Senior States Wrap 2018

The 2018 Senior Victorian State Titles in Apollo Bay saw Portsea’s largest contingent of competitors in more than five years. Over 23 Portsea Senior competitors, a mixture of beach, water and surfboat rowers, headed to Apollo Bay to take on the state’s best in what was forecast to be exciting and interesting conditions.

This season’s team comprised of a wide range of athletes, including 2 Nippers, 2 Cadets, an Open male, 12 Open Female rowers, 4 Open Males rowers and supporting Surfboat sweeps. A diverse bunch, but all members were focused on strong racing and giving each event their all, proudly wearing the Red and White Portsea competition caps.

In the lead up to the carnival weekend the Bureau of Meteorology issued weather warnings indicating strong winds and wet conditions. Due to concerning weather for the Sunday a decision was made to alter the U15s Saturday events in preparation for cancelling Sunday’s competition. Rain, wind and patches of shine – our athletes battled through it all.

On Saturday in the U15 area, competition commenced at a fresh 8am with Board Rescue followed by the Rescue Tube Race heats, Surf Race, Iron, Surf Teams, Board Rescue and Cameron Relay. Portsea’s U15 women; Steph Hunter, Steph Mahon, Chloe Dowling and Georgie Kerr competed remarkably across all the above disciplines. Our girls mixed and matched team configurations depending on the style of event being run and performed well across all events. As this was each of the girls first Senior Victorian State Titles they raced strongly and did Portsea proud! Steph H and Georgie K were actually racing as Nippers competing up an age group – in some instances racing against girls that were nearly two years older than them. Steph Hunter in true Hunter/Hood fashion achieved terrific results winning dual SILVER medals in the U15 Women’s Iron and U15 Women’s Surf Race. Unfortunately for the U15’s, with all the competition now crammed into Saturday, some events didn’t finish, and having qualified through the early rounds of Tube Race and Board Rescue, cancellations meant that the girls never got to race their finals and will need to wait until next year to try again for the podium finish.

Saturday night saw the arrival of Portsea’s Surf Boat rowers to the Club’s accommodation for their racing on Sunday. It was great to see a big gathering of Portsea competitors to the Apollo Bay Brew House for a social gathering, to discuss the day’s racing, beach and water conditions and have our younger members meet and greet members from the Surf Boat crews. Of course with a large day of racing ahead on Sunday it was a quick feed and back to the house to get some shut-eye before an early start.

Portsea’s Surf Boat rowers, in conjunction with the wider rowing community opted to run their State Titles competition program entirely on the Sunday (decision and preparations made well before known weather conditions!). Lead by Stephen Blewett our 16 Surf Boat rowers took to the water in a round-robin point’s style competition to determine final placings. A strong northerly wind blew offshore at Apollo Bay, making for a swift row out to the cans but a leg burning slower race on the return. Over the course of the day, some boats could literally be seen drifting off course and sideways as strong gusts collected them up.

An always-energetic and adapting bunch, Portsea’s Surf Boat rowers had no difficulty adjusting to the untamed conditions. Stephen Blewett and Jackson McCaffrey swept Male and Female crews throughout the day. It was a great success to see the Under 23 Women’s Surf Boat Crew comprising of Madeleine Dwyer, Rebecca Matson, Sarah Norris, Anna Salmon and Jackson McCaffrey rowing to a SILVER medal finish. A commendable effort by the Open Men’s Surf Boat Crew comprising of Charlie Forbes, Hamish Molnar, Sam Troon, Jackson McCaffrey and Stephen Blewett saw them achieve a 5th place finish in the finals and our Open Women’s Surf Boat Crew comprising of Scarlett Blewett, Cassie Field, Melissa Von Moger, Emily Von Moger and Stephen Blewett showed great form, achieving a 4th place finish in their event.

Saving the best until last, the highlight of the beach events was our own Competition Manager, Nick Tissot, winning Portsea’s only GOLD medal of the championships in the Open Men’s Beach Flags. Well done to Nick, whose achievement and enthusiasm will hopefully see more beach competitors race for the club next season.

On behalf of all the Portsea Competition Team, supporting members, parents and the Portsea club, we wish to extend a big thank you to Oscar Morrison and Laura Cantwell who drove from Melbourne to assist and fulfill Portsea’s water safety shift on Saturday morning from 9am till after midday. Without your invaluable assistance covering the shift we would have certainly been in a predicament and most likely not been able to race!

Thank you to Matt Mahon and Cameron Hunter who assisted with transport and managing our U15 youth competitors. Matt Mahon also gave up his own time and assisted the U15 water area as Area Risk and Response Officer on Saturday – thank you again Matt!

The outstanding efforts and results from all members of the Portsea Competition Team saw our club placing equal 15th out of 29 clubs. Although, we still have a way to go before being in the top 5 – that day will come! The Senior and Surf Boat teams have progressed leaps and bounds from previous seasons and we will only continue to improve.

Excitement is brewing within the competition group with area and age managers meeting over the coming winter season to discuss, plan and implement strategies to continue growth in all areas of Portsea’s competition teams – Seniors, Youth, Nippers, Boaties, IRB and Masters! New recruits will be most welcome to jump on board next year to join the fun and camaraderie in the competition arena.

Final Results:

Georgie Kerr
Events: Board, surf race, surf teams, board relay, flags

Steph Mahon
Semi Final Finish Under 15 Women’s Board Rescue (race not completed due to weather)
Events: Board, surf race, surf teams, board rescue, surf teams, flags

Chloe Dowling
Semi-final Finish Under 15 Iron Women
Semi Final Finish Under 15 Women’s Board Rescue (race not completed due to weather)
Events: Board, surf race, iron, board rescue, board teams, surf teams, flags

Steph Hunter
SILVER medal Under 15 Iron Women
SILVER medal Under 15 Women’s Surf Race
Semi Final Finish Under 15 Tube Race (race not completed due to weather)
Events: Board, surf race, iron, surf teams, tube race, flags

Nick Tissot
GOLD medal Open Men’s Beach Flags

Open Men’s Surf Boat Crew
5th Place
Charlie Forbes, Hamish Molar, Sam Troon, Jackson McCaffrey and Stephen Blewett

Open Women’s Surf Boat Crew
4th Place
Scarlett Blewett, Cassie Field, Melissa Von Moger, Emily Von Moger and Stephen Blewett

Under 23 Women’s Surf Boat Crew
SILVER medal
Madeleine Dwyer, Rebecca Matson, Sarah Norris, Anna Salmon and Jackson McCaffrey