GPS Tracking

By Jim on Sunday, November 7, 2010

After looking around and reading lots of blogs, I have finally found something that can actually show that choosing the right line is so important.

At the weekend I was lucky enough to be part of an exciting new concept of following Ocean Ski races, thanks to the people of Phiz TV. James Rennell a very keen supporter of paddling had his company Phiz TV live stream the Think Kayak King of the Coast ocean ski race on the Sunshine Coast QLD Australia.


The live streaming of the race was very exciting for me as I was able to do the commentary for the race, the thing that was most exciting for people not at the race was not only the TV pictures but the GPS tracking system that was used. This was the tool you could use to see who was going where and when they would make a  change in their direction to pick up speed from the runners.

The event had Ben Allen, Jeremy Cotter, Dean Gardnier, Bruce Taylor, Paul Green and Olympic Gold Medalist Ken Wallace all tracked. The good thing about this is in the pictures below it will show the lines that they took, but more exciting is seeing how their speed increased as they cut back onto the runners.

In the previous blog on choosing the right line, I had said how that you need to choose the right line but cut back and forth to surf the runners the best.

Now we have the technology to prove it right.

Take the time to look at the lines that a few of the compeitiors took in The Think Kayak King of the Coast Ocean ski race.


The pictures show by steering on your pedals and using the ocean to your advantage you can quickly increase speed by 2-4kms per hour very quickly.


What this GPS movement shows is that Ben Allen tacked into the swell, as it was blowing an Eastly which was coming over his right shoulder [ sea side to bech side ]. This meant he was getting slowed by the ocean.
















This imagine also shows that Ben was paddling side on to the swell, Eastly wind coming over his shoulder sea side to beach side. Although this is the straight line that Ben had to take to get to the Cartwright point, you can really see what happens when the boat gets no assistance from the swell
















This imagine shows how by using the ocean you can increase speed very quickly. Ben was as low as 9-10km at some stages of the race then a quick turn on the pedals and he quickly went to 14kms. This is a big difference to the overall speed of the boat throughout the race.


So making small changes to the way you race you can see how quickly you can gain speed. These pictures of Ben Allen paddling are great reminders to all of us how the thinking part of the race is as important as the paddling it's self.


Think Kayak King of The Coast

Round 6 Australian Ocean Racing Series

30 October 2010

6.00am at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast and the wind was already showing signs that round 6 of the AORS would challenge the field.  Kirk Jarrott called it the night before and signalled that the course would run as planned from Moffat Beach, Caloundra, to the beautiful marina of Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast.

There was some early swell and the wind would start that day from a more southerly direction, swinging around by lunchtime to a south/south easterly direction, where it would remain for the rest of the day.  At race time the prediction was absolutely correct with winds reaching up to 15 knots and the swell at Point Cartwright reaching 1 to 1.5metres.

The top 10 competitors selected to run with the Canoedall Ezy2c GPS live tracking included current series leader Ben Allen, Jeremy Cotter, Ken Wallace, Dean Gardiner, Bruce Taylor (round 5 winner), Kurt Tutt, Paul Green, Mark Anderson and local 21 year old Gold Coast ironman sensation Corey Hill.

The registration and finish location formed the backdrop for Ken Wallace to hold an ocean racing clinic with more than 50 participants hanging off every word while an enthusiastic Wallace demonstrated paddling techniques on a kayak ergo.  All tips and advice taken on board and the competitors were ready to face the challenges of the beautiful Queensland Coast line.

At 1.20pm a flotilla of ocean craft, under the tight control of Kirk Jarrott, heralded the fairest start of the series so far and the competitors were off. Watched by spectators lining Moffat beach and Moffat Headland almost 200 paddlers jostled for position.  Other spectators unable to be present at the event were lucky enough to view the action via a live stream telecast presented by  The race commentary, delivered by Jimmy Walker, set the scene for a super quick, yet challenging, ocean race.

The start was furious with the leaders quickly showing their hand.  Cotter and Allen shot to the lead in clear water in a direct line to Point Cartwright. Wallace and Hill chose a wider line with a gamble that the predominant easterly would give better runners on the turn at Cartwright.  At no time did Cotter, on his Fenn Elite, relinquish the lead.  Allen and Cotter traded what little runs there were but, by the half way mark, Cotter’s intentions were made clear.

Allen’s preparation, by his own admission, had not been perfect, whereas Cotter had been reported to be ‘training the house down’ on the Gold Coast.  Cotter appeared to be doubling the stroke rate of Allen and, in the challenging conditions; Cotter’s fitness provided more than a 15metre lead by the half way mark.  Cotter’s press for the lead was a clear tactic not to trade blows with Allen as was the case with other head to head events, between the two, in the series.

The field had settled with clear 3rd and 4th places marked out only metres in front of a 10-15 grouping of paddlers who had taken the wider line.  To the surprise of many spectators young Corey Hill, paddling an Epic, was hammering it out with Wallace, on his new Think Uno Max, for 3rd place.  At times Hill led Wallace and, post race, Hill recalled the story of a close encounter with a 6metre shark that shortened Wallace’s stroke for fear of upsetting the predator!

By the three-quarter mark it was looking like it was all Cotter with Allen now 20metres behind on his carbon Think Uno. The only chance for Allen was to attack in the 1.5metre runners off Point Cartwright; a location that has served as a playground for Allen in training runs where the swell can reach a massive 6 metres when the effects of Queensland’s cyclonic conditions are felt.

The live stream footage, from the phizTv catamaran, had the leaders Cotter and Allen looking like they were running rocks and not ocean swell.  Cotter attacked the coastline without fear and hit his left rudder to enter the Mooloolaba harbour channel, some 6metres in front of Allen.  Cotter had the best of the southeast run to Cartwright, but round two went to Allen who gained critical metres in the Cartwright swell.

All that was left now amongst the pain of the 16km race was the 3km flat water duel to the beach finish within the marina confines.  With pleasure-craft a possible obstruction in the marina, Allen challenged Cotter for one last strike at the lead that had avoided him the whole race.  For those that had followed the race live on phizTv they felt a different pain as technical difficulties occurred on the switch from cameras and the live stream audience were left pondering what the result was; so close live stream and yet so far.  Although live stream gave way to GPS tracking which allowed online viewers to continue to track the leaders, via the sophisticated system, in a thrilling finish. 

Allen had given the Cartwright runners and the flat water section of the Think Kayak King of The Coast, all he had and almost drew level with Cotter only to drop off Cotter’s wake for a second time and force a sprint to the line only metres behind.  The finish was nothing short of sensational in what was a touch on the beach with Cotter sprinting through the finishing arch only seconds in front of an exhausted Allen.  Cotter’s tactic to lead out and run his own race had just paid dividends and he was now the inaugural champion of the Think Kayak King of The Coast.

Corey Hill, who said before the race that he would be delighted if he could go stroke for stroke with Wallace for 500m, now found himself duelling with Wallace for 3rd with only 800metres to the finish line. The Olympic gold medallist and current world 5000metre champion, had his hands full with Hill who will muscle up for the Coolangatta Gold the weekend following the Think Kayak King of the Coast, and showed he was justified to be part of the Goldie. Nobody told Hill third place was for Wallace and he came within a whisker of touching out Wallace, after a sprint that clearly favoured Wallace in the flat.

Almost all of the 200 competitors finished, what was for them, the race of the season so far. The event was a huge success and was capped off with the top 10 open male and female ‘dash for cash’ marina harbour sprint thriller.   Same names, just a different order: Wallace first, Cotter second and Allen third with less than 3metres separating them.

2012 Olympic hopefuls, Hailey McGinty, Alyce Burnett and Chantelle Ellis came first, second and third respectively, all nailing the $250 ‘dash for cash’ course on their Think Uno’s.  Their presence, at the long course and sprint section, showed the immense talent among the younger Sunshine Coast competitors under local coach Shane Dalzeil. The girls were all on the podium in the 16km ocean race with Burnett just touching out from McGinty and Ellis following in third place.  

Full race footage and commentary will be available on