The Inaugural Northern Beaches Open Water Final – Race Report

The Inaugural Open Water Final 2013
Fishermans Beach to Station Beach

This important and new addition to the calendar this year saw a strong fleet of 75-odd competitors. Planning and managing Open Water events is never easy and organizers were anxiously checking the weather updates every day in the week prior. In the end we were reasonably lucky to get a sunny autumn day, moderate 14 knot SW wind & a southerly swell. Competitors knew with these conditions the challenge would be to switch between a wind and swell about 30 degrees apart.

The knee-high beach start by Race Director Brett Greenwood at 1pm saw paddlers on the left side get a slight advantage although the next 18k was the test. The double of Dale Jackson & Kobi Simmat got a clean start & was a popular target for those following. The next choice for competitors was to either go wide and catch the southerly swell, or stay in close & take advantage of the SW, the only obstacle here was Newport Reef.

The 30-39 year old men’s category has long been the most competitive in Open Water racing and here Tim Jacobs took the lead, then Mark Anderson & Paul Smith with both shaping up their tactics. Cade Barnes, Jim Walker & Tommy Woodriff in the 40-49 years were putting their many years of experience into their individual strategies, tacking between wind swell & surf swell in this lead pack. Young buck Greg Tobin was also amongst them, as was the experienced Rob Barry.

Back in the middle pack it has started to spread out including our women Kate McGarth & Trudi Barnes + the OC1’s, all aiming for the turning point of Barenjoey Headland. It was a hard job for the land team to keep up the pace to pack up then beat the field up to Station beach to set-up the timing & equipment needed for the finish.

In the end it was the inimitable style of Tim Jacobs who led in advance of the lead pack, around the headland & into the more sheltered waters of the Pittwater. Tim finished the 18k on his Nelo in 1:25:41, next the big finishing battle was shaping up between Mark Anderson, Cade Barnes & Greg Tobin who had a close encounter with a reef shortly before the finish, all finishing in that order only a couple of seconds apart. Next were Paul Smith, Jim Walker, the Double, and then Tommy Woodriff.

There were many other achievements here apart from the Top 10 of course whether it was a place in your age, completing the series or just challenging yourself to complete this downwind race.

The presentation by Tim Hookins from Paddle NSW and Robbie Stewart from joint partner for this race, Australian Canoeing was a fitting end to the season. For those who stayed back you would have heard Robbie’s speech about the growing importance & recognition of Open Water paddling, the global testimonial being the astonishing success of the Portugal race. Maybe one day Open Water Paddling will become an Olympic Sport & hopefully this event remains on the calendar if this does eventually happen.

Congratulations to all our competitors across the Open Water Series and thank you to our sponsors, Australian Canoeing, all those friends & relatives who assisted with support boats & the BBQ, plus of the course the team at Paddle NSW & the Open Water Committee for pulling this off.

The Portugal team will be announced on Tuesday 21 May.
Tony Haines



It is looking very much like the race will start at 1pm on Saturday 18th from Fisherman’s and finish at Station Beach round Barrenjoey Head. We will email and text everyone on Thursday as a trial run and again on Friday evening just after 8pm with final directions. Please advise us at if you do not receive a notification.

All paddlers will have to register for this event at
It will be a beach start and the course will take us about 2 km out to sea, round a boat marker and then up the coast, around Barrenjoey Head to finish on Station Beach. The paddlers who nominated for Australian selection will have red stickers on both sides of the boat and the others who are racing the Open Water Final only will have yellow stickers on the front right of the boat.


Australian selection paddlers will enter in the normal Open Water categories and the times will be recorded as per the Open Water system. The selection panel will be given the results immediately and will aim to make the full team selection by Tuesday 21st May. There may be further nominations made as soon as possible after that depending upon availability for attendance in Portugal.

As stated in the selection Criteria document

At least 2 paddlers from each category will be selected at this race depending upon their placing. The selection panel will consider the remaining placings and announce the full team on Tuesday 21st. This is a point to point race and paddlers are expected to make their own transport arrangements involving starting at Fisherman’s and finishing at Station Beach. Fruit, drinks Real Coffee and a BBQ will be provided free of charge at the finish. This is the final race of the PaddleNSW Open Water Series and the series medals will be presented on the day.

Emails will be sent to all paddlers nominated for Australian team selection on 21st May. All nominees will be requested to confirm or otherwise their intention to attend the World Championships at Vila do Conde in Portugal 2013 by Thursday 23rd May. An information package will be forwarded on 21st to all nominees. To get a general idea of the World Champs go to

A Team meeting, to be attended by as many team members as possible, will be held about 26th May 2013 (TBC) at Sports House Olympic Park at 5pm to discuss the following:
· Introduction of personnel
· Finances/ Budget
· Program
· Flight bookings/ passports
· Accommodation
· Booking of boats
· Uniforms
· Fundraising
· Sponsorship

See you on the water!

Tim Hookins
PaddleNSW Open Water Technical Committee

Letter from Peter Carmody – Race Director for Middle Harbour Challenge

What a day, what a race and what great weather this weekend for the Middle Harbour Challenge. The Gods were certainly looking over us, Middle Harbour was certainly looking her best.

I like it when a plan comes together, the venue at the Yacht Club was sensational for us paddlers. The compact Club beach setting made for a great buzz at the start and the perfect stage setting for the finishes and prize giving. With over a 100 paddlers, I received many complements on the day thanks to our great crew, needless to say the setting was picture book perfect.

And weren’t our friends from Sunnyfield a great value. Engaging with them at a hands on level, gives a rich understanding and awareness of their needs and incredible love and zest for life that the carry with them. I hope in time the Club may have other events that they can sponsor Sunnyfield.

Thanks again to Ronnie, Rob, Matt and your good self for a job well done, we will back same time next year for sure.

Pete Carmody
Club Captain
Middle Harbour Paddlers

Media Release from Canoeing Australia

Rosalyn Lawrence, Australian Canoeing Ocean Racing

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

So far we have had a fantastic response and numerous nominations for the Australian team to the inaugural Ocean Racing World Championships.It looks like the competition will be tough! There has been a large number of enquiries from people still wishing to nominate, so the AC Ocean Racing Technical Committee has decided to extend the closing date for nominations until Monday 6th May.

This means if you thought you missed out on your chance to nominate, it’s not too late! If you need a few more days to make up your mind, or to ask your boss if you can have time off work, you still have time to make it.

Please note that masters athletes wishing to go for masters selection must nominate in order to be considered for a seeded start, but do not have to pay the nomination fee. For this reason there is a separate option for masters on the nomination page.

This is the first year the world will see a Surf Ski (Ocean Racing) World Championships, which will be held at Vila do Conde, Portugal 12-14 July 2013.

Selection for the Australian team will take place on the 18th or 19th May, depending on wind, at the Paddle New South Wales Open Water Surf Ski Final 2013 between Station Beach and Fishermans Beach.

Now is your chance to be a member of Australia’s first ever Ocean Racing World Championship team!

PaddleNSW Open Water Technical Committee.