Leading into King & Queen of the Harbour (version 2, second K&QOTH for the year) I didn’t really have any expectations. I had been racing non stop for the past 4 weeks with Hong Kong, 5 races in Perth and my body was feeling it. Prior to Hong Kong I had a month off paddling for a crucial work course in Wellington where I got 1 paddle in a week when I came back to Auckland each weekend. So I wasn’t in my best form I would have liked to have been in, but hey, work life comes first! Over the past weeks racing overseas I’ve had a mixed bag of results, some good some terrible that I would like to forget. To say I had no pressure would be a lie, going for your 8th consecutive Queen of the Harbour title is huge, but I somehow didn’t feel the pressure as much as I thought I would, possibly because of the past 4 weeks racing? I knew Teneale was in good form and she was wanting to crack a win also in her home town, so by no means would it be an easy race.
After a hectic week of work Saturday came around quickly and the course was decided to go from Shakespeare Regional Park finishing at Takapuna Beach with a light downwind & the tide against us. I got black beauty all set up (Epic V11 Elite) and had my hydration pack in my foot-well so I could relax my shoulders. It was a water start with the men and women starting together, the flag was raised and not long after the horn went off and it was race time! The top men were away in style and my job was to have a good start, jump on a good wash, conserve energy and try not to fall too far behind! Teneale had a great start and turned the buoy which was 3kms offshore about 20 seconds ahead of me so I had a little bit of ground to make up but I didn’t let that bother me. I turned the buoy and a lot of the top men headed slightly left, my other half Sam went hard right but I didn’t want to take that exact line as I thought it would have been too risky! I just went straight down the coast, I knew the swell wasn’t huge and it wasn’t strong winds, plus the tide was going against us so I had a race plan to head straight. After about 4kms from turning the buoy I could see Teneale to my left and it looked like I was in line with her, “great” I thought to myself, I was having fun, working hard on every small bump trying to make as little mistakes as I could because that’s the only way I was going to make up ground in these conditions. With about 5kms to go I was approaching Milford and the runs got slightly bigger and it was great, I started to pull further away and got into a good grove, before I knew it I was turning Takapuna reef pole and headed for shore, I had done it! My 8th title and also the 2019 Oceania Champion!!! I was so happy to have executed a race well, and stuck to my plan. I finished 13th single ocean ski overall which I was also happy with! Thank you to everyone for your support during this year with one final event to go!
Next race on the cards is the 20 Beaches held in Sydney this weekend, this will bring the best of the best with a lot at stake including huge prize money and results will also determine the final World Series rankings!