Picking the best line

By Jim on Saturday, June 2, 2012


Pick Your Line Before You Start. (be sure to check out the gallery below)

When you go about a long distance race it is often hard to see the finish line.
What you should do is, pick a marker in the distance that is far away, then head for that marker. The marker must also be close to and in line with the finish line or desired turning spot.

A true chop chaser will always run chops left and right,not ever going in a straight line. Straight lines result in nose diving and slower boat speed. By having the marker, you will be able to stay on track; not going too far out to sea or going too close to the shore.

Runners don't always push in a straight line to the finish.  Sometimes you may need to surf right but steer left.  That means that if the swell is coming from the right you can get onto the wave but then you need to head out left to stay on course.

Round 5 of the LG Bing Lee Ocean Series had competitors and organizers delighted with the sun shining brightly and the NE wind blowing just hard enough for good racing. A picturesque race for competitors with majestic spinnaker’s donning their masks outside the heads of Sydney Harbour.


With 150 odd competitors racing from Fisherman’s Beach in Sydney’s Northern Beaches to Sydney Harbour. The finish line being Manly Wharf.


All paddlers set out from shore veering slightly to manoeuvre past Fisherman’s deep reef with breaking waves. All competitors took a wide course and successfully continued trouble free.
The wide course around Fisherman’s deep reef suited the eventual men’s winner Murray Stewart, positioning the leader on a direct course for Sydney Harbour.

Murray would have made the decision on his line before the race began, analysing best course for a successful win. By choosing his line wisely he was able to run the runners with ease.  We have talked with Murray and have a Fantastic Podcast of his brilliant performance with great footage and tips on catching runners, coming soon.


From North Head, competitors made their way around the headland negotiating back wash, side chop and runners. This meant all paddlers needed to keep on their game.

Here are my tips to maximise your performance in these conditions:
    •    Choose a line you want to take and focus on it.
    •    Attack the runners with a change in rating as you do so.
    •    Keep your head up and looking around to see where the runners would take you.
    •    Keep your paddle out of the water, as putting it on or in the water to rest only acts as a break.

Review our previous Podcast on 'Chasing Runners'

Remember: Using the runners to your advantage helps make you a better paddler.


Other good performances in the race were:
Dave Kissane 2nd,
Dean Gardiner 3rd,
Nick Holt 4th,
Nathan Smith 5th.
Kirsty Holmes took out the women’s with impressive surfing of the runners. (We have great footage of Kirsty in our upcoming podcast)

Jimmy Walker