Whether you love or hate the Mount Surf Life Saving clubs sporting achievements, if there is one thing you can't deny and that is that John "Spindles" Bryant is an absolute amazing coach and he has the results to prove it, having now won the Alan Gardiner more times than anyone else in Surf Life Saving.
But is this healthy for our sport? Will other clubs lift their game and try and stop the Mount from claiming a 7th title their home beach!
Below is a little write up on Spindles over the years:
"Mount coach continues amazing record
Another record-breaking surf lifesaving season will come to an end for John Bryant next week, with the long-time Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service coach swapping sun and sand for some decent Central Otago Pinot Noir.
The 54-year-old admits he’s shattered after another big season but snaring another slice of history with the Mount club will help nurture him through his longest off-season in 15 years.
Earlier this month, Mount collected their sixth consecutive Alan Gardner Trophy, as the best overall club at the national championships in Gisborne. It’s the first time any club has won six titles in a row and adds to the extraordinary connection Bryant - widely known as Spindles - has with surf lifesaving’s most prestigious club prize.
Since moving to Tauranga in 2003, Bryant has now won nine Alan Gardner titles, including the breakthrough first in 2007. However, he also won three as South Brighton coach, from 2001-03, and another five as an athlete with the Christchurch club from 1995-99. He has now won the trophy 17 times in the 60 years it has been competed for, with the trophy not awarded in 1972.
It was South Brighton’s five consecutive wins that Mount overtook in Gisborne, when they turned a two-point final-day lead into a 62-point masterclass, finishing on 166 points and overpowering Mairangi Bay (104) and Waikanae (94).
“Sunday was a very powerful performance - there were only a few points’ difference going into it but I knew all the other clubs had fired all their shots,” Bryant said. “The programme I run is all designed around that Sunday - that’s when my athletes are expected to fire and they did that big time.”
But success is a constantly-moving target for the Mount club.
“We’ve been quite dominant for five years and you’ve got to keep thinking of new things every year to get the athletes up for it and excited,” Bryant said. “This would be one of the hardest seasons I’ve had and at times, it’s been a real struggle. Some things make it easier though, like the excitement of the young athletes coming into the senior group, which keeps a lot of the older ones going and it certainly does the same for my coaching. Some of my most satisfying moments as a coach haven’t involved gold medals - they’ve been with hard-working athletes accomplishing their goals. I love seeing kids go from not being able to sit on a ski, to making a ski race final. That really rings my bell.”
We wish you all the best John, and thank you for supporting us for all these years!
Ironman and NZ Black Fin Captain Max Beattie is back with a vengeance. After a challenging last season he is ready to make his mark on the 2017/18 Ironman series.
Describe your season last year?
Challenging. Off the back of a career best season the year before, and then coming back from a successful worlds championships in the Netherlands, I struggled through injury and sickness for most of the season. I couldn't get any continuity with my training and it really took its toll mentally as well as physically.
What steps have you put in place to improve from last season?
This off-season I saw lots of health care professionals to try and find a non-surgical solution for back pain. After working really closely with my physio, I commenced some pretty serious rehab and made sure I stayed off the surgery table. Now, I'm back moving really well and happy with where my body and mind are at.
How important is the support team you have built around yourself?
Extremely important. Making sure you have positive, happy people in your life tends to be really infectious. In our sport “tall poppy syndrome” is unfortunately really prevalent. So I like to steer clear of that sort of thing surround myself with like minded people.
What steps have you put in place to remain as injury free as possible?
I listen to my body a lot more. I think that’s really important and something I really neglected in previous seasons. You can really do some damage if you don’t look after yourself. I also try and see my physio 2-3 times a month, and on other days I have “Home Program” with a few exercises for extra maintenance. I have a healthy (sugar free) diet, and try and steer clear or any alcohol during big training blocks and racing.
What has changed most about your training and lifestyle since moving to Surfers Paradise SLSC?
The biggest change I’ve noticed is the culture at the club. There’s no rivalries or big egos getting around our club, just a bunch of mates who like training together. And when you get to spend time with your best mates, doing the sport you love it makes those hard sessions a lot easier.
Since moving to surfers the biggest change?
The biggest change for me has definitely been my mental approach to racing. My physical capabilities have always been noticed and nurtured at every club I’ve been to, but the surfers crew worry about more than just “the athlete”. All Ironmen and Ironwomen are incredible athletes and training ridiculously hard, but often neglect the mental and emotional side of racing. Which I’m still learning everyday, with the help of my awesome coach Zayne Hamill and idol/mentor Trevor Hendy.
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
I’d love to finish Top 6 in the KNG Ironman Series and Win my 5th NZ Ironman title, those are my main 2 goals for the season. But like every Ironman, I really want to be at the “pointy end” of the Aussie Ironman Final. And lastly, I’d love to take-out the Aussie Board Relay with my Surfers team mates.
When out of the water, what are 3 of your passions?
I’m currently studying Social Media Marketing at the moment; and I find it really interesting, it’s also a great way to take my mind off training and racing and doing something different.
Im a massive coffee addict! So whenever I’m not studying, working or training I can usually be found at a cafe somewhere enjoy a strong flat white.
The Manly Sea-Eagles are my other passion. I know that sounds weird, but I love them ... passionately.
What are 3 goals of your in life away from sport?
I’m currently buying an apartment with my twin brother. So ideally I’d love to be able tick that one off before the New Year.
Be happy. I think that’s the probably the most important one. Not get caught up in societal expectations and surround myself with happy, like minded people in whatever I’m doing.
It’s pretty cliche’ but I’d love to travel. I’ve been to some cool places already but it’s a big wide world out there and I’d love to see more of it.
Credit to: Engine Swimwear
I JUST BLOODY LOVE IT.
It's that simple.
I choose to do that race, year in year out not due to any reason other than i love it. It's my favourite, and not because i have had success in completing it, but because it's my vision of an epic race.
I really like the idea of a tough event thats left down to fitness, will power and heart on the day, it's why i get so much enjoyment watch races like KONA and although the Gold doesn't compare to that event, it's kind of the closest to it within the Surf Life Saving realm.
I first competed in it as a team, at the age of 16, doing the ski leg with my brother and a good friend, Aaron Helmer, i found it so dam hard and was baffled as to how someone could keep racing after that.
My first individual attempt was in the under 19's, where i sacrificed studying for the HSC (seemed like a big deal at the time) to train and compete and after crossing the line in fifth place, I was immensely upset with myself and in my mind at the time, never wanted to do the event again. it wasn't until 2012, when I watched Caine win that i had a little spark driving home. Somewhere inside me I just knew i needed to do that race again and so i decided i would, 100% be there next year no matter what.
Every year i have competed in it since than i have been SO lucky in taking home the win. Its never something I expect but only something i hope and in all honestly, work my ass off for. I honestly really enjoy starting the program knowing its not going to be easy, theres going to be challenges and I'm going to take away a whole lot from it, regardless if I win or not. To me, it is about the journey to the start line, everyone knows i love the grind, i love the hard work and the discipline that goes with this race and thats why i show up every year. I think that as an athlete, you get limited opportunities, doing the race is always a risk for the Ironman Series that follows shortly after it, but its a risk i feel much better taking, rather than looking back and wishing.
You probably know that, when watching me, i'm not try pretty or technically sound, but i am a perfectionist. When i race, all i want to do is perfect it, that race, on that day. I still think I have such room for improvement, there is always something I can work on, something i can perfect. Regardless of results, in my mind, I have not perfected the race, and yes, I want to. Anyway, It takes a Twenty week program, a lot of dedication, some serious self help conversations, and an awesome team to get you not only to the start line, but than again to the finish line. The race is a journey, its a process and I think that not only as an athlete, but as a human it challenges you and betters you each year, so my suggestion, would be to get out there and do it. Race your perfect race.
Final instructions: “Pack light, meet at 2pm at Teahupoo”.
Pete, Tanyn and I were ready. We knew nothing about what was instore for the next 48 hours. Into the dry bag went the essentials: spray jacket, thermal, tea tree oil – that was it! A final wave from Jacko on the dock, and off we went, barefoot. 26 Tahitians, 2 Kiwis, 1 Aussie and an American.
From the end of the road, there are only two options of transport, by water or by foot. A short boat trip up the coastline transports you back in time, this is Tahiti, real Tahiti.
Dropped off at our accommodation, and it dawned on us we may have taken the “pack lightly” instructions a little too literally. Then again, we honestly thought we were sleeping in the bush, under the stars. Up until reading this, with some solid acting from Tano, Jacko still thinks we slept on the ground, our stitch up for him missing the adventure. Have a laugh for yourself, we’ve included the video at the bottom. Sorry Jacko!
An afternoon spent exploring our base for the next few days. For the aquatically inclined, we took to the water. When the ocean temp is 27 degrees, how could you not! Swimming and paddling our way around the pristine lagoons and shallow reefs, you feel as if you’ve found yourself in the world’s best fish tank. Simply breathtaking. A shared meal with new friends and a couple of hours spent stargazing on the dock. We were ready. The following day the adventure would begin.
We spent 2 days exploring. 2 days hiking through the rainforest, across streams and up valleys. 2 days exploring waterfalls and swimming in caves. 2 days paddling though untouched lagoons, open oceans and up rivers. 2 days getting drenched by downpours and sunburnt in the same 10 minutes. We were on a tropical island after all.
2 days spent in a state of awe, absolutely mind blown by the beauty of this island.
We had our fair share of laughs along the way, including a few bursts of nervous laughter when the local guide mentioned this was prime stonefish territory across the river mouths we found ourselves wading through, barefoot! The jelly sandals strapped to the base of everyone else’s feet suddenly made a lot more sense, they turn out to work a treat.
The scenery was exceptional; however, it was the company that made the adventure. Across the course of the 2 days, swapping stories, sharing laughter and the odd puzzled look as language barriers threw up some moments of confusion, it was the shared meals where the spirit of the adventure became apparent. 30 people, from all different backgrounds, united by a common love of the ocean.
That is the thing I love most about the Waterman Tahiti Tour: the people.
- Devon Halligan
@waterman_tahiti_tour @airtahitinui #lovetahiti
Manoa turned. "This one, this one is good. GO"
Sam never looked back. He paddled straight into the monster itself. From the line up, we lost him. He took off so deep we were certain he would end up over the falls, on the reef, the board absolutely totaled. We held our breath, waiting for the flicker of green to emerge. And it did. That green DEEP board flying into the channel. Sam arms extended in a state of euphoria. He'd made it. The lineup erupted, the loudest cheers from Manoa himself.
Manoa was the first to take Teahupoo on a prone 10'6. Sam was the first on a 12.
Waterman Tahiti Tour - Moorea.
I'm a big fan of adventure. And always the first to say yes to just about anything. When the opportunity to head to Tahiti for a waterman event presented itself, I had agreed before I even knew what I'd signed up for. Turns out was a pretty good decision.
The Waterman Tahiti Tour Event 4 was staged on the island of Moorea. A gorgeous island a quick ferry trip from Papeete. With its aqua blue lagoons and soaring peaks, it truly provides the perfect backdrop.
The event itself was run over the course of 2 days. Day 1 - 21km SUP and combo waterman event, a multi discipline event involving swim, prone and SUP.
Day 2 - 3km swim and 10km prone. And a surprise 5 min plank challenge just for good measure.
I can't fault the race. The crystal clear water sitting at a tropical 29 degrees, jagged reef that proved to provide some navigational headaches and race briefings that consisted of "follow the lead boat until the pass, around a boat in the pass and return back to the beach". It's easy to see why the Tahitian culture embraces everything watersport related. Simply put, we were paddling in paradise.
As enjoyable as the race itself was, the culture of the event was even better. Had you strolled down to Pineapple Beach on Sunday morning you would find a group of watermen slogging it out on the water to crown a champion. Stroll down to the beach Sunday midday, you would have found the same group of watermen gathered together, still in race attire, sharing a traditional meal, a few drinks and plenty of stories. This is the heart of the event. A group of individuals coming together to share their love of the ocean. It's as simple as that.
As a kid I was inquisitive. The local Tahitian kids are no different. So naturally when a group of people turn up with blonde hair, foreign accents and bright 12ft prone boards, we had a few observers.
Language barriers always provides some funny moments. Inviting the kids to come join us for a paddle and take our boards for a spin involved a series of over-exaggerated hand movements and some pretty confused looks. But we got there in the end. These kids spend every day waterlogged from dawn to dusk, paddling whatever board, boat, or log they can get their hands on. Paddling with these kids watching the excitement unfold on their faces, you can't help but find yourself grinning from ear to ear. No words were spoken, but as it turns out, none were required. Shared smiles, they're universal.
Thanks again for an amazing trip.
Lincoln Dews is a highly competitive Waterman in the fields of Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Sailing, Surf Life Saving and Surfing... Follow his journey as he contests the SUP World Tour.
Lincoln grew up on the Sunshine Coast and instantly fell in love with the ocean and the possibilities it presents. From a young age, he excelled in Surf Sports and made a name for himself through winning various state and national titles. He was searching for the next big challenge and easily transitioned into SUP racing. Over the last 5 years, he has since become a permanent fixture at the top end of SUP races world wide.
Lincoln's Short Term Goals:
- Achieve World Champion status as a SUP racer and become a recognised cross discipline ocean athlete.
- Win Molokai2Oahu.
- Finish top 5 on the APP & SUP Racer World Rankings.
- Complete Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2017.
"Thank you to DEEP Ocean Boards for sponsoring my dream of racing on the SUP World Tour"
Lincoln has achieved the following results in SUP racing:
- 3rd Overall Molokai2Oahu SUP 2014
- 5th Overall Molokai2Oahu Prone 2015
- 3rd 14ft SUP Molokai2Oahu 2013
- 4 x ISA World SUP & Paddleboard World Champion
- 2 x ISA Silver Medalist
- 3 x AUS SUP Race Champion
- 8th PPG Overall 2016
- 4th APP Maui PRO/AM 2017
In Sailing, Lincoln's role ranges from a bowmen to a navigator. He has set about chasing his passion by expanding his skills in the hope of working for professional crews in the near future. Currently he is working on a variety of yachts on different campaigns within Queensland.
Lincoln has had a love for Surf Life Saving & Surfing for a number of years & works as an Ocean lifeguard to protect the local swimmers:
- 2015 QLD State Ironman Champion
- 1st Place Noosa Festival of Surfing (Tech Race and 10ft SUP Surfing 2017)
APP World Tour, Molokai2Oahu, HOOD River, PPG Event, Doctor Race, King of the Cut Race, Rolex big boat series, Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race & Supporting a charity paddle in Perth for the 'Oceans Heroes'.
What can you do? Lincoln is actively looking for sponsors to support his dream and contribute to his future success. He is happy to work with sponsors to contribute High Quality Content, Event Appearances and support the brand by the power of referral. If you are interested in contacting Lincoln to discuss Marketing Opportunities please call 0431 899 397 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waterman Tahiti Tour ........
Sitting at the bar table under the third confrontation between the Warriors v Cavaliers, we collectively gathered for the first time to start the Waterman tour to Tahiti 2017. The muscles in the team Peter and Jo, partners in crime and surf-life saving legends Kristyl Smith and the bearded Zane Holmes anxiously awaited departure. Joining them at the table was popular top surf-life saving Australia champions Harriet Brown and Ali Day, with his generous smile. New Zealand’s surf-life saving power house Devon Halligan was patiently waiting, and sitting at the end of the table was myself, nervously awaiting for the adventure to begin. Fan favorite Andrew Newton was joining the team in Tahiti after sharing his love with his family.
Greeted by tuned ukulele’s, tropical temperatures and a night sky in Tahiti, we were set to start the adventure at sunrise.
When the sun rose, the realization became a reality. Crystal clear tropical water, dense lush mountains and a cheeky left hand break across the lagoon of Le Meridien Resort. An inclusive buffet breakfast was demolished before hitting the line up for a few cheeky waves that turned into a 3 hour surf and tan session for the willing.
That afternoon we met with Tahiti’s surfing legend and the king of Teauphoo, Maona Drollet who welcomed us to his country and home generously. Coconuts were axed from above and fell into our hands with replenishment and satisfaction. A cheeky wave was noticed rolling onto the beach by all and noted for the following day.
Day two dawned on us in a different manner. We fell into routine like clockwork, up early for a solid training session on the DEEP 12’ Ocean Boards outside the lagoon for the athletes while Kristyl and Zane enjoyed the afterlife of what they would've once grinded out in fashion. The boards were then loaded onto the ferry in preparation for the next adventure.
The buffet breakfast was once again capitalized on before heading back around the coast to Manoa’s homestead where we surfed the beach break with views of his balcony. Hours in the water were accumulating rapidly for the team and there was no sign of it slowing down. As the sun slowly sunk into the horizon, we shared stories around the fire that provided the light to continue conversations before we left for home. Awaiting us was a buffet dinner to die for. Fresh seafood, a choice of meats and salads had everyone chomping at the bit, however the entertainment and the highlight of the night was a Polynesian performance from Ali on stage who showed us how not to do it. Votes were high to encourage Ali to stick to paddling as he couldn't seem to wiggle his hips like the locals.
The third day of the trip was the start of the next adventure. It involved a change in location and new racing experience. Saturday dawned with Harriet and myself waking with the roosters and catching an early ferry to Moorea where the Tahiti Waterman Tour event was to be kicked off. It was a strong start with Harriet claiming her first dose of victory in the Tahiti Waterman Tour by taking out the women's combo event, a swim, prone paddle and a sup paddle, all of the same distance in an ironman like manner. I disagreed to agree that all components of the combo should be the same length, especially the swim component, however participated with my competitive edge, relying on my prone to carry me through. We eventually met with the team later on and adventured back to our new accommodation to get some sleep before a big day of racing the following day for all of the travelling team.
Sunday was dancing day, the day team mates became rivals, cob webs were cleared, fears were overcome and pineapples were in stock. The morning was broken with a mandatory plank competition at the Tahiti Waterman Tour event. A compulsory 5 minutes had to be achieved in the position before competitors could stop to think about the next event, the 4km swim. The photos said it all for this part of the competition…
Ali took a convincing win in the Tahiti Waterman 4km swim with Harriet continuing her winning form taking out the women's swim section. Honorable mentions go out to Zane and Kristyl who tied up their bathers, slipped on their yellow caps and put the goggles on for some impressive swim performances that put them in the top 10% of the field. The prone race followed an hour later with this the main focus for us as a team at the Tahiti Waterman Tour event. After the first buoy turn, we had a race on with Ali and I battling it out for the entire 12km downwind-headwind paddle. Ali claimed the line honors and added to his collection of winners pineapples at Pineapple Beach. Andrew came across a few problems with some bits of coral and ultimately lost some beef to the reef, crossing the line in a bloody 3rd. Harriet claimed another set of pineapples while Devon impressed in a gutsy performance for second.
We enjoyed a local Tahitian hangi before heading round the coast to spend some more time in the water. This saw everyone in the water, including Peter who showcased his own paddling prowess as we went to swim with sharks and stingrays. Some were more comfortable than others with Jo giving one lucky stingray a kiss. Andrew and Ali overcome their fears and touched a stingray however, kept their distance on top of the water for majority of the time. Swimming with sharks and stingrays was an amazing experience for the entire team, with multiple years of experience in the ocean and some of us never getting as close as what we did.
Monday was day five. A day of recuperation and re-location back to Le Meridien Resort. The ferry back, transportation of the boards back and a day by the pool to read a few words as we recovered from the weekend of racing we had just experienced. The good news had came through and there were signs of celebration from Ali as the Golden-state Warriors trumped the Cavaliers and pulled out a championship win in the NBA finals.
Monday afternoon we spent some time with the locals to share some advice on tips to help grow the sport in Tahiti as it sets to grow around the world.
We analyzed the forecast and prepared for a jam-packed day at Tahiti’s famous Teahupo’o for our last day of the trip.
The last day of the trip brought red backs, dehydration and hangry team mates. Some shade was provided by liters of overhead water out at Teahupo’o for those lucky enough. Zapper Holmes pulled out a near seven hour stint on the edge of the reef while Ali, Krystal and Devon joined him in attempt to try get their share of the shade provided, some more successful then others. I slowly built up the confidence with Manoa at my side to slowly drift out the line up and get a DEEP 12’ Ocean Board some protection from those harmful sun rays with the adrenaline pumping. Harriet got some productivity in with some amazing shots in the deep blue water of Teahupo’o, utilizing the most of having Dominic Mosqueira join us for the day. I’m sure he caught a few pictures that will say more than a thousand words involving barrels, bums and uninhabited scenery of Tahiti that I'm sure we will all see when the photos get released!!
The final morning in Tahiti saw suitcases piled up at the buffet breakfast as we enjoyed our last breakfast reflecting on our time in Tahiti. Energy levels were low and the desire to leave was minimal but the appreciation and the satisfaction of spending so much time in the water, achieving so much and experiencing such an adventure of Tahiti is something the we will all hold on to as a highlight in our careers. A massive thank you to Waterman Store NZ and Australia, and DEEP Ocean Boards for making this such an incredible adventure. I'm sure the next one will be just as exciting.
Also special thanks to Air Tahiti Nui, Le Meridien Resort and the Waterman Tour Tahiti, especially Stephan for your hospitality.
- Sam Shergold
Women SUP and Paddleboard racers took center stage in dramatic fashion on the fifth day of 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship with hotly contested 17km Distance Races. USA’s Candice Appleby successfully defended her 2015 title, winning back-to-back Gold Medals and Australia’s Harriet Brown swept the Paddleboard Racing divisions, winning the Gold Medal to go along with her Technical Race Gold from two days ago.
Brown’s Gold Medal on the back of Michael Booth’s Gold Medal in the SUP Men’s Distance Race on Thursday propelled Australia into the lead in the team point standings with two days of competition remaining. Team France and Team USA are close on Australia’s heels, respectively in second and third place.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre greeted each of the competitors, including the Gold Medalists as they crossed the finish line at Musket Cove.
“These amazing, strong women put their full world-class talent on display in this distance race,” said Aguerre. “Candice and Harriet proved that they are true World Champions by delivering dominant, commanding performance on the water today.”
“After three days of exciting racing, we are ready for the SUP Surfing Finals, which could turn out to be a truly historic day for the sport. With a massive swell headed toward one of the best reef breaks in the world, we are going to be in for quite a show tomorrow.”
The Women’s SUP Racers took off from the start line at Cloudbreak first. The 2015 Gold Medalist, USA’s Candice Appleby, quickly jumped out to the front of the pack and by the time she was passing the island of Namotu, she had built a solid 100-meter lead on her closest competitor, France’s Olivia Piana.
Appleby’s lead only grew, however she nearly made a costly mistake and lost track of the last buoy before Musket Cove. Recognizing her error, she corrected her course and appropriately rounded the buoy, crossing the finish line in dominant fashion with the well-deserved Gold Medal. Appleby was followed by France’s Piana with the Silver, Spain’s Laura Quetglas with the Bronze and Slovenia’s 19 year-old Manca Notar with the Copper, the first ISA Medal ever for a Slovenian athlete. Notar is the first ever Slovenian athlete at an ISA event.
It’s amazing to win Gold for the second time in the Distance Race,” said Appleby. “It was a really hot course out there today with challenging conditions.”
“This event is really exciting because of the Olympic style format. I think the ISA is doing a great job of trying to propel our sport to the next level. Representing my country is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.”
The Women’s Paddleboard Distance Race took off from Cloudbreak after the SUP racers and a two-woman race quickly developed.
Australia’s Brown, who had already won the Gold Medal in the Technical Race, and New Zealand’s Dannielle McKenzie, who took the Silver in Technical Race, jumped out ahead of the pack at a blistering pace.
Both riders chose their own routes and remained neck and neck all the way to the final straightaway towards the finish at Musket Cove, surpassing nearly the whole field of SUP racers despite starting the race a minute after them.
After an intense sprint in the final 100 meters, Australia’s Brown managed to build less than a board length lead to cross the line first and win the Gold Medal ahead of McKenzie who took the Silver. Minutes off the leaders, Bronze and Copper were earned by France’s Flora Manciet and South Africa’s Anna Notten.
“It was amazing having all the Aussies out there during the race as I was paddling,” said Brown. “I could hear them cheering for me and waving the flag.”
“Danielle McKenzie and I are really good friends and we decided that we would pull away from the pack together. We worked in unison, but on that second to last buoy we stopped talking and knew it was going to be a sprint to the finish.”
The most emotional moment of the event occurred at the end of day of racing as 16-year-old SUP Racer from India, Tanvi Jagadish, showed an inspiring display of courage and determination. Representing her country in their first appearance in an ISA World Championship, Jagadish pushed through to finish the race and was greeted by parade of fellow athletes who had waited for her arrival. They accompanied her to the finish along the side of the course cheering and encouraging her in a grand display of camaraderie within the international SUP community, with tears in her eyes.
“I have so much passion in learning surfing and StandUp paddling from when I was 8 years-old, but nobody supported me much because I was a girl,” Jagadish said after the race with emotion in her eyes, “But I never gave up because I badly wanted to do it and I really wanted to support more girls’ participation in the world of sports… and now I have this opportunity to represent India.”
The key to going faster on your surf ski is not just about logging more miles. If you don't have time to train twice a day six days a week - and not many of us do - you can still make some significant gains. The key is using very specific training goals to increase your surf ski speed every time you're out on the water.
Good improvements can be made purely in working on the forward stroke technique for example. As your stroke improves, so will your stability in the surf ski and the power to accelerate.
Keeping straight arms is another important technique to concentrate on. It's important to pause for a split second before “spearing” the paddle blade down into the water. This sets the racing surf ski up to glide nicely as well giving you time to shift control to your upper hand.
Once you're gaining confidence with the arms, work on the Leg Drive - a good technique here will also give you speed and stability. You'll also need to work on increasing your cadence and improving your balance if you're going to get quicker.
Mastering downwind paddling is another aspect of surf ski racing that needs constant deliberate practice every time you're out on the water. Always angle the nose of the ski towards the biggest trough and focus on catching just one run at a time. Then, link multiple small runs together and focus on catching as many runs as possible. When you're on the wave, steer across it at an angle.
The main tip for a focused training session is to keep your paddle moving. As long as you're focused on improving your momentum, consistency and timing, you're going to increase your speed.
Back when most surf skis were tippy, we used to believe that if a surf ski was stable it must be slow. Mastering an elite level surf ski in open waves remains challenging but today, stable entry level surf skis are only fractionally slower than elite skis. The new mantra is “stability before ability”.
Starting to paddle in an unstable boat can lead to poor technique, which then becomes very hard to change. Working on developing technique is not easy in a surf ski when you have to constantly focus on keeping upright.
A stable boat gives you a platform that you can use to build your forward stroke technique before taking on a more elite performance model. It's a great way to transition from flat water to waves.
If you're keen on chasing waves then a beginner surf ski will allow you to develop great technique, have fun and be much safer. In addition to being much more stable, these craft are also much easier to get back into from the water. You'll also improve your downwind paddling much faster as you’ll be less tense and more focused on paddling hard to catch the waves.
If you anticipate most of your paddling is likely to be on flat water and you're really looking for a challenge, then you could consider an intermediate surf ski.
There is a surf ski out there to suit everyone's ability. Talk to our friendly staff at the Waterman Store if you need advice on choosing the right surf ski for you. We know the products, we know the sport, and we love to help people get into the water.
If you love the water, stand up paddle boarding is another great way to enjoy it. And the beauty of stand-up paddle boarding in New Zealand is that you can enjoy it all year round. In fact, winter can be the best time to hit the beach.
In NZ, the winds in the winter months are predominantly from the west, so many parts of the east coast experience calm glassy conditions. Flat seas are SUP heaven, especially for beginners but even the most accomplished surfers can have fun on the small days. And because it's winter there's the added bonus that you're likely to have the ocean to yourself.
From the Bay of Islands with its warm waters and stunning coast to the iconic beach experience at Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, or paddling with dolphins in the harbour of an ancient volcano at Akaroa, a stand up paddleboard is the perfect way to explore New Zealand's east coast this winter.
Stand up paddle boarding is also great exercise. If there's a summer sport you want to keep fit for, time on a SUP board will work your knees, legs, balance muscles, and your core - especially if you're motivated to stay upright and away from the cold water! So if the mountain bike tracks are closed this winter or the surf is too small for your short board, grab a SUP instead.
Stand up paddle boarding is the fastest growing sport in the world, possibly because almost anyone can do it. Go out and enjoy our oceans that New Zealand has to offer. And if you'd like to find out more about stand up paddle boarding, talk to the experienced team at the Waterman Store about how to start and the best SUP equipment for you.
Zane recently travelled to Fiji with his family and got some amazing waves at Cloudbreak.