Girl steals King’s Crown!

April 12, 2012 |  by  |  Articles, Featured

Not many girls can claim an elite crown in any sport when they’re racing the boys, but Champion Stand Up Paddler Annabel Anderson took out the King of the Harbour Race with ease in the 12’6 Open Class.

Held on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, the King of the Harbour is a challenging 23km downwind ocean race, and this year included Stand Up Paddlers (SUP) for the first time in it’s 11-year history as an Ocean Ski paddle. The 2012 race took advantage of a favourable 15 knot easterly breeze and an incoming tide from Waiheke Island to the Viaduct Harbour, allowing paddlers to surf the wind swell back to the city.

Winning paddler Annabel Anderson said competitors were lucky with the conditions on Saturday, and the swells were lining up beautifully all the way to the Viaduct.

“This harbour is one of the trickiest stretches of water to read and navigate in any kind of craft, because there is so much water flowing from different places, with the convergence of three different channels and fickle winds.

“Siting a container ship over my shoulder, bearing down on me as I approached North Head, was definitely an impetus to paddle like hell to get out of the way!” says the Wanaka native who has been training in Auckland to prepare for the International SUP Pro Circuit this Northern summer. “It was pretty special to be racing at this level in my own backyard with some of the top men in the world.”

Reigning NZ and Auckland Unlimited Class Champ Jeremy Stephenson placed 1st overall in the race yesterday, on a longer 14’0 Unlimited Class board. NZ Olympic Sailor JP Tobin, the Auckland 12’6 Open Champ, missed the race while in transit from the World RSX Champs in Spain, but Marcus Hansen did the sailing fraternity proud by coming in 3rd overall after Annabel (technically 1st in the 12’6 Open Mens). Both sailors are expected to do well in the second day of the NZ SUP Championships at Takapuna Beach.

The King of the Harbour represented the first day of only the second annual National SUP Championship event. Event organiser Victoria Stuart is expecting around 100 entries for day two of the event, which will see paddlers of all abilities battling it out on a short slalom style course at Takapuna Beach, in exciting knockout heats through to finals.

“This is going to be the biggest Stand Up Paddle event New Zealand has ever seen, a sort of one-stop-shop for everything SUP,” says Victoria. “Fun for all ages, with free activities and kids races all afternoon alongside the action-packed slalom racing. We’ll be witnessing some pretty intense competition as the elite guys battle it out on the waves for the National Trophy.”

Photo attached by Georgia Schofield

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