12 TOWERS OCEAN PADDLE RACE 2016
“Perfect decision to move the race to Moreton Bay.
Great wind, classic conditions and some
epic long runners. That was so much fun”!
Mens Elite Winner Michael Booth
With another classic curse of the Queensland “Cyclone” season, “Huey” dished us up massive Gold Coast seas and unfavourable conditions. On advice from the Gold Coast City Lifeguard Service of beach closures and to plug in place an alternate location, the drive up the M1 to Moreton Bay was a successful move.
Now the “Bay”, as it is known to many of the South East Queensland SUP nutters has been a wicked training ground for the lead up to this years 12 Towers Event. The wind has been on and in the green since early November. So with a contingency plan put in place for this area was a perfect reminder that the Bay does score on par with the two sister coasts either side of her!
Along with the combination of our paddle partners of Prone, Ocean Ski and OC1, we smashed previous attendance records of the past 5 years. All states of Australia were represented along with 5 international countries cementing the 126 participants in 12T’s event history. An amazing feat considering that our little local paddle race of 2012 now successfully boasts many disciplines and international flavour!
With 100 paddlers at the Raby Bay start line for the Long Course made spectacle of colour and dash, with just across the bay to the 26 Short Course competitors at the Wellington Point start in striking same. Both distances, all classes, each age division as competitive as each other. And although it is amazing to see the elitist of the sport supporting the event, the massive depth of participation and new faces is what makes this race so successful.
Blue skies, south/south east wind at 30 knots and a 2 foot wind swell in the bay channel made for a very quick crossing. Although the only directions were to “see you at the finish line”
, 100% of faces that passed under the “inflato" Hogs Breath “Big Pig” finish arch were stretched! Nothing better that receiving a reply to your question of “how did you go” with a “THAT WAS WICKED”!
Massive stand out performances by all paddlers but in particular Elite SUP’pers and world class athletes Michael Booth and Karla Gilbert both defending their 2015 titles. Not to be out shadowed by their feats, Ocean Ski Paddler Ryan Paroz came close to busting an hour of the 15km Bay course and snagging line honours on the way. Our youngest competitor at age 13 Kira Wallace (SUP) tamed the channel and looked as fresh as daisies when she finished. Not only did she take home the gong for the Junior Category, she managed to score a new $600 KeNalu Paddle in the competitors draw.
There were many battles within each category through each age division. The top 3 of the big boys of the ocean, (Mark Huxley, Craig Wright & Jason Oliphant) Unlimited SUP were separated by 39 seconds with nine seconds for the top 2. Callan Dick and Tim Cyprien divided by six seconds in the Open Men SUP 6th & 7th respectively. Cam Harvey and Peter Kelly Open Men by a mere 1 second. Kate Baker and Alison Fullagar separated by less than 2 minutes in Open Women. Moving on to the oldest competitor of Robert Eyre (73 yrs) mixing it with the, and I dare say youngsters hitting the line in 73rd position. The depth and calibre is a true testament to the support and goal setting of “complete, not compete”!
But behind every successful event is a huge organisation structure of committees and sponsors. Many thanks to our wonderful sponsors and supporters and I wish to list in order of preference.
- 1SUP1 - It’s all about having fun!
- KeNalu Australia (Dean Elcoat)
- DEEP Ocean Boards (Simon Hunnybun)
- Von Zipper Eyewear and Apparel
- Hogs Breath Cafe
- Back 2 Basics Office National (Scott “Scooter” Ritchie)
- SUPSA Gold Coast
- Digital Media Creations (Tim “Big Cat” Patterson)
- Sun Mud Australia
These amazing brands supported the event with over $9000 of product and prizes.
A massive and appreciative thank you to the SUPSA Gold Coast SUP Club led by President Anthony Clark and committee. All the helping hands from 3 of Queensland’s leading SUP Clubs (BrisSUP, Sunny Coast SUP & SUPSA) of the event area set-up, timing, catering and clear out. My personal thanks to Nick & Krissy McDonald, Pat & Karyn Trevor-Jones, Scott & Jodi Ritchie and Mark & Dawn Smith all going above and beyond. Alanah Mercer for giving me the confidence and drive to continue the love of this sport…..and of her of course!
So may I finish by stating this 5th running of the 12 Towers Ocean Paddle Event has witnessed some of the warmest camaraderie I have every experienced at an event…….new friendships formed and the “Bay” is now certainly on the global map!