Despite the interruption that COVID-19 posed to many clubs this year, the Paddle NSW Sprint Series brought many paddlers normality and reignited their love for the sport. With overseas trips for Junior and Open teams cancelled, and restrictions constantly changing, nobody knew when our next chance to race would be. But come August, the first Sprint Series was organised, and NSW paddlers were flocking to Avoca for our first chance at valuable race practice.
Although the usual cake stall was unable to go ahead, the epic tail winds had everybody pleased with fast times and fun racing. Sadly, the next round was inconveniently cancelled due to the latest COVID outbreak and subsequent restrictions, but local paddlers were lucky enough to get a chance to race at the Manly Warringah Local Sprint event, where competitors got to race in K2s in addition to the usual K1.
Next was Penrith, where we were able to compete on a measured course for the first time since March. Although we had to push a little harder for our PBs, Penrith didn’t disappoint and overall it was an exciting day as we supported the McGrath Foundation’s ‘Paddle in Pink’.
Finally, we had Narrabeen, where we not only competed in a range of events including K1s, K2s, K4s and an additional all-age, mixed, club vs club K4 but raced in surprisingly perfect conditions. This round left everybody red-faced and all smiles, either from the extreme sunburn or the extra events.
All in all, the 2020 Sprint Series may have been the most disrupted season yet, but was also the most appreciated as it kept many paddlers motivated in a year of uncertainty.
I’m sure everybody can’t wait for next year.