Date: 12th – 13th Feb 2011
It’s been a while since NSW WA has had an event in starboard conditions so when the forecast predicted southerly winds Windang was the event site for round 5 of the NSW series. WindSurfnSnow kindly supported us for this round which some great prizes and Anne from the shop brought down some great JP trifin waveboards and NP Atlas sails to sample. The power in the Atlas combined with a bigger JP makes for a potent weapon for the heavier sailor. This combination have been particularly popular this season offering great manoeuvrability with fully powered sailing in the light conditions which have dominated the events this season.
The Seabreeze graphs had the wind spiking at 9:00am and quickly dropping throughout the morning so it was going to cracking pace to fit the competition in. Nick Edwards rigged up quickly, planned straight off the beach and ripped up a couple of deep bottom turns on his first wave. A rigging frenzy thus began as every competitor who had made the effort to arrive early also wanted to carve up the quality waist to head high waves on offer.
Windang is primarily a beach-break with an outer bank which breaks in front of the lake entrance. At its best the island keeps the larger sets which break on the outer bank clean and with a southerly wind creating cross to cross-off conditions. However for this event competition was limited to the beach break which had its own challenges. There was enough wind but some strong side-shore currents and a rip carving through the break made it testing for those still perfecting their technique in waves.
The Groms, Juniors, Youth and the Ladies all competed together as their heat started with a thumping shore break into 1’ of water. Jessica Holder found herself alone out the back as her fellow competitors waited for a break in the sets. After some considerable swimming and patience everyone managed to bust through and snag a wave. Oliver Cox and Forest Ladkin were contesting the Youth Title and both had their share of bad luck during the heat. Oliver managed to score enough points with a steady bottom turn/top turn combination until his rig let him down, spending the second half of the heat swimming. However this was enough to edge out Forest who could not find a wave take the win. Diminutive Jake Juretic showed class in the tough conditions while older sister Jess shrugged off a big dumping to launch again into the building waves. Cheryl Prout displayed her smooth style and did well after time off for injury. Anne Waldren scored two good waves using the powerful NP Atlas to get around the break.
With the wind and waves building two heats of Amateurs were run with first time competitor Jahannes from Germany getting the biggest wave of the two heats and taking the biggest wipe-out to claim third place. Duncan dominated his heat with several big waves but still needs to finish cleanly to maximise his scores. Wanda sailor Andrew who has been seen pulling forwards at his home break outclassed series leader Guillaume to take second in his first competition with NSW WA. Mr Freestyle Anthony took second in Heat B while keen photographer Kris took a break from the camera to focus on reaching his best placing for the season with 4th overall.
The first heat of the Masters was run with the more experienced competitors milking the most from the waves were on offer. Some of the bigger sets formed a nice A-frame which linked up through rip to offer 2-3 bottom turns, others seemed to collapse into nothing so good wave choice was paramount. Unfortunately the breeze seemed to be dropping and after 7 minutes watching the second heat floundering in the shore break competition was put on hold for 20 minutes. Once the wind filled in again the usual suspects made the final including Steve Robinson who was making a comeback into the top 3 after a break from competition for a few seasons.
Unfortunately the wind started to get patchy as predicted and no finals were run. So instead a single heat of Pros was sent out in doubtful conditions however good technique and tactical sailing showed that it was still possible to slot into some clean sets. The rips, currents, sets and light breeze all combined to make getting out a challenge. Tim Williams managed to position himself to grab 3 set waves in the 15 minute expression session and pulled a big clean top turn in the critical section to secure his first event win edging out Olli Barta (Naish/Naish), Tim Knowles and Dan Berry (JP/Neil Pryde) by only a few points. Francois Pialoux and Rhys Herbert rounded out the top six.
The presentation BBQ was held back at the Gerroa HQ. A special note of thanks must go to vice president Adrien and Bakers Maison who kindly supply 60 gourmet bread rolls and Alan Bailey (treasurer) who missed the rerun of his masters heat to purchase the food and necessary liquid refreshment. Former club presidents Craig Williams and Rhys Herbert created restaurant quality salads and NSW Pro champion manned the BBQ. After the prize giving a contingent headed up to the Gerroa Fishos to tests the limits of the new responsibility of alcohol service laws by ordering copious amounts liqueurs sourced from obscure eastern European countries.
The next event is the Teams which is always the highlight of the NSW WA season. No stress competition, tag team style with groups of sailors representing their region. This year in addition to the powerful South coast, Northside and Central coast teams the EU will have their own team. Season trophies and the remaining prizes will be awarded at the presentation dinner. The AGM will also be held to vote in new office bearers. Tim Williams who has been the club president this year as well as doing judging and waterways in past years, is looking to pass the baton. The AGM also gives all NSW WA members input into the decision making process by being a committee member or offering suggestions to improve the competitions.