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UKSRL R4 Widemouth Bay – Crazy Conditions!

August 16, 2011 Posted by AdamR in Latest News, Rowers, Seniors 4 comments

Round 4 of the UKSRL at Widemouth Bay. Crews arrived for a 6pm start to find wind, choppy 3-4 ft surf, high tide, and a VERY stony beach, plus cold, and grey cloud – all combining to form a nasty beach break, with waves dumping onto the shore (and boat), and the boat scraping along pebbles. Nice. I question why I chose to do an Australian sport in the UK! Undaunted, the UKSRL teams went forth. The Blue Rinsers, with Nick sweeping, bravely went for a warm up (notable, as they were the only crew that did!) and punched out and back, with an exciting swish onto the shore, followed by a side spin, as the boat hit the shelving sand. Somewhat shaken, and with ‘bowman’s bum’ the ladies return to shore, to a round of applause from all spectators. Given the nasty conditions, it was decided that extra helpers could ‘stabilise’ the boats, as you were rowing straight into the beach break, and ‘catch’ the boats, as they returned to shore. NB, ‘catching’ a surf boat as it returns to shore, off a trail is not for the faint hearted, and it took all of the Black and Blues to steady Blue Bali as she came in, with the triumphant mens crew at their oars (we are talking 200kg of boat, plus, well at least 450kg of, erm, rippling muscle!! – sorry boys). The boys B crew, expertly swept by Khalil also punched very convincingly out, ahead of many other crews, and came a very respectable 4th in heat one. Praise is due to this crew – they are a ‘novice’ surf crew, with a ‘novice’ sweep, Khalil Isaacs, who is already sweeping better after less than one season than many sweeps manage after years. Respect, and watch this space.

In the girls first heat, the Black and Blues punched out as soon as Spike shouted go, and when my head emerged from the break zone, I could see that Perran had only just made it out, giving us a good lead. We rowed through the chop, and turned the can, and when we ‘landed’ in a side on spin on the shore, I, for the first time, was able to saunter up to the flag – hooray! Unfortunately the Blue Rinsers didn’t make it out – Colette was so deep that she had no hope of getting in (think boat above head height) and as the boat came back to shore, it dumped down, causing Phil to lose a contact lens. The girls, probably very wisely, given the rough and tumbles, and compromised vision, decided not to risk the second round.

In the men’s second heat, Blue Bali punched out again, and made a very convincing win, with the boys B coming 3rd – ahead of many more experienced crews. The girls second heat saw the Black and Blues push out with a very comfortable lead, and catch a beautiful wave, shortly after the buoy, meaning a peachy trail in, and again, no sprinting for me – yes!

The men’s third heat was a bit more exciting. Blue Bali maintained their pole position, with another brilliant victory, but unfortunately the men’s B rolled on the way in (along with various other boats) in the choppy mess. But fortunately no injuries for any of the Porthtowan crews. After the third round it was apparent that one of the Croyde rowers had injured a finger, so the rest of the races were cancelled, due to lack of safety cover, and failing light. Thanks to Dr Anna for her speedy first aid.

So we finished the day well – Victories for the mens and ladies A with intrepid performances from the Blue Rinsers and the Mens B. But the final word needs to go to the sweeps. At Porthtowan we are lucky enough to have 3 fabulous sweeps: Gary, with his proven track record, and years of experience, Nick, who has given stellar performances this year, and Khalil, our rising star. Thank you, gents. Without you, none of this would be possible. See you all at Bournemouth…….

Comments (4)

  1. jo says:

    Great write up Kimme!!
    I totally agree that the credit to our sweeps is huge :D Well done guys.. we lova ya!!

  2. Philippa says:

    Great write up Kimmie – great team effort throughout the evening! Ben Osborne arrived back from the dangers of South America – straight into the dangerous conditions of surfboat rowing – baptism of fire for him! Dr Anna was awesome; one minute swimming out to rescue the B Boys, the next administering first aid on the Croyde finger!! Pip has probably fractured her coccyx – a nasty injury for the ‘crash test dummies’ – the new name for the rinsers! What on earth will Bournemouth bring us? Expect the unexpected!

  3. Becky says:

    It was a crazy event – poor boats crashing on the beach surf dump!!
    Nice write up KimMarie, and i’d also like to BIG UP THE SWEEPS!!!

  4. Louise says:

    Oh Yes we are very lucky with our ever expanding sweeps, of course I mean in numbers and in nothing else!!! So glad I missed that occasion as seeing another finger injury may well have just taken me back to the loss of my own. Wish DR Anna had been on the beach for mine as I seem to remember the doctors who were there, dissappeared for another row. Poor Pip, hope she is OK! See you at Nicks party!

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