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Day 2 - Paddle Boarding reigning champions defend and loose their titles

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Today we saw a mixture of results across all water and beach based sports as previous champions arrived for the National Championships. Today saw the second of three championship race which will crown the outright national champion.

After yesterdays closing racing at the Sprint Championships, we saw both reigning male and female champions Briana Orams and Ollie Houghton arrive after missing the sprint championships. A stacked field meant everything was on the line as both looked to retain their titles. On their heels they had Jo Aleh and Fergus Dunlop seeking to upset their plans.

The racing was planned to be from Mt Maunganui to Papamoa, but with a growing onshore sea breeze of 10-15km/hr, the decision was made to change the 16km course to race from Pilot Bay to Mt Maunganui.

The race started with a red line sprint to break the field. Houghton and Dunlop extended out from the main pack with Aleh and Orams forming their own separate pack.

The infamous current was ripping out of the harbour so the race entered a new phase as the leaders headed for the channel and out to sea. The wind against tide produced high static waves which met approx 1 m ocean swell! Confused seas created challenging conditions where the rich got richer and rest were left behind.

Houghton has said "Couldnt have asked for any more variety, today had it all, from flat water to working with current and ocean swells, to the surf in. Strategy came in as a key player."

Houghton made his break as the conditions deteriorated and extended to a lead that Dunlop could not close as they crossed the confused seas across Main Beach toward the island. Houghton won, Dunlop second and Jan Dunlop third.

While in the womans Aleh and Orams remained close throughout the challenging conditions but the Olympic champion took the win. Jo Aleh first, Briana Orams second and Angela McKee third.

Aleh said "Paddling through the heads was a real highlight, some great racing and proud of everyone who managed to finish today!"

Orams said "never had more of a diverse race. From flat water, to short chop, and rolling ocean swell it was really an adventure… Really enjoyed that the race involved a lot of tactical decisions and picking the correct line out of the estuary, couldn't of picked a better location for it"

"I haven't been paddling a lot recently as I am focusing on Olympic IQ windfoiling, leaving for Europe in 2 and a bit weeks to compete on the European circuit, really enjoying that and doing things like winging and paddling for cross training"

After the paddle boarding, courses were changed and all of the wingfoilers prepared to get out on the water. Wind had built into a nice 8-12knots with a nice 1.5m swell rolling into the beach. With wind at the minimum required to race, everyone made their way out to the end of Leisure Island, but with light winds, racing was very marginal with no official results recorded.

Everyone is ready for a full day of racing with the finals of all events including Beach Volleyball National Championships.

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