Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Nookie Team Rider Miss Mega surfs Santa Cruz

On the third weekend of March every year, the Kayak Surf Festival is held at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. This year I competed!
After attending the event last year as a spectator I had a vague idea of what to expect surf wise. I was familiar with quite a lot of the competitors which helped as I had met them last year at the S.Cruz event and at the Worlds in Mundaka .

The horn blew and my first heat had started. There were not as many women competing in the event as there were men, but the women who were there, were extremely good. Throughout the event I found myself paddling against the likes of Kate Smith (1st in women’s World Cup 2006), Gina Morley (5th in HP, Worlds 2005), Ailsa McDougall (4th in HP, Worlds 2007) and Jameson Riser (5th in Ladies Open 2007).

As the swell came in, it brought waves of 10ft faces. Having never surfed anything this big before I was slightly nervous, but as soon as I caught my first wave the adrenaline started to pump and all I could think of was getting another one.
The Women’s Final was held on the Sunday morning followed by the Junior’s Final. The wind had picked up slightly so the waves weren’t as clean as they had been, but the size was still there.

A set was coming in, I could see the peak of the wave just breaking on the outside, “that’s the wave” I thought. I paddled, faster then I had ever paddled before. I was on it. Bottom turn, cut back bottom turn. The next wave came. This time I wasn’t fast enough.
It can be hard during heats to keep focused on just yourself, and ignore what your competitors are doing. One of the worst things I have found myself doing in the past is keeping track of other people waves and what they do on them during the heat. In this competition I managed to stay completely focused on myself and it felt so much better. I never thought I would be competing at Steamer Lane after just learning how to role in a kayak only a year before in the same location. It just goes to show that nothing is impossible.

The awards were given out on the Sunday evening. Kate Smith 1st, Gina Morley 2nd, Ailsa McDougall 3rd and myself 4th. Although I did not make it in to the top three I am still extremely happy with how I surfed and especially with how far I have come in just one year. I would not have been able to do this without the continuing support I receive from my sponsors, thank you.
During the next year I hope to improve my skills and push my abilities so that in 2009 I may bring home a Santa Cruz 1st.

For anyone who is interested in surf kayaking or who wants to get involved but doesn’t know how, get in touch with your local sports council or club. It is an amazing sport and I would encourage anyone to try in at least once.

Robyn Pearcey