Mordialloc Twilight Kick Starts the Carnival Season

After nine months of training at home and self-motivation, finally we had the chance to join our friends and race head to head in our favourite arena – the ocean.

With state run LSV carnivals on ‘COVID-hold’ until the end of January, clubs have been asked to step up to the plate and run their own smaller events this season until restrictions ease to the point of being able to return to something similar to what we are used to. Lifesaving carnivals are different from your ‘team vs team’ netball game. They fall under the ‘mass event’ category of DHHS guidelines, normally with lots of mixing of athletes, friends, family and supporters. There is no ticketed seating and with poorly controlled entry and exit points. This makes events challenging under current restrictions.

We are extremely grateful to Mentone LSC and Mordialloc LSC who formed a ‘carnival committee’ and at short notice. They are very grateful to Portsea, along with seven other clubs, for supporting the event. We arrived with a team of 25+ competitors from the U10 to open age groups. Everyone signed in with a QR code on arrival and were corralled into a competition area that would be their ‘bubble’ for the twilight event. The four distinct areas were U10/11, U11/12, U14/15 and U17-open and Portsea proudly boasts representation in all arenas.

The blustery, choppy conditions made events challenging. You had to factor in side sweeps, bay chop, wading across the sand bar with a sprint swim over the trough, plus spotting the cans looking directly into the glare of the setting sun.  Portsea again showed its strength in the water, in particular in the swimming events and team events.

In the U17-Open area we had Tom Regan, Luke Tucker, Xavier Purcell and Steph Hunter.  These four teamed up for the Open Board Relay and the Open Taplin Relay and placed second in both.  Steph won the U17 women’s ski and followed it up with a second in the Open Women’s Surf Race.  The Open Men’s events had some stiff competition from older athletes but our Portsea lads managed to fill most the minor podium spots in their board, swim and ski events.

Next door in the youth area, our four person team consisted of Xavier Winnett, Logan Brandi, Miles Regan and Mackie Hunter.  Xavier and Logan were racing as bottom age and held their own in the swim and board events, Logan crossing the line 4th in the swim.  Mackie won her Surf Race from a large field of U14 and U15 girls and came third in her board race.

Down the beach a bit further we had the junior age groups.  The U12/13 girls are one of our strongest age groups, with Sophie Jacka winning the Surf Swim, Bella Murchie the Board Race, and then they buddied up with Abbey Hogg, Tilly Wilson, Paige Guthridge and Amber Larke to take out the Junior Women’s 6 person Taplin. Patrick Benson flew the flag in the boys’ events and placed 6th in his Surf Race.

In the youngest of our age groups, the U10/11 competitors returned enthusiastically to competition. Most are still consolidating their skills, and some found the conditions not exactly to their liking, being a far cry from the calm conditions we usually see over summer at Quarantine.  In the boys swim Ted McNamara placed 4th, and in the Board Race Ted was 7th and Harley Lancaster 8th.  Next up in the girls’ events Freya Regan and Milla Cohen placed 6th and 7th respectively in both the Surf Race and the Board Race.

The highlights of the evening were the swim and board ‘Dash for Cash’ events.  Competitors were ferried out in the IRB’s to the string of nine cans and had to sprint into the beach to claim their prizes – surprise envelops that could contain anything from $10 to $100. Xavier Purcell had the claim of the day, coming 7th in his swim but racing up the sand to grab an unclaimed $100 top prize.

No carnival could run without the support of officials and water safety so thank you to all those who helped out, in particular Griffin Mitchell and Oscar Hunter who worked for 5 hours in the IRB, doing set up, water safety and pack up.  Special mention also goes to Steve Blewett who came along to help in the U15 Youth area.  Your commitment was much appreciated.  As the sun set we all headed home, stocked up with boxes of Nutrigrain and that feeling of exhaustion and exhilaration that surf lifesaving carnivals bring.

If anyone is interested in joining the team, call Natalie on 0410 001 367.