2012 MAD PADDLE Charity Event Report

On Sunday 18th March, the inaugural ‘Mad Paddle’ across Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay was held in perfect conditions, to raise funds for the Sandringham Hospital, in the pursuit of the purchase of a $25,000 portable ultrasound machine. Each paddler paid an entry fee to cover costs of support crew and permit, and were asked to raise a minimum of $250 each in donations/sponsorship. 16 solo paddlers and 26 ‘paired’ team paddlers made the epic 30km journey, which was originally intended from Indented Head on the Bellarine Peninsula, but due to persistent easterly winds, required a change of start from Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula. The paddlers were divided into groups – Two solo, and two teams, each with their own escort boat, team leader, and first-aid officer.  There was also three doctors on hand.  PFDs and legropes were mandatory. With he aid of the Sandringham Yacht Club, The Coast Guard, and under the watchful eye of all interested authorities, this was a huge logistical feat, with safety briefings the day before, and a webcast for those unable to attend the briefing. We all gathered at the un-godly hour of 4:30am at Sandringham to be shuttled on chartered bus to the start at Frankston, having pre-loaded all our boards and paddles the night before. After some time setting up the boards on the foreshore at Frankston, fitting fins and legropes, topping up hydration packs and loading supplies onto the luxury support vessels, we had the final pre-event briefing as the sun came up, and headed off at 7am. The conditions were perfect. A light SSE breeze of less than 5kn saw us off, with the seas a gentle bump, mostly caused by wake from the boats.   The first solo group were off like rockets, and the rest of the field didn’t see much of them from about an hour into the paddle.  With elite calibre of paddlers such as Camo, Wooz, PT, Hock, Lightning, there was no way anyone was going to hold back their competitive spirit.  They had their own support boat, straight out of Jaws, and someone was heard to comment at the start “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”.  Well they were wrong, with the turbo group stopping just 4 times and barely needing the support craft at all, these seasoned marathon paddlers knew what they were doing.  They made it to Sandringham in 3hrs 20min. The rest of the field, solo group 2, and teams group 3 & 4 largely kept together, with seamless changovers occuring every 45mins-an hour. Initially it was thought that wet changeovers were required, whereby the incoming paddler would jump in the water, to be met by the outgoing paddler on the board, who would then hand over the board to the new paddler, and jump in themselves, to be picked up by the support boat.  However once the scale of the boats, and the calm conditions were realised, we all managed (with the odd accidental exception!) to seamlessly paddle up to the back of the boat, step off the board, with the new paddler stepping straight onto the board and paddling off; a pit-stop worthy of the Melbourne Grand Prix about to start in the distance. For teams the paddling legs were a relaxed and social activity, with good conversation and a good pace being kept by all.  On board, the off-leg paddlers relaxed on the boats with fluid stops, snacks and even a cup of coffee provided by the friendly support crews. Time flew. The journey seemed a lot shorter than it really was, with the paddling legs zipping by.  For the solo paddlers, the easy pace, the safety of having others around in near proximity, and the relaxed atmosphere made it that much easier. This is not to downplay the effort required by all.  For the solo paddlers it was 30-oddkm of paddling over 4-5 hours.  This is no mean feat.  For the teams, it was 15km or so per member, which is more than the majority of paddlers have attempted in any outing.  But everyone was prepared, and everyone was supported at all levels. Soon the main pack of paddlers hit Half Moon Bay, familiar waters, with many having paddled the stretch from Half Moon to Sandringham on a regular basis.  Final changovers were made, and we all waited for the tail-enders to join us as we made the final 4km thrust to the finish line. As we rounded the breakwater  at Sandringham we were joined by the other paddlers from group 1, who came out to welcome us home, along with various social paddlers who had come to support the event. It was quite a sight as we all paddled into Sandringham Marine to the encouragement and congratulations of a large gathered crowd of friends, family and supporters. Beers were cracked, food was served and a party atmosphere ensued, hosted by comedian Tim Smith and Dr Feelgood.  Everyone got to relax, eat, drink, and enjoy the fruits of their labour.  A charity auction was held to top up the coffers. Everyone agreed, the event was a success, the organisation and safety verged on perfection, and the sun gods blessed us all with great weather. As with any event of this magnitude, there are a heap of people and organisations to thank, firstly credit to the organisers, Felicity Frederico, Kathy Naoumidis, Jonathan Cowcher, Dave Hunt, and SUP VIC.
  • the various authorities that we had the support from: The Coast Guard, Parks Vic, Port of Melbourne Authority and The Regional Channel Authority.
  • The novice celebrity paddlers that took time out of their busy schedules to paddle in with us: Tammy Van Wisse, The Hon. Federal MP Andrew Robb, State MP Elizabeth Miller and Sally Cockburn (Dr Feelgood).  Under the guidance of Rob Wong, they had a lesson at 10.30am and were able to escort the 46 registered paddlers in at midday to a crowd of a couple of hundred at the Sandringham Yacht Club.
  • The 4 escort boats
    • Bill Stubbs – Recreational Boating Captain SYC
    • Arthur Nauomidis – SYC
    • The Coast Guard
    • David Boxshall – who provided his boat and fuel, on behalf of his charity Variety Club for Children.
  • Without these escort vessels the event would not have happened.  Obtaining escort vessels will continue to be the greatest challenge in holding this event.  These boats all contributed their time and fuel towards to the cause.
  • Bruce Thompson who managed the registrations and communication.
  • Skybus for providing the courtesy bus to the start for all paddlers.
  • Comedian Tim Smith for being MC at the after party.
  • We had a great medical team:
    • Dr James Taylor (Director of the Emergency Department at the Sandringham Hospital)
    • Dr Kathryn Taylor
    • Dr Chris Ball (anaesthetist)
We have raised nearly $25K (to be confirmed later today), to purchase a mobile ultrasound unit for the Emergency Department at the Sandringham Hospital.   No other SUP event in Australia has raised this amount.  Thanks to all the paddlers that raised individual sponsorship, companies and the local community  who supported us.
To all the Mad Paddlers, thanks for a great day. Thanks to the 4 escort vessels – without whom we would have had no event. Thanks to the Team Leaders: DJ, Big Wave Dave, Jonathan and Paul. In particular thanks for staying in the groups and making it a safe and successful paddle. We have now earnt the respect of the various authorities and will be able to run SUPVic Mad Paddle on an annual basis. We are close to reaching the $25,000 donation for the Sandringham Hospital. Thanks once again for your incredible high level of support and patience both before and during the actual paddle. We had an absolute ball and can’t wait for next year. Well done and thanks to SUPVic for giving us the faith and encouragement to run the event.  Finally this event would not have happened without the powerhouse of Kathy and her organisational skills. – Felicity Frederico
  Last word from one of the team leaders, Jonathan:
As far as we know, not a single injury or incident – sure to be some blisters and aches and pains!We had two Doctors on the Coast Guard vessel and one on the beach at the end of the course ready to coordinate evacuation if required, but they didnt even get to put a single band-aid on between them – exactly what we were hoping for. We also had an appointed and qualified ‘first aider’ in each group and a specially prepared medical kit on each vessel.Fantastic day and wonderful to be able to safely share the open water experience with paddlers who wouldn’t normally paddle in that environment and get that sense of satisfaction from covering some real distance. And at the same time contribute to the local community with the donation to the hospital. Win win win outcome! – Jonathan Cowcher
  See you all next year for some more madness? – Tim Patterson, SUP VIC (Photos courtesy various sources – Seabreeze, HMB Crew)

SUP VIC Inverloch Surf Weekend 24-25 March 2012

Just because summer has ended doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! SUP Vic is again running our famous surf weekend at Inverloch. Those who went to last year’s event know what a great time was had by all. Hopefully we can get a repeat of the conditions that allowed everyone from beginners to experienced surfers to all have a blast. This is a family-friendly event, so bring the nippers and grommets along. When: Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March 2012. Where: Inverloch, which is located on the Bass Highway 140 kilometres southeast of Melbourne, at the mouth of Anderson Inlet (see the maps below). Event: Surfing competition and technical (BOP style) race – open to SUP Vic and Bass SUP members. Cost: $10 for the weekend’s activities. The surfing is planned to start at 8:00am on Saturday morning, so either make it an early start that day or, like many, come down on the Friday night as well. We will probably do as we did last year, adopting a relaxed approach to the “competition” by having anonymous judges keep an eye on the performances of all during free surfing over the weekend to determine who will score some of the many prizes on offer. We will have three Surfing Australia-qualified judges at the event, so should we decide to get all serious and run some heats for the more experienced surfers then that is all taken care of as well. But the main aim of the weekend is to have fun and ensure maximum participation by all, regardless of your level of experience in the surf. So if you have never surfed before, or are just taking your first steps in becoming the next Kelly Slater, this event is for you. Some of the more experienced surfers will be available to provide some guidance for those who want some coaching. We are pleased to announce that SHQ Boardsports, RPS The Board Store, The Zu Boardsports, Zak Surfboards and Core Boardsports are all contributing to the prize pool, so there will be tons of prizes to give away and they will also be bringing lots of demo boards down. So here is your chance to test boards in the surf. In addition to the surfing, we will be running a technical race – for 12’6″ boards – on Saturday afternoon. This race will involve a course that will take competitors out and back through the surf. This could be your last chance to impress with a good result and maybe snap up a wildcard place for the Surfing Victoria state team to go to nationals. On Saturday night we will be holding a BBQ at the SUP Vic house, and all are encouraged to attend. Carlton United, sponsor of Surfing Victoria and Surfing Australia, has provided some VB and their new beer, Victoria Pale Lager, which will help to wash down the salt after a big day in the water. The event will be based at the surf beach on Surf Parade near Ozone Street, which is also near the entrance to Anderson’s Inlet. The SUP Vic house will be at 88 Surf Parade.

MAD PADDLE – Only 2 weeks to go…

Only two weeks remaining to register to be part of history in the first organised SUP crossing of Port Phillip Bay and the longest SUP event in Australia!
We now have 37 paddlers registered – 12 solo individuals and 13 teams.  We are capping the event at 50 paddlers (combination of teams and individuals) so please put the word out to your mad paddling friends.  Remember the first 50 paddlers that register are entitled to the free Skybus courtesy bus.
The fund raising website is now up and we are encouraging you to put the word out to all your family and  friends.    We are hoping to raise $25,000 for a mobile ultra sound unit for the Sandringham Hospital Emergency Department.  All donations are tax deductible.  Every paddler needs to raise a minimum of $250 to qualify for the crossing.
The Mad Paddle will finish at the Sandringham Yacht club where we will have a big community BBQ.  Your friends and family are welcome to join us.  Comedian Tim Smith will be MCing the event .   There will be loads of silent auction and live auction items.   Please let us know if you would like to donate any items for the auction.
There will be a compulsory briefing at 5.00pm on March 17 in the training room at the Sandringham Yacht club.  The briefing will also be available via webcast – more details to follow.
Medical indemnity forms will be sent out next week.  These will need to be completed and returned prior to the race.
Let’s show how generous Mad Paddlers are and support the cause.
The Mad Paddle Organising Committee

Surfing Victoria State SUP Titles Results

The State SUP titles were held in Torquay on Saturday 25th February, presented by Surfing Victoria, and supported by SUP VIC and BASS SUP.
The first event of the day was the 20km Marathon. A field of 14 gathered at Raff’s Beach in Ocean Grove before sunrise, with a warm northerly blowing about 15 knots. As the race got underway, Cam Hosking shot out to an early lead and was never really challenged. Despite choppy seas, a couple of raging bombora surf breaks in direct line of the course, and wind and currents pushing in opposite directions, Cam somehow managed to navigate the path to Zeally Bay, Torquay in a shade over 2 hours to become the first state champion of the day. Following Cam home was Heath Meldrum, making this his 4th race out of 4 where he came in second. Third place went to Luke French, a great effort as he flew in from QLD the day before and paddled a 12’6″ Fanatic in contrast to most of the field on 14′ boards. Chris Sal, Jonathan Cowcher and newcomer Zeb Walsh rounded out the top 6 in a closely fought race to the line. The sole female competitor, Jean Ringrose Coyne took it up to the men, finishing in around 2 hr 34 mins and assuring herself of the state title.
GPS  Image: Cam Hosking
Paddlers line up for the start of the Marathon – Photo by Phill Page
The Surf event got underway off Point Danger with moderate offshore winds and good swell producing clean 3′ waves. SUP VIC was well represented in early rounds although the surf coast crew proved to be very tough competition. Nevertheless, both Ross McClure and Michael Jenkins fought their way through to the second round of the Over 40s, with MJ reaching the final. Despite putting up a valiant performance in the mid afternoon heat, Mike was bested by eventual champion John Takle, with Graeme Briggs coming second and Courtney Dalton taking third. In the Open Men’s, Brendan Nachtigal flew the flag for SUP VIC, winning his first heat, but was desperately unlucky to miss the final when he nobly relinquished the last wave of the second round to his nearest rival. In the end, Matt Takle made it a family double act, in taking out the title ahead of pre-event favourite Matthew Lumley, followed by Graeme Briggs and Will Cousins. In the Women’s Open, Kristi Page secured her first state title with a strong performance, overcoming Lucy Bell.
 Women’s Open winner Kristi Page – Photo by Phill Page
The final event of the day was the Technical Race. The course was designed to test paddling skills through a dumping beach break, difficult side wind, a downwind section, and then surf-able waves back into the beach. By the time the race got started, the temperature gauge had topped 37 degrees. Many of the competitors were backing up from the morning’s Marathon, while others figured prominently in the Surfing finals. Luke French tapped into his Gold Coast training to take an early lead, followed closely by Chris Sal and Zeb Walsh, whose local knowledge seemed to serve him well. Meanwhile Heath Meldrum languished midfield after experiencing technical problems – a legrope wrapped around his fin acting like an anchor. But after sorting that out, Heath put his head down on the second lap and took a wider line up to the Point Danger turning point. He then caught the wave of the day to sweep past the leaders and secure his maiden SUP victory and the state title. Following him across the line, Luke, then Zeb and then Chris were all separated by just 6 seconds, with David Nixon and then Rupert Lancashire completing the top 6. Mike Jenkins followed up his efforts in the Surfing to be the first home in the Over 40s and winning the state title in that category. Jean Ringrose came in seconds later to secure her second title of the day – a terrific effort.
Finish of the Technical Race – Photo by Rob Wong
One consistent theme I heard over and again on Saturday from people who travelled to Torquay to support the event – all agreed that they could have entered, they wanted to enter, but felt somehow unqualified to participate in a state titles competition. However after watching the racing and surfing, each one of them felt confident that they would not be out of place, that the event was inclusive and in no way intimidating. With that in mind, I highly recommend that everyone should give serious thought to entering next year.
As for the winners, the Surfing Australia national titles event beckons in Port Macquarie in August. Max Wells from Surfing Victoria has confirmed that the state champion in each category will be invited to represent Surfing Victoria as a member of the state team. As you may be aware, Surfing Victoria has been allocated a number of additional places in each event. In order to select the other members of the team, Surfing Victoria will consult with a SUP Advisory Committee (to be established shortly), and in collaboration, they will take account of the placings at state titles, but will also consider major race and surf results over the past year. The aim will be to send the best possible Victorian team to nationals to fly the flag, with the ultimate ambition of securing a Victorian selection in the Australian team to go to the ISA World Championships. No doubt you’ve heard the Aussies just won the world title in Peru over the weekend, and will look to go back to back next year.
  Technical Race Competitors – Photo by Tim Patterson
Well that’s about it for the state titles, a great weekend, some brilliant surfing and racing, a terrific vibe, and a chance to spend time with some really cool people. Put it in your calendar for next year.
Paul Harrington
President – SUP VIC



1. Cameron Hoskings 2. Heath Meldrum 3. Luke French 4. Sal Chris 5. Jonathan Cowcher 6. Zeb Walsh 7. Tom White 8. Rupert Lancashire 9. David Nixon 10. Paul Harrington 11. Jean Ringrose 12. Nick Malney DNF. Justin Ormonde


1. Matt Takle 2. Matthew Lumley 3. Graeme Briggs 4. Will Cousins


1. Kristi Page 2. Lucy Bell


1. John Takle 2. Graeme Briggs 3. Courtney Doulton 4. Michael Jenkins


1. Heath Meldrum 2. Luke French 3. Zeb Walsh 4. Chris Sal 5. David Nixon 6. Rupert Lancashire 7. Matt Lumley 8. Michael Jenkins 9. Jean Ringrose 10. Alan Fairlie 11. Jonathon Cowcher 12. Lucy Bell 13. Kristianna Page


1. Heath Meldrum 2. Luke French 3. Zeb Walsh 4. Chris Sal 5. David Nixon 6. Rupert Lancashire 7. Matt Lumley


1. Jean Ringrose 2. Lucy Bell 3. Kristianna Page


1. Michael Jenkins 2. Alan Fairlie 3. Jonathon Cowcher Posted by Tim Patterson – SUP VIC based on results supplied by Surfing Victoria