenge of the chop. Once again, Chris Sal from Kite Republic displayed his indomitable form (despite a spill or two along the way) winning the race convincingly in 39:01, followed by Paul Harrington in 39:26. "I reckon if he fell just one more time, I might have caught him," said Paul, back on the beach. Look out next time Chris - you're a marked man!

Pic 4

Chris Sal going hard

Rounding out the SUP podium was Dave Nixon in 40:46, while in the women's SUP race, sole competitor Jean Ringrose ran rings around a fella or two, coming home in 45:59 with a winning smile on her face. As for Ben Owzinsky, our sole paddleboard racer, well, you're as mad as a cut snake for doing what you do, but we love that you do it! We dare any paddleboarders out there to take on Ben next time.

Race 2 also saw the return of the outrigger crew. We were thrilled to have five OC1 guys on the water, going head to head with the ski guys over the same course, and displaying the unique skill and grace of this age-old technique. Home first was Outlaw pin-up boy (well, he is on the Crit poster...) Jason Shepherd, in 1:02:23, followed by OC innovator and veteran, Steve Vegh from Canoe Innovations, in 1:03:21, and Garry Jones in 1:08:01. Thanks for coming down guys - we hope to see an even bigger OC field in future races, and perhaps even recruit some of the ski and SUP guys to your craft.

Pic 6

Jason Shepherd heading to victory

Now for a few special mentions. First, a huge congrats to our first-timers Daniel Green and Dan Smith; Dan Smith came down planning on paddling in the plastic craft race, but was instead convinced to jump on a fibreglass ski and take on the full course, which he did in a respectable 1:19:11. He looked slightly shell-shocked back on the beach, but we get the feeling he'll be back for more. Respect also goes to our sole plastic ski competitor, Chris McKernan - Chris usually paddles an OC1, but thought he'd take an Endorfinn out for a spin. Let's just say it was a learning experience for him. Speaking of plastic skis, if you're an ocean ski novice, we encourage you to enter the plastic ski category next race - it's the perfect opportunity to get some race experience in a safe and friendly environment.

Pic 7

Getting in the Spirit (get it?)

And our biggest shout out goes to Gabby Perkins, who proved that last is not always least. A quarter of the way through her final lap, Gabby seriously considered pulling the pin, but she persevered and finished the full course with plenty of humour to spare. Think about it - Gabby was out there nearly 50 minutes longer than the first placegetter, so that's a massive physical effort.  And it's the kind of effort that inspires us perhaps even more than the skill and finesse of the top guys.

Finally, a big thanks to the crew from Williamstown LSC who provided expert water safety for the event, and Sandridge LSC for letting us use their IRB - we pride ourselves on running safe events suitable for all levels of paddler, and without your help, we couldn't do this. And, as always, a big thanks to our sponsors Outer Edge, Stellar Kayaks, Go Natural, Peak Adventure, SUPhq, Sunny King Paddleboards and 2XU. Big thanks also go to Blast Paddlers, which provides our fancy time-keeping system, and Jon Barter, who took these amazing snaps of all the action.

Remember, there's no Crit race next month, but we'll be back in January for a massive showdown on Australia Day, 26 January. Stay tuned for more details about the fun and games we have in store.

RESULTS OUTER EDGE CRIT RACE 2

Outer Edge Crit Race # 2: Ski/OC

Outer Edge Crit Race # 2: SUP/PB

Outer Edge Crit Race # 2: Plastic Craft

 

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