Rowers and paddlers pushed through a blustery southerly wind and choppy conditions to finish the first leg of the 2016 George Bass Surfboat Marathon at Moruya Beach on January 3.
Defending champions Bulli rose to the challenge and won the first leg of the men’s open race in two hours, 47 minutes and one second on the 31km course.
The Moruya Vikings and Long Reef jostled for the minor podium positions in the men’s open race and the Vikings prevailed in front of a home crowd by seven seconds.
Bulli men’s sweep Paul Jones said he was pleased by his crew’s performance on day one.
“(I’m) Really happy with how we went, we weren’t sure how we would go as we’ve got a bit of a different crew this time,” Jones said.
The boats left the starting line in front of Batemans Bay bridge on an outgoing tide and negotiated some breaking waves before following the coastline south.
Jones said the crew faced little wind until it was close to Broulee.
“Just before Broulee the southerly came up and from Broulee to here it was pretty strong,” he said.
“It was pretty hard-going.”
The composite Moruya/Long Reef crew began its Bass well winning the open women’s leg in three hours 16 minutes and 37 seconds.
Moruya rower Clare Immens said winning the first leg was “unbelievable” and the crews should work well together for the rest of the week.
“We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, it seemed to be working,” Immens said.
The Broulee Capitals showed their credentials finishing second in three hours, 21 minutes and 29 seconds ahead of Metropolitan Caloundra in third.
Queensland’s Tallebudgera was the first boat home overall despite starting after the women’s divisions.
Tallebudgera went toe-to-toe with Narooma over the final stretch from Broulee Island to South Head and won the men’s masters’ leg by 15 seconds.
North Cronulla followed in third.
Pambula blitzed its rivals in the masters’ women’s class and beat the Broulee Bats and Warriewood by at least 15 minutes.
Stew O’Regan of North Bondi was the first of seven ski paddlers to finish followed by Bondi’s Will Hardman and Craig Vipond of Maroochydore.
O’Regan spoke to the beach commentator following the first leg win and said the last five kilometres were a “hard-grind” as entrants paddled into a stronger southerly.
“The last few kilometres were really hard going,” O’Regan said.
Marathon organiser Andrew Edmunds said crews were tested in the challenging conditions.
“Unfortunately one ski paddler was forced to withdraw from the race in the tough southerly winds, while Moruya beach proved challenging,” Edmunds said.
“A couple of surf boats were dumped by the surf and oars were snapped.”
Mr Edmunds said organisers were still assessing conditions for tomorrow with tough weather expected and large surf.
“We’ll continue to monitor day by day but are hopeful of running the traditional course for the 19 kilometre leg to Tuross Head,” he said.
George Bass Marathon Day one Results. Batemans Bay to Moruya 31 kilometres.
1st Pambula 3 hours, 31 minutes 17 seconds.
2nd Broulee Bats 3 hours, 46 minutes, 16 seconds
3rd Warriewood 3 hours 51 minutes, 50 seconds
4th Anglesea 3 hours 54 minutes 34 seconds
1st Tallebudgera 2 hours 49 minutes, 45 seconds
2nd Narooma 2 hours 50 minutes
3rd North Cronulla, 2 hours, 51 minutes 08 minutes
4th Yeppoon 3 hours, 04 minutes, 31 seconds
5th Tathra 3 hours, 8 minutes, 43 seconds
6th Bulli 3 hours, 19 minutes, 38 seconds
7th Pambula/Tathra Juniors 3 hours, 30 minutes, 06 seconds.
1st Moruya/ Long Reef 3 hours, 16 minutes, 37 seconds
2nd Broulee Capitals 3 hours, 21 minutes, 29 seconds
3rd Metropolitan Caloundra 3 hours, 28 minutes, 11 seconds
4th Wollongong City 3 hours 29 minutes 39 seconds
Nick Dixon Trophy Winners – Bulli
1st Bulli 2 hours, 47 minutes, 01 seconds
2nd Moruya Vikings, 2 hours, 50 minutes, 02 seconds
3rd Long Reef 2 hours, 50 minutes, 09 seconds
4th Coogee 2 hours, 52 minutes, 22 seconds
5th Pambula 3 hours, 07 minutes, 42 seconds.
1st Stew O’Regan, North Bondi
2nd Will Hardman, North Bondi
3rd Craig Vipond, Maroochydoore
4th Nick Ziviani, Narooma
5th Andrew Stone,
6th Chris Ryan
Withdrew from race: Ed Gwynne
Did not start: Chris Bond, Andrew Peacock.