All photos: Rob Pirie
Chloe Walkerdene (photo) reports:
7th March 2015 I was fortunate enough to compete in the BOP Race of the annual Noosa Festival of Surfing. This was definitely one of the best events I have ever taken part in for a number of reasons.
The first reason would have to definitely be the organization. The amount of effort that was put into this event by the Sunshine Coast crew definitely took its toll as the event ran so smoothly in all aspects of surfing throughout the week and the participation in not only the race but in the surfing and spectating was insane. I have never seen so many supporters both on the beach and up to head-deep water for a SUP race. It really did have an amazing and enthusiastic atmosphere. Plus the amount of paddlers taking part in this race really did blow my mind. There were so many paddlers out there to give it their best shot in the race.
Although I was up what seemed like hours before sunrise, by the time of the line-up for the race had arrived, I was pumped. I couldn’t wait and just wanted to go hard and paddle. The nerves had kicked in but I knew I was prepared and had done all the training for it. I believed I was ready. That motivated me even more so. I was eager to just go and give it my all!
I knew that both the guys and the girls had strong competitors. I knew that the race was going to be tough when I caught sight of Shakira Westdorp, Ke’ale Dorries and Vanessa Caley. I knew I would have to work extremely hard for a placing on the podium. This again inspired me more. For the guys, I knew they had it hard too as Timmy Cyprien, Jake Jensen, Lincoln Dews, Jayden Jensen, Troy Pease, James Casey, Andy Davies (to name only a few) made appearances on the shoreline.
Both JP Australia team rider, James Casey and I paddled the JP Race 12’6” x 25”. Definitely one of the fastest boards on the market at the moment and would definitely have to be the quickest flat water board for sure. The board was a machine in the race, too!
The starting line was pretty crazy with competitors and boards flooding the shoreline. By the time I ran into the water, the nerves were gone and I knew all I had to do was paddle my hardest and do everything I had practiced at training.
The first lap was insane with both the pro and amateur competitors making turns around the buoys all at once.
Chloe after the buoy.
Talk about carnage! Boards were everywhere but I was fortunate enough to get tight and quick turns around each of the buoys which enabled me to get a bit ahead in a better position. I managed to consistently get good turns on each of the buoys of the race and also had a mindset to catch up to each competitor I aimed to chase down. I was pretty happy about that!
The end of each lap consisted of a quick beach sprint around flags positioned on the beach. As there were five laps, this meant five beach runs. I guess the beach runs at training and the extra runs at home supported me in this case because I felt the fittest I have ever been throughout the duration of this race.
James Casey also enjoys some waves.
I was stoked to finish 2nd in the Pro Women’s division behind World Series paddler, Shakira Westdorp. I felt like I had paddled probably the best I have ever paddled. Also a huge congratulations to James Casey who placed 2nd place behind one of the best in the world, Jake Jensen in a very tight race and a close finish!
Big smile from James | good wave performance also from Andrew Proud.
This has motivated to train even harder and be even more eager to compete again soon! 2015 has been off to a flying start! Can’t thank JP Australia enough for their endless support and encouragements over the weekend in Noosa. Also a huge thank you also to the Surf FX boys and my coach Andrew (SUP BE FIT).
Keahi with determination!