National SUP Titles 2018 – Gold Coast
Tue 26th Feb 2019
National SUP Titles 2018 – Gold Coast.
SUPWA would like to recognize the efforts of the WA Team and the support of the WA SUP community regarding to the 2018 National Titles. The efforts of all those involved resulted in the WA Team surging into third place behind east coast powerhouses NSW (1st) and Queensland(2nd). This result was characterized by a steady building of momentum in both the run up to the event and over the 4 days of competition.
The momentum began to build earlier in the year with paddlers having the opportunity to compete in a series of well-run surfing and racing events. In addition to competition it was apparent that enthusiasm across the paddling community was on the up and up with increased activity on social media highlighting training opportunities through our Pod groups and other options. These were being eagerly taken up by a broad range of new and existing SUP crew, not just those heading towards the Nationals. A classic example was the Tech Racing training sessions which were led by our amazing ‘el Presidente’, Stimo. These sessions were supported by a whole bunch of different people and had a significant impact on assisting those heading to the Goldy as well as being beneficial in progressing their own paddling. The ‘Aloha spirit’ was high at these sessions and everybody was stoked to have a solid crew consistently turning up.
Come November and things became much more focused. The leadership team of Roger Goodwin and Gordon Stimson were thorough and professional in addressing a myriad of tasks. Rogers long term experience as Team Manager over 5 years was invaluable as was Stimo’s connections and local knowledge of the Currumbin area. With these guys at the helm, competitors were feeling well supported and confident they would be able to put in their best efforts.
Competition began with the surfing in small but pretty clean waves at the famous Duranbah Beach. Team members started working their way through their heats against in some cases what could only be described as world class opposition. By Day 2 it was the girls who were starting to shine with the men still working hard. The surfing went into a 3rd day with finals being held on the morning before the Tech Races. The results were excellent with Narelle Kuppers taking out a National Title for the Women’s O/40s and sharing honors in the same final was Patrice Richardson in 3rd. Isabelle Olney came 2nd in the Junior Women’s Final after working hard through a two-heat final format. Chris Twomey surfed a million heats (as usual) in multiple divisions and was rewarded by making the final of the O/50’s and coming 4th. The mood in the Team was high after these results and the momentum was in full swing now. At this point WA were placing 4th in the overall rankings.
The racing began with the Tech Races on Day 3 at Duranbah. The race course was not an easy one with some strong onshore winds, a decent swell and a challenging upwind leg. Expectations were high for the men with elite paddler Michael Booth and Junior sensation Sam McCullough, both keen to get amongst it. The boys did not disappoint with Sam taking out victory in the Junior Men’s and Boothy battling hard against his rivals to come fourth. Stimo (3rd) and Crawf (2nd) were both stoked to finish on the podium in the O/50s feeling like all those training sessions had paid off. The brutal shore break took its toll in the Women’s Race but our super tough girls persevered with Susannah Wilson paddling hard through the field to finish 3rd behind two elite athletes in Terrene Black (2nd) and Karla Gilbert (3rd). More solid results, more momentum. Marathon racers were getting psyched and keen to ride the momentum in the grand finale of the event the following day.
The marathon course was a marathon course not a “downwinder”. It included not only downwind legs but an upwind leg and a flatwater section. It was challenging and a race that would test everybody and to do well you had to be a strong and skillful paddler. Boothy showed his World Champ class and came through with a win in the Open Men’s, his third Aussie Title. Sam McCullough was dominant, winning his Junior Men’s division and showing why he is off to the World Titles in China to represent Australia. Once again, the WA girls starred on the national stage with some spectacular results. Cristiana Chessa took out the O/40’s Women’s Title with a time that would of put her on the podium in the Open Women’s division. Jade Lane (3rd) and Susannah Wilson (4th) were super impressive in the Open Women’s with some really tough racing in a strong field.
Post Marathon, Team WA gathered together on the deck of the local RSL club, which is ideally located on the banks of Currumbin Creek, for some much-needed food and cold beverages. The mood was jubilant as the steady stream of WA place getters went up to accept their awards. The officials announced WA’s third place and the selection of Philip Island in Victoria as the host for the event over the next 2 years. Glancing across to Roger Goodwin I thought I could detect some signs of satisfaction of getting the third place (but I’m sure he thought we might have done better) and some disappointment at WA’s bid missing out on the upcoming hosting rights. This highlighted to me that right to the very end of the event and right through the whole team the WA crew strived to do their best and to promote our sport and our state. It was a great result by the team, whose efforts enabled them to ride that wave of momentum which was collectively fed by their family, friends, SUPWA, Sponsors and the great support from the grass roots paddling crew of WA.
Crawford Olney -WA Team member.