The Mana Ocean Challenge kicked off in spectacular fashion on Saturday 30 April at Mana. The inaugural downwind race, sponsored by Trish Tamapeau at REMAX, Groundswell Paddles, and Fergs Kayaks, attracted a mixed field of outriggers, surfskis and sea kayaks from as far away as Nelson and Whangarei.
The competitors made their way from Mana to the finish line at Paraparaumu Beach, with a moderate southerly wind at their backs and plenty of sun. The infamous and rugged stretch of coastline provided plenty of challenges along the way for all competitors. Coming out of Mana, conditions were nearly flat due to the hills providing some shelter from the southerly. However, swell conditions increased rapidly and by the time paddlers passed Pukerua Bay (about 11km into the race), the swell was pumping. These conditions lasted until about Raumati South. While the last 10km were nearly flat, the surf coming into Paraparaumu Beach made for a fun finish.
Following the race, competitors and volunteers enjoyed a three-course meal at Monteiths Brewery Bar at Mana before awards and spot prizes were handed out.
Congratulations to the organisers Jörn Scherzer and James Sadler who executed this event with a great deal of thought and preparation. As a result the paddlers were well looked after throughout the race.
Surfski paddler Nathan Faa’vae, who competes in many national endurance events, gave it his thumbs up. He challenged others to get out there to do as many events as possible building confidence and experience. He looks forward to defending his surfski title in 2012.
A huge thank you goes to all the volunteers that made race day a success: Rob Taggart (race director), Chris Fox (comms), Mike Martin, Glynda Martin, Tanya Scherzer and Kathlene Rimene (photography), Dennis Ngatai, Anna Ngatai and Tina Masoe (registration). Support boat drivers Matt Archer and Murray Leacock and the Mana Coastguard ensured that everyone that went out got back in.
Here the top three finishers for each division:
OC1 Men: 1st Joern Scherzer 2:44:53, 2nd George Fa’alogo 3:06:57, 3rd Paddy Rimene 3:18:45
OC1 Women: 1st Anita Taggart 3:26:13
Surfski Men: 1st Nathan Faavae 2:17:54, 2nd Aaron Cox 2:21:57, 3rd Marty McDowell 2:23:33