Thursday, January 23, 2014


On a cool evening with a misting of moisture, a rusting of seaspray, an onshore of breeze, and a salting of dinner wrapped in paper, 170 odd junior, open and senior reserve graders arrived at North Narrabeen SLSC for SSS carnival #17 - ski's, open boats and belt teams at the ready. All clubs bought their best iron men (and women), and the ten top talents took to the Turimetta 'all-points' senior malibu tango with a vengeance, but only two emerged intact. Once again, the Sydney Summer Series surfing stars (raring to go in club branded cossies) looked tantivy, but emerged tardo - with only Steve and Richard making it 'as the clock struck one' (Steve this time shading 'The King' by 31 seconds - 42.21/42.52). The other 600 club were close, although senior iron man McKenzie (from Uringa Beach club) struggled with the shore break - and was home in 70 plus.

For the other competitors, assembled under their club pennants and checking the carnival programme, it looked a clean 600, a night to earn a quid - but the long board teams judge (one Ian 'Heinz' Jessup - our course setter) was banking on slow work on the headland tracks and the temptation to pause at various lookouts to make visiting clubs earn their points - and in his scatter of beach flag controls, he got it pretty well perfectly right.

Emerging from the combi van, let's paint a picture of the scene.

The onshore south-easter had officials initially struggling with event signage and bunting, but the Garingal surf boat crew soon had the electronics tented and pegged, and the cafe deck sorted to provide suitable registration facilities. Arriving competitors were afforded an elevated view of the sand dunes and distant beach pool rock platforms - and noted the separating lagoon in full outward flow. A $10 donation to Life Saving NSW bought a programme guide to the coastal walkways, lookouts and tides, highlighting a trio of co sponsoring beaches - and an area named 'overgrown' that was a puzzle to the beach relay teams. The impression was reasonable simple circular swimming, with a linkage puzzle in mid course, and a wet suit ending.

The tasty tempters of 21/22 across the Narrabeen lagoon channel (advised as waist deep at low tide, and with a finger wagging 'enter at your own risk') gave pause as teams lined up for the start gun. Most wanted to leave this as late as possible to catch the tide, and planned a western beginning and a clockwise circuit. Many began backwards to get to Ocean Street, others via the track on the right - some taking in the dune double before the lagoon bridge, and feeling that warm glow of 'money already in the bank'. Generally, it was freestyle to 23,12,and #3, where a variety of strokes were deployed to bag 4,14,26,6,28 and16. Freestyle 3 to 26, backstroke to 14, and the continuing with butterfly ahead via 6,26 and the seaweed route to #16 worked for many going further north - although 'The Pants' was noted going hither and thither here (including going close to the lane rope #3 to #4), ending 14,6,26,16,28 and the backstroke to the uphill track to #8 and its quaint 'shrub, south side'.

Competitors entered in the four or five klm events worked the inner points groin noted above before exiting up to Sydney Road and the Turimetta Head bagging, reverse ski, and return. Pretty well everyone was line astern here - taking 5,24,12,2 and the dash to the rock pool before donning the wet suit (or not). Many beach sprint competitors were also noted going anti clockwise here ('Miss Presley' enjoying the stairway above #2 one of them), presuming a bail out after Turimetta, or on to Warriewood and home via the west. Without looking for signs of post lagoon inundation, one assumed these competitors had gone in-out to 22 along the road and were travelling dry, as beginning across the water would have been a real killer - with sand and sog slowing progress (although, come to think of it, PP noted Richard Morris (from Bennelong Surf & Sailing Club) charging northwards across the torrent - and he posted 580!!).

The 'iron' contestants would have all worked to the top of the course in a fairly simple clock or anti fashion - the only swerves needed were to add #19 before the drop to (or rise from) 29, and the need to round the #8 buoy on your way to or fro #18. Many noted the increase in wave height hereabouts, and cursed Contour Kate for interfering in matters nautical. A slightly shorter toppie was going 9,30,19,29 - and only leaving out the sixty points round the hospital - and of course giving the Shrub (#8) the flick, as the rest of the programme lined up in a continuous line of sights and wonders to behold. None better than the viewing platform at #27 and the seat at 12. Cunning running with views? You better believe it!

All controls were well taped and described, with perhaps the trio of 'copses' adding that individual NNSLSC touch that other beach courses find hard to replicate. Most agreed it was a good run - except the 'Redfern Station Master' (who was a no show after re-twisting his ankle canyoning) - with many SSS cadet surf team members up here for the first time, and enjoying the clarity of life member Merchant's 2001 cartography. Yes, it's that long ago!

Maybe a couple of stats before the committee retires to the members room and Reschs on tap.

151 actual entries, with twelve groups - including the enigmatic 'Girls' (250pts) and 'Boys' (190pts, aaah, boys, we know, we know) - giving us around the 170 mark. Not bad for way up north, and the day being a bit on the weather. Although the rusted on SSS swim teams always turn up, we should note James 'The House Of' Stuart from Illawarra/Kareelah Surf Club (and living in Sutherland I think) with us and wearing the royal purple in his 47.49 post of 300. We all salute you James.

It seems over two thirds of the field scored over the halfway mark, and all classes were represented - albeit JM only seeing one competitor on the beach, with Chris Annetts of Garingal Heads Club in the cadet belt category. No just-on or just-under one second timing this week, with Mike Burton (Big Foot Sands & Swamp Club) close at 44.58 and Glenn the other way at 45.02. You can guess who's spitting chips! Not a stat so to speak, but reporters looking down the results board might be puzzled to see Bennelong long board specialist Terry 'Towling' Bluett home with fifty points and gone in just 15 minutes. Turns out Terry ran into a tree (out at sea, amazing!) coming out of control 13, and got to see and feel something of his inner workings. Blood everywhere! I think all was fixed up before Cheryl and Tezza drove home - Cheryl quietly humming surfing tunes as she ruminated on her 140pt post in LW - and a family first.

Age category placings continue to follow recent patterns - and that of the Leichhardt Swimathon last week - although there are one or two notables to mention. None more so than Heiko ' The Kincumber Killer' Schaefer running up an outstanding 490 points in 49.10, and netting 440 in Immortal Men - sixty clear of 'Runner Bean' Ron, and eighty clear of 'Tearaway Ted' Mulherin, both well in contention in this class. This might be the biggest category win on the night, and leads correspondent Pork Pie to note The Cucumber is 'on fire'! Actually, looking at results, this is not the biggest margin (Carol in LW had 130 in hand, Michele 160 in JW, Antoniya 80, and 'The Shunter' 210!), but given the quality of the field, a remarkable score.

Gwen Sewell takes IW from June (250/220), Rosscoe and Steve Flick tie on 430 in LM (with Stevo working further north than Ross but taking on the wrong side of fifty to do it), Steve Ryan (OM) as mentioned clears the lot in 42 and holds ten from Tommy Joss and James McQuillan - who both ran their 590's with a minute and a half to spare, making the judges wonder what was the drop? Got to be #8, or maybe #4. I'll plum for eight - and probably give this my lonely pot award. Andrew Hill dropped twenty in his all points loop, but is listed in equal 6th place overall in the Long Board. Mark Schaefre ten back, and Freddy a further twenty.

Lisa Grant was the only 600 'iron woman', although she needed five minutes (exactly!) extra time on the ski leg. Her 550 is still a clear OW winner from Catherine Murphy and Claire Winnick (both posting 510pts, with 'Of Aragon' ten seconds to the better in this close and absorbing tussle). Warwick Selby continues his winning streak with another 510 (SVM) with another fifty point buffer - this time to SVM #2 Larry 'Turn Here, Turn Here…' Weiss (460), a ten on from Gordy, and a few more to Graeme Hill and Martin 'Dear Oh Dear' Dearnley (enjoying the SSS it seems). In the close results section, the Open Boat (or VM's) category records a tie between Mike Burton and Greg Barbour with 580 points each. Greg going all stations, but losing twenty at the far buoy. Not sure which twenty (or which two tens) 'Burtons Ale' left out - maybe 8 & 4??

Andy Povah takes the WaM with 380, Emmanuelle 'converts' the WaW again with 320, this time in tandem with Rachael Povah. Rachael over, Emm under. Another great result to post is Lynn 'The Grand Piano' Stanway's 430 point win in VW - sneaking ten from Sharon in the Bennelong march past suit and sash. 'The Lampost' was 100 further back - a puzzle to Surf Lifesaving NSW, but maybe it was those early stairs? Quite a few other tied scores down the lists - including Dave Bray and Pete Annetts (both Malibu long board stars from Garingal Surf Club) with 520's. Dave 44.55, Peter over forty in a more ambitious plan. Another contest within a contest is that between GO clubmen in SVM - Stuart 'The Pennyfarthing' McWilliam and David Bowerman 'Bird', with The Bicycle taking a tenner last night to keep 'The Bird' awake till next time. 340/330 the scores.

Lots more to comb through, but better when scores posted - and the sand cleaning machine has swept through. It was a goodie, and apart from our spectacular inner harbour maps (and views of the city), one of the most scenic. The Saucebottle made the most of the area, the views, and the tidal conundrum. There was some concern expressed at the danger 21/22 represented - especially to younger competitors who might have been tempted to cross - but I don't believe there were any issues on the night. Duncan (winning SJM with an excellent 470) eschewed the drowning after witnessing a bedraggled Pork Pie emerge after a chest deep cross - and nearly going early to Sprint The Bays in NZ. I suspect many other thought along similar lines as 'The Gumboot', and either forgot 21, or did it in Larry fashion. The lagoon shoreline facilitated a reasonable time this way as the sand was firm (unlike the soft stuff on the east side of the dunes).

So, event seventeen over and out. The ute's and combi's away for another week. Big thanks Ian and the GO crew, following up from last weeks beauty in the inner west. Moving on gets us very excited however - Balmain/ Birchgrove!! Yes, yes folks, Balmain next up with Uringa's Brian 'Wilson' Cleland on guitar. Same start location adjacent to the Morts Dock (or was that Dry Dock?) Hotel where we can expect the perfect wind down goss session. After 'doing' Ballast Point and the great streets and parks of Balmain of course. It's been our biggest event for the last two seasons, and so it promises again. Bring granny, bring the kids, bring the boss!

It's going to be another week to remember. Whooo hoooo!!!  

1 comment:

Hop. said...

Great course setting by Ian - especially for it being a wonderful example of, 'join the dots', rather than, 'find the dots', as is sometimes the case with SSS.

A nice little link I used for this course, which no one else seems to have realised, was going (anti-clockwise) from 24 (or 5) to 4, 14, 6, & 28, before heading back up for 15 etc. This made it a very easy return home straight down the western flank.


Previous News