race day dawned with a very, very frosty start. Several degrees below freezing we made our way to The Crabshell Inn on the Kingsbridge Estuary. Our fantastic hosts at the Crabshell Inn provided hot coffee & bacon butties to get us all fired up & fueled up for the bitter cold.
It really was super cold… my board had been on the roof of the van overnight & had about 4-5mm of ice on it. I left it in the sun but it still jsut wouldn’t melt, with no choice as it added so much weight I decided to try & scrape it off using my good old Texaco Points Card 🙂
Before too long we all got ready for the start. 30+ paddlers lined up across the Estuary. The course was a blast up to the top of the creek into the wind, round a bouy, back down & round into the next creek, again into the wind, right the way back pas the start up to the first turn and back over the startline to finish.
I got off to a good start, on my 12’6 Surf Race tucking in with Nick Watt on his K15 & just alongside Mark Slater on the carbon Surf Race. As usual Ryan James charged ahead on his K15, along with John Hibbard ridding his one off carbon 14ft New from Hamburg.
Heading up into the wind on the second creek, Nick, Mark & myself were right alongside, a bit of paddle clashing ensured, and Mark took the turn first. I kept on him & we pulled away from Nick, catching John Hibbard & passing him soon after. This was it now, a battle with the beast that is ‘Slasher’ up to the first turn mark & back. We were both giving it everything we could. The wind chill must have been -8 or more, my hands totally numb & stinging.
There was nothing more I could give & crossed the line a couple of board lengths behind Mark. A very respectable 3rd overall & 2nd in 12’6 class.
I tried to stay & cheer the other competitors over the line as long as possible then with my hands now burning I had to jump out & try & sort out the defrosting!
All competitors finished the race including some amazing performances from first time racers.
Once all changed & warmed up we had a prize giving ceremony & then all dived into the Crabshell for a supurb lunch!
12’6 class position 2nd
Overall event position 3rd
Series Points 840
Overall series position 2nd
Stacks of pictures here: http://gallery.me.com/mel.bennett#100194&view=grid&bgcolor=black&sel=151 (courtesy of Mel Bennett)
Full results & breakdown here: