Club Champs 2020

Just like the days of the Nutrigrain Ironman competitions where Portsea Back Beach would turn on the surf and deliver 7ft plus sets, this year’s Club Champs day was no different! Long range forecasts for Sunday had some members quivering in their thongs, but the call was made to continue as Portsea members aren’t known to turn down a challenge.

Throughout the day, competition athletes and patrolling members from all age groups battled it out on the beach and strategically picked rip courses in the water. Waiting for the high tide, the day started with beach events – the long run was convincingly won by Oscar Hunter in the U19 Male division and Jacqui Hart in the Open Female division who both strided the questionable 2000m distance ahead of their peers. As always, the Beach Sprints and Beach Flags provided for great viewing entertainment with trips, falls, laughs and an almost re-broken back!

Moving to the water, our athletes gazed out to a daunting sea delivering set after set of all time Portsea bombs. The executive call was made to run the younger U15 Male and Female swim first, featuring a short course more suited to their abilities. The strong incoming tide relentlessly pushed our two tube cans, but it was great to see all the youth athletes swim hard and complete the course. As always, the highly anticipated Yencken cup drew the largest number of competitors on the day with 17 racers stepping up to the line. As the whistle blew, all swimmers headed to the strongest rip working on the day which was located to the east of the flags and almost in front of the clubhouse. The first two swimmers around the far can were no surprise, being Tom Regan and Matt Perrott, closely followed by Domi Hart and the rest of the swimming pack on their heels. Unfortunately there were no clean waves on the way in for a breakaway opportunity so both front runners had to battle it out and swim the majority of the inward leg. Despite being one of our longest courses laid to date, the distance between 1st and 2nd place when the swimmers hit the beach was only a matter of metres. Congratulations to our young gun Tom Regan for taking out the Yencken cup for the second year in a row, and 13 year old Mackie Hunter, first female and third overall!

The day concluded with the board race, at a revised location further down Portsea Back Beach to the west, which provided safer conditions and a larger rip for our paddlers to utilise. Once again, the turning can was laid beyond the last breaking wave, meaning they were in for a solid slug. With the swell holding size, Portsea’s more keen stepped up to be counted. As the whistle blew there were two distinct paths that the paddlers took, however it quickly became evident that the group that went straight for the rip were better off – with the other group of paddlers changing direction as they realised that battling wave after wave was not the best race course. Congratulations to our Club Captain, Matt Perrott, for taking out the race in a tight run up the beach!

As energy levels were tested, after racing in the large swell, the event organisers decided that the Wade and Iron races would not be run.

Thanks to all those who competed, to Nick Tissot and Nat Hood for running the day and Ben Mitchell for recording competitor finishing positions for the whole day and to the Masochists and Cruisers patrols for providing water safety for the event.

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