NSW State Paddleboard titles were held at 1 Mile Beach, Anna Bay, NSW, Australia. Stand Up Paddlers from around Australia gathered to battle it out for the title. Suplove team rider Erin Dark took up the challenge in the Women’s Open Event.
The event also acted as the qualifier for the NSW Stand Up Paddleboard Team (Open Men and Open Women only) which will represent the state at the Australian Stand Up Paddleboard Titles being held from 21-24 August as a part of the Australian Surf Festival at Port Macquarie.
The conditions at Anna Bay were extremely challenging with huge sets coming in a very regular intervals, not providing much break in between to paddle out.
The women’s event was postponed to the Sunday with the hope of more manageable conditions. It was marginally smaller and the sets not as often, or for as long but none the less bigger conditions than Erin had ever paddleboarded in before.
The conditions for the more experienced paddlers were ideal as there were some great clean big sets to select waves from. The conditions provided amazing surfing for the spectators to watch.
The women’s event was scored over two finals (so 4 waves). The first final was frustrating for Erin as much of the final she spent being pounded by sets as she tried to get back out the back after catching a
wave. She however kept focus and put in a couple of good wave scores. A collision with another competitor who was on her way back out resulted in Erin’s right fin box being broken, though it did not affect her performance.
A few hours to breathe, refocus on a strategy that would make paddling in the conditions easier next time, a make-shift repair with Solarcure so the right fin was stable and Erin and her board were ready for the next final.
Erin surfed well in the next final choosing to take on the more manageable sets that she knew she could confidently handle and handle well. So for her it was good wave choices and good use of her paddle which scored her enough points to put her in 2nd place. Choosing to come in and run down the beach
rather than paddle straight back out in the impact zone proving to be the better choice for her this this time as she did not get battered as much.
Erin’s 2nd place qualifies her for the NSW Stand Up Paddleboard Team which will compete in the Australian Stand Up Paddleboard Titles in August.
HUGE CONCRATULATIONS ERIN!
with thanks to Helen Dark for the article.