Harbour Racing

Harbour Racing is paddlesports racing on enclosed harbour and lake waters. Because these waters are often subject to wind waves, tides and some swell, they are most suitable for Ocean Racing and SLSA ‘Spec’ Skis, Outriggers, SUP’s and Sea Kayaks. Races are suitable for all paddler skill levels, with short course options for the less experienced, and longer courses in more exposed waters for those more capable.

The current season series information is listed on the EVENTS page.

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Images: PaddleNSW Harbour Series & Kerry

The Harbour Series offers paddlers new to open water the opportunity to improve their skills in a safe, lower risk racing environment before tackling the more technical offshore waters.

Each series runs over Autumn and Winter, comprising 5-6 races on various waterways in the Greater Sydney region. Clubs host a round of the series in their local waterway and the points at each round count towards the series point score and awards. The series has been running continuously since 2012 and has been key to the growth of several new open water clubs.

Many different race categories are catered for in the series. Age groups for the most popular classes of Ocean Racing Skis are usually in 10-year increments from 40 yrs up, while some smaller classes have an Open and 50+ yrs categories. There are always separate Male and Female categories in all classes, while there is also a special SLSA spec ski class for SLSA juniors seeking racing experience in the surf clubs off season. A popular racing class has been the mixed doubles ski, which is an Open category and keenly contested.

Long courses are generally between 14 and 18km, while short courses are between 8 and 12km. Racing generally starts at 8.30am and is finished by mid-morning. Courses are clearly marked with large turn buoys in either pink or yellow, and the start and finish lines are also clearly marked with chequered buoys…necessary when they might be more than 2km distant!

Course safety is normally provided by SLSA style inflatable rescue boats fitted with prop guards, and crewed by local club volunteers familiar with the waterway.

The Harbour Series is open to any paddler with the correct safety equipment including a L50 non-inflatable lifejacket and a leg or paddle leash. It is a great way to experience the thrill of racing, make new friends on the water in a competitive but fun atmosphere, and to hone your skills as you progress to more challenging conditions.