Wow, what a turn out at Red Beach this afternoon for race one of the Pita Pit Winter Race Series.
51 paddlers lined up for the 3.30 start at the northern end of the beach. The field in its entirety covered 10 and 5km surf ski paddlers and 5km SUP paddlers. Competitors came from as far north as Nganguru and as far south as Raglan, and despite the crisp south west breeze ALL were enthusiastic about The 5km loop course which started in front of the surf club and headed in an anti clockwise direction towards Stanmore Bay.
As expected the 10km surf ski paddlers started strong with Travis Mitchell setting a fast pace early on. Robbie Ford and Ian Mercer fit from all their San Francisco training also keep up the pace as did the RAYC Tims – McLarin and Grammar. In the end Travis took a narrow one second victory from Robbie Ford. Less than 10 seconds later came Tim McLarin in third and our 40+ category winner Tim Grammer.
Rachel Clark looked strong right from the start and took the womens race comfortably from the young fit Danielle McKenzie, I am sure we will see some more battles between these two as the series continues but I must say it is great to have you back Rach! It was also a welcome return of 50+ superstar Grant Heim who took out this competitive category from last years winner John Soko.
In the 5km surf ski race it was the Mairangi Bay gang laying down the gauntlet on the spec skis with Michael Smith taking the win from Dyane and Conor McGorman.
Special mention must go to Jono Spurdle, Stefanie Crncevic, Ashton Reiser and Corin Maberly who have only recently been infected with the surf ski bug, but all braved their first ever race at Red Beach and we are looking forward to seeing them at future races.
The SUP race was also a doosie with little over a minute separating the first seven paddlers. In the end it was the very classy performance from Jeremy Stephenson that took the win from Russel Benshaw and Marcus Hansen. Stacy Smith took the womens race from Victoria Stuart and outta towner Tania Edwards.
A big thank you to all that attended this afternoons race, we very excited to have such a classy and fit field line up for our first race although we actually didn’t expect quite so many of you – so we do apologize to some of you who missed out on a sausage at the prizegiving! We are very much a family friendly event and we will ensure that there is enough sausages for all paddlers and their support team at race two – THAT IS A PROMISE!
And a massive thanks to all of our amazing sponsors in particular Pita Pit, but also Sharkskin, NZ Sale and Allpower – you guys are the very best. Thanks also to Red Beach Surf Club for having us.
The full results are on our "Race Results" Tab