Across the ditch.. The final one

Across the ditch.. The final one

The final race of 2018 was across the ditch in Sydney, Australia for the Shaw & Partners 20 Beaches.. 20 Beaches is one of Australia’s most iconic surf ski races that began in 1990 – 2015. Now we are back for 2018 with new race directors & a major sponsor, Shaw & Partners making the race one of the most attractive races around the world!! It is so awesome to see the sport growing especially with the younger generation coming up through the ranks & also equal prize money! 

Sam and I flew over on Thursday morning arriving in Sydney a short 3hrs later, jumped straight off the plane & Uber’d to Manly wharf where we met up with the Shaw & Partners crew for a lovely Japanese lunch & great yarns! Following that we checked into our accommodation and relaxed. I really struggle to relax and always want to go venturing so I find it’s best to watch a movie on the laptop to occupy myself!! Friday it was much the same, chilling out, a body surf at Manly in the waves and a quick 30 minute freshen up paddle from Narrabeen with Davey & Tess from Epic Australia. I am always so conscious about dosing up on Vitamin C,making sure I’m hydrated, having hand sanitiser on me 24/7 while racing due to the fear of getting sick.. And sure enough that morning I woke up with a sore throat. I kept positive that it wouldn’t be anything and tried not to think about it! That afternoon was filled with thunderstorms, lightening & heavy rain so Saturdays race course at this stage was unknown due to the weather. 

Saturday morning arrived quickly and the race start had been moved 2hrs forward to start at 11am. The race course was also decided to go from Station Beach around Barrenjoey headland finishing at Fisherman’s Beach (approx 20km’s). I was feeling positive, nothing I could do about my throat and was ready to rumble for the final race of 2018! The women all lined up for a start, approximately 10 minutes ahead of the men. The hooter went off and we were away! I My plan was to conserve energy for the first 3km’s which I did, I was in a pack with fellow Kiwi, Teneale Hatton leading the pack, Georgia Laird, Hayley Nixon and Wendy Rengtis were all present. About 1km into the race rounding the headland it got very messy with waves re-bounding off the headland. Teneale and I broke away from the rest of the pack, Georgia and Hayley took a deeper line down the coast. After about 3km’s I got into my rhythm and was loving the technical messy downwind, I took the lead with Teneale on my inside close by. For the next 10-11kms I was feeling great, in my own zone but also aware of where the other girls were. Once I hit the 14kms mark I literally felt like I hit a wall and there was no way I could get over it. I continued working what little runs were on the ocean as the wind was next to nil but my body was aching. Slowly I was getting passed and couldn’t continue my form of what I did in the first 14km’s. I finished the race crossing the line in 4th place. Absolutely stoked to have finished but gutted with my final outcome due to the race I was having. It was sort of my body telling me no more! Congrats to everyone who finished the race especially Hayley Nixon on another great win! 

For me my year has been filled with a mixed bag, with results like winning NZ Queen of the Harbour for a 6th consecutive year, achieving a massive PB at Molokai and breaking the world record by minutes but finishing 2nd by 1 minute after 52km’s! Then I have the lows, a 6mm elbow tear causing a 4 month break from paddling and somehow managing the worst timing to pick up the flu the week of a race! But I am so thankful that I am able to spend time on the ocean doing what I love. I am so excited for what 2019 is going to bring and have some mighty goals set! 

Thank you so much to my sponsors, Shaw & Partners, Epic Kayaks, Vaikobi, Maui Jim, Bennett, AUT Millennium, Pita Pit NZ, Healthzone Medical and Orewa Massage Worx, without all of you I wouldn’t be able to do what I do so thank you! My family & friend’s thank you for your on-going support & love! Sam, thank you as always for your support & always pushing me to be the best version of me!

Enjoy getting out on the ocean over the festive season! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Happy Paddling

Rachel 

Photo by Davey Brand
Photo by Davey Brand

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