Up early and at heading to the beach at 6 AM for a 6:30 call. Competition heats start at 7. Grand Masters finals are up third, so the heat starts at 7:40, and we’re paddling out 5 minutes before the heat.
Because I’ve been paddling so well in IC boats, I’m going to paddle IC this morning. Conditions sort of favor IC, since the waves are on the smallish side. However, Jimmy’s IC boat won’t be available, because he’s paddling Master’s IC in the heat immediately before mine, and Buey is paddling the same boat in the heat after mine. I’ve made arrangements to borrow a boat from Liam, one of the Aussies (Rachael will also be paddling this boat). This is something of a gamble of course, but I’m going to go with it.
I’m bouncing around, ready to go, long before my heat starts. I’m really looking forward to this. I try Liam’s boat, and it fits ok. Finally, it is our time to paddle out. The first wave I catch, I notice how completely different this boat is from Jimmy’s! It doesn’t turn the same way, not even close, and I flip at the end of the first ride. No worries, I use Rachael’s technique and I almost flip my self through 360 degrees when I roll, just barely catching myself. Back outside I go.
On the second and third waves, I begin to get the hang of this boat—I need to lean way forward to engage the rails to turn. Good enough.
Time to go for it.
Ummm…where are the good waves?
I grab some more rides but I’m not doing so much.
The 5 minute horn sounds.
Finally, a good wave! I take off, and I’m getting a good ride. Jimmy is standing in the water, getting Buey launched, and he’s waving at me to go left, but the wave closes out and I don’t make the section. I’m going sideways towards the beach, and Jimmy is standing there, and Mark, one of my co-competitors is inside of me too, and…I freeze. And rather than get control of the boat and surf around them, or pull out of the soup ,or simply flip, I plow right into Mark sideways. Duh-OH! Big Time Duh-OH! Mark is OK, but I'm sure I’ve lost points for that little maneuver. Sigh.
I scramble to head back outside, grab a few more sub-par waves, and then it’s over.
I get dressed, rinse off my gear and pack it, and start cheering on my friends in their heats, and then Elizabeth shows up at the beach to fetch me.
I have to leave for the airport before the results are announced.
Elizabeth drops me at Twin Waters and goes up to Coolum to fetch some stuff while I shower, finish packing, and grab my bag, my boat and my gear, and then it’s off to the airport. We stop for burgers on the way (yum) and then we wrangle my stuff into the terminal and deliver my bag and boat to Air New Zealand. By mid-afternoon I’m heading to Auckland.