Tbkrc Summer Surfski Series Finale Tasman Bay NZ

09/02/2015 by Steve Knowles

A trademark Tasman Bay sea breeze provided the perfect downwind racing conditions for the local Summer Surfski Series final race from Cable Bay to Tahuna beach Nelson NZ on Saturday afternoon.

Starting from a balmy Cable Bay at 1.30pm paddlers revelled in a steady 20 knot nor-easter which kicked up some nice wind swells and allowed competitors to surf their 6.5m long ocean racing skis at up to 20 kmh along Tasman Bay’s north eastern coast, rounding Snappers point and following the Boulder bank down to Tahuna Beach.

Race 3 of the Tasman Bay Kayak Racing Club’s Surfski series saw a continuation of the close rivalry between Nelson’s Lynley Coventry and Glenduan paddler Suzie LeCren, with The former Olympic rower and NZ Basketball rep Coventry, who has recently converted to multisport and ski paddling, narrowly edging out LeCren to take her third straight win this summer and claim the overall series title and the Zindels  Cup for the second year running.

The men’s race featured a hard fought downwind battle between Blenheim’s former South African junior K1 champion Dave Fernandez, and two of Nelson’s surfski specialists, Sam Dillon and Reid Forrest. The trio were spread across the bay with Fernandez taking a more inshore line while the locals headed further out in search of better waves. Off the iconic lighthouse in ideal swells Dillon finally pulled away from Fernandez in the last 5 km to take the win with Forrest claiming 3rd spot. With 3 wins in a row Dillon also retains the series’s Downwind Trophy that he won in 2013 and ‘14, meanwhile Forrest’s consistent podium placings throughout the series moved him into second, one notch ahead of Fernandez in the overall standings.

The 3 - race open water series started with a similar downwind race from the Glen to Tahuna in November followed by a lively race around Peppin Island in early December and wrapped up with Saturday’s final 21km series decider from Cable bay. Ocean racing on Surfskis has a huge following in Australia, South Africa and Europe and is growing in popularity in this country with the local series having been run for the last 5 summers and previously won by paddlers including Daniel Busch, Nathan Fa’avae and Jane Martin.

Most Nelson multisport and kayak paddlers now race surfskis with a noticeable growth area being the number of women taking up the sport in recent years and up to 20 women out  training together on Friday mornings. Anyone interested in taking up Surfski paddling can contact the Club via its website www.tbkrc.weebly.com

Local paddlers now focus on the club racing series which run every Monday night from October to March.
Results Race 3:
Women: 1. Lynley Coventry  1.47.42, 2. Suzie LeCren 1.47.58, 3= Robyn Dunmore 2.06, 3= Lisa 2.06
Men:  1. Sam Dillon 1.29.40, 2. Dave Fernandez 1.33.04, 3. Reid Forrest 1.34.08, 4. Sean Giddall 1.36.40, 5. Neil Taylor 1.37.04, 6. Wayne Jones 1.39.09, 7. Brendan Neylon 1.40.39, 8. Ash Whitehead 1.41.08, 9. Mark Bryant 1.47.14, 10. Glen Richardson 1.48.10
Overall Series Results:
Women: 1. Lynley Coventry, 2. Suzie LeCren, 3. Jane Martin.
Men:  1. Sam Dillon, 2. Reid Forrest, 3. Dave Fernandez