An East Coast Low had settled over Sydney in the days prior to the final NSW WA event for 2014, Wanda. A couple of the less common spots had lit up on Friday. North-side sailors ventured out to Centuries/White rock in the strong ESE winds, while south-side sailors tried Baysurf and a semi-secret reef break down Wollongong way. However, day one of competition was always going to be tricky to pick the right spot. With light onshore easterlies and a big messy swell from Friday ruled out Wanda as a venue for Saturday.
Wanda events are always start slow with lots of car park talk and hope that conditions will improve. There was debate about light wind waterstart technique as well as catching up with friends not seen since Gerroa Fest (the combined SUP, NSWWA event in November) plus a couple of new faces; Remi and Alessio. By 1pm club president, George, called off competition for the day. This was after watching his gruesome video of him being stitched up after a rock jump launch. The afternoon was spent surfing, watching the cricket and cracking open an early beer.
Preswick’s paradise by the sea at south Cronulla was the venue for the social night and BBQ. With time to spare the boys showed off their MasterChef skills with marinated chicken, freshly baked bread and a Mediterranean inspired salad. Lots of windsurfing talk followed, chased down with cleansing ales. What is the best big left hand wave sailing spot in Australia? Gerroa bombora, Shark island or Merries reef; the debate raged well into the night.
Sunday dawned with a new forecast for a late NE with persistent east well hitting the banks at Wanda. Yes the banks aren’t that great creating a high tide shore break that is a devil to contend with and humbling for everyone. The warm up started around 1:30pm with everyone trying to launch into 11-12 knots of cross-on with a huge sweep down the beach. Once out the back head high sets were making cross-on DTL wave riding nearly a possibility. Shane Finnigan pulled out his big 107litre wave board and showed how it’s done.
By 2:30pm the Expression session was on with the wind picking up slightly to 12-16knots with a much better direction. All competitors aimed to pick up the bigger sets moving between the upper and lower bank playing pot luck. However, it was Tom Cohen and Finno who traded the best rides. The lower bank proved provided 20 minutes of gold for Tommy who picked up 4 waves in a row each with 3 decent smacks. Finno was everywhere while late starter Steve Robinson showed that he can forward and tack at will. It was expression so an aerial attack gets points. Cameron Taylor in his first competition showed he can select the right waves to make into the final four for the final. Darren Pascoe was just squeezed out of the final while newcomer Alessio reaped the rewards of contest sailing. Jessica Crisp just enjoyed the session and happily free sailed at a level at most of us wish for.
The final was scheduled for 30 minutes on the falling tide with wind holding around 15 knots with 2 waves and 1 jump to count. The finalists put on an impressive display of riding and looping. Although Tommy struggled for power in his jumps. The waves were quite bumpy and full which required a lot of finesse in the bottom turn and to maintain speed into the top turn. Wave selection was absolutely critical and patience was rewarded as 1-2 waves in each set would open up for longer rides. Other waves which looked promising would just fade out into the channel. Once again Tom and Shane battled it out for the top two places. Although with one eye on Jessica who could take out the event.
Overall a really positive event with good wind and decent waves. Lots of prizes and vouchers from WindsurfnSnow and Hudson from Neil Pryde/JP meant everyone was winner. NSWWA has the State titles in 2015 scheduled for Gerroa and Windang.
First place; Shane Finnigan
Second place; Tom Cohen
First master and 3rd place; Steve Robinson
Ladies; Jessica Crisp