First race of the Omaha Paddleboard Club downwind winter race series. The forecast was looking epic with a gale warning out and gusts to 50knots according to MetService. Fanged up to Algiers Bay to be greeted by glassy water and a good turnout of 35 paddlers for the first event. The race kicked off at 12pm and just on time the wind picked up and we were off. The course was 8km downwinder to Tawhranui and the angle was spot on.
I was a bit concerned how I'd go on the NSP 14' x 24.5" toothpick in a proper downwinder as have not paddled it in these conditions yet. But had to find out.
The first quarter I was going ok as the wind was picking up and the fetch was still developing. The angle required a lefthand bias towards Tawharanui so I decide to head left early rather than get too far out and deal with a hard cross wind later in the race. The fleet immediately split up and I was on my own the whole way.
The wind started to crank about midway into the race and there were some big rolling chop to catch. The Toothpick was a bit of a handful in the bigger steep rolling runners as I was trying to stay upright and missed the train of swells. In the flatter windier sections the Toothpick took off and was really fun to connect some bumps for a full planing ride.
I went overboard about four times as the sea state got nigglier and my legs got tired. The first dunking was a mission as it was quite hard to get back on the board and I clambered on then got flicked off again. As soon as I went down the paddlers around me shot past and I never managed to catch them again. Falling off is not good for speed.
The final quarter into Tawharanui was niggly as the fetch was fully formed and there were some steep runners and a side chop to deal with which tripped me up a few times.
Made it back to dry land and found out I got my arse kicked by most of the fleet. I have a lot to learn about down winding and keen to get better. I will try my DC 14' x 26" in the next race to see how a wider board goes for stability to get more power on and worry less about falling in.
Thanks to the Omaha Paddleboard Club for organising a lift back and putting on the winter race series. Great fun and well worth the effort.
HEART RATE (112 -189 )172bpm DISTANCE 9.30km SPEED (max 13.0 ) 7.3 km/h RECOVERY TIME CALORIES 1329kcal