We had the pleasure of catching up with Australian champions Nick Wagner & Luke O’Garey before they flew out to the 2013 ICF Ocean Racing world championships in Portugal, to represent Australia in the Masters ( Luke ) and Juniors ( Nick ) categories in the single surfski 22.5km event in the most pure of all downwind formats.
In a field of some 325 entrants over all, consisting of 275 men and 50 women, Australia has 29 entrants heading over to represent our fair nation, made up of 25 men and 4 women entrants.
It’s a hot field but we have some very strong contenders in the Aussie contingent so we’re pretty sure the odds of Australia taking out our fair share of podium places are pretty good.
Nick a Queensland local who frequents the waters of Noosa and Maroochydore, and lists his ultimate prize as wanting to win gold as an Olympic champion in 2016, flew into Sydney on Friday 5th to spend the weekend with us.
We managed to get Nick him down for a fun warmup paddle on Saturday morning for the 188th Blast 10km time trial at Balmoral where the local crew who could make it enjoyed the chance to meet Nick in person and enjoy a hit out on the water.
We got Nick out on the harbour too, and from the look on his face in this shot, we’re pretty sure he had a great time. That’s the face of one seriously stoked Aussie champion paddler, and we couldn’t have been more honoured or proud to have the opportunity to show off our “back yard” ( AKA Sydney Harbour ) while he was in Sydney.
Balmoral Blast #188
Blast Paddlers have been running a fundraiser for Nick’s campaign to help cover some of his travel costs, and we managed to raise around $150 on Saturday at the Balmoral Blast thanks to 21 brave souls who turned out on a stunning Winters morning.
A big shout out to the crew ( pictured below ) who were able to make it – nobody could ask for a better bunch of friends and peers to paddle with.
The temperature at the beach was a chilly 4 degrees at 7am with a light breeze as the sun came up, a bit of a shock to the system for Nick though who enjoys much warmer weather in his home state of Queensland, but that didn’t slow Nick down one bit, in fact more than one of the crew commented that they were pretty sure they were doing six stokes to every one of Nick’s.
If you can help us support Nick in his campaign, please consider making a contribution via the following link at GoFundMe.
We’ve had very generous donations from $5 through to as much as $40 and $50 from individuals, and very generous contributions of $100 from DD3 Paddle Sport thanks to DD3 founder Damien Daley, and $100 from Mango Racing & Paddle Sports – our target is $2,000 and we’re almost half way there, so every cent counts, give generously please:
Luke O’Garey a local legend in Tasmania and a well established paddle sport coach & podium placing athlete flew into Sydney from Tasmania around lunchtime on Sunday 7th to join us. He apparently found the cool weather in Sydney very comfortable.
He told us his training while at home in Tasmania is usually includes crazy zero degrees Tasmanian winter mornings on the water.
Luke was able to join us for a social paddle out on the stunning waters of Sydney Harbour, and thanks to Mango Racing, we were able to get Luke and Nick on a couple of brand new Mango Racing X1 “Black Knight” ocean skis, and get out on the water for a fun social paddle under the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, and then back across the front of the Sydney Opera House.
That’s Luke in the shot above in the yellow top, on the pink version of the newly launched prototype 8.6kg carbon Mango X1 surfski, getting some air under the nose as we make our way back towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
And yes, before you start poo poo’ing the idea of “getting air” on enclosed harbour waters, we do in fact enjoy some pretty decent sized “bumps” on Sydney harbour thanks to some pretty heavy boat traffic, with pleasure craft, harbour ferries and international freighters.
Blast TV interview
Dez Blanchfield founder of Blast caught up with the guys for a Blast TV conversation before going out on the water on Sunday, check out what they guys had to say about the lead up to their Portugal campaign.
Host with the most
A big shout out goes to one of our Blast family, Helen Chorley ( pictured below on her unstoppable Stellar SES ), who very generously hosted & billeted Nick Wagner for the weekend with a place to stay and some old fashioned home cooking, breakfasts on Balmoral beach and provided Nick and Luke with a VIP tour of Sydney & sight seeing including the famous Sky Walk at the top of Sydney tower!
Thank you Helen, we can’t thank you enough for taking good care of Nick while he was here for the weekend, and for driving Nick & Luke around over the weekend. You’re the living breathing epitome of what the Blast project is about.
Safe Paddling Guys
We wish the guys a fun safe trip to Portugal, and hopefully conditions are good on the day over there, and we’re looking forward to keeping you up to date with their journey and will be posting updates, photos and news here on the blastpaddlers.org web site, our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
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Safe paddling guys, and you’re doing your home country proud just qualifying so regardless of where you place, you’re both champions and we’ll be following your paddling careers with great interest for many years to come.