[UPDATE: Check out the 20 Beaches results]
One of the biggest Stand Up Paddle races on the Australian circuit, the 20 Beaches Classic is happening this weekend in Sydney. Conditions are looking great, with solid North East winds set to give many of the country’s finest paddlers a genuine downwind race. There’s also $5,000 on the line courtesy of Starboard Australia, which makes it the richest SUP race on the East Coast, and second only to “The Doctor” in Perth.
Spearheading the lineup is World Champ and Battle of the Paddle winner Travis Grant, who’s looking forward to getting back into racing after a major injury sidelined him for the past six months.
“I’m a little bit nervous… it’s my first race back from injury so it’ll be good to see where I’m at. I’m on a brand new NSP prototype as well, which is really exciting. Plus the 20 Beaches is a long race, so that makes it a bit unpredictable – there’d be at least 6 or 7 guys who have a realistic shot at winning.
But either way, conditions are looking awesome so I’m just looking forward to a fun downwinder.”
The Queenslander, who signed to NSP last month, will be flying down to Sydney with fellow Queenslanders Paul Jackson, Jake Jensen, Lincoln Dews and Steve Walker. The QLDers will be battling it out against New South Wales’ finest, including Dave Kissane, Sam Parker and Steve Morrison. Apart from the $5,000 in cash from Starboard, there’s also the all important interstate bragging rights on the line.
In the women’s race look for Terrene Black, Neelie Brown, Michelle English and Alison Fullagar to feature on the podium.
The 20 Beaches Classic is part of the 2012 Sydney Ocean Series, which has been happening the past few months. Winners from Open Men, Open Women, Over 40s and Over 50s divisions all score free flights to Australia’s richest SUP race: The Doctor, which is happening next month in Perth.
The course is a gruelling 25kms, starting at Palm Beach (pictured) and then heading South to Freshwater beach. SUPracer.com will be on location (if I survive the 25k’s…) so look out for full race results, pics and interviews from the 2012 20 Beaches Classic on Saturday arvo. Conditions couldn’t be looking much better, so it should be a great race.