The 5 beaches is by far one of my favourite races on the calendar, great people on the south coast and old school fun coming through the surf on the 5 beaches along the course. Well huge surf that has smashed the coast made the race impossible forcing Billy Harker to move it to town and have a 2 lapper from Marine. Good call for the large field.
There is some small part of me that would love to have taken on the south coast today. I remember years crashing through mountainous surf. The sport is going in the right direction but there are still a small few with the skills and the balls to have some fun in the big stuff.
Back to the race! Had a decent start and made my way up to sit side wave. Oliver Burn always gets good starts pulled the first 2km and then I took it up. I didn’t go hard at all, I wanted to conserve as the 18km long course deserved some respect, especially in the windless flat conditions. I just was more comfy pulling as it gave me more control to use the push off the swell.
The bunch stayed really big, I think like 8 boats for most of the first lap. Youngster Grant Van De Walt put in the first decent effort at the end of the first lap, game on. The bunch went straight down to 5. Matt Bouman took it up next and I knew this was the defining move of the race. He has been in fine form having won every race this season. I pushed hard for his slip. 1 at a time the bunch whittled down, First Herman Chalupsky went off, then Andre Pohl and finally Grant.
In past races in the series Matt has made sure he got me off before we hit the into the wind sections, this is where his strength is. Well I hung on more than previously and turned with Matt this time. I was done though, I had used my reserves and was on the limit. The wind had also started to pick up. OO the last stretch was going to be hard.
If it had stayed flat I think I would have stayed on the wave longer but Matt’s strength blew me off with 3km to go. Think I finished some 30-40sec back and well ahead of the next group. Andre Pohl was really strong and beat Grant into third. I can see the effort Andre has put in this season and it’s paying off with some really solid result in the flat races.
Training is going really well, my shoulders are as solid as ever and feel no sign of the niggles earlier in the year. My rehab in the gym has certainly made me a more consistent. I am really positive right now about the form building for the Dunlop world cup later in the season!
In the Ladies race Michele Eray ran away with it, she got a massive 89% and even got in the B grade prizes. Wow, on a role!