The bus ride this morning began as every day has begun thus far with a lot of banter and laughter between the SA and Aussie Team as we headed to a big day of Technical Race Finals, Junior Race Finals and Prone Paddle Board finals.
There was a mixed feeling of anxiety and excitement on the bus as all the Team members prepared themselves mentally for the day. This preparation of course included entertainment from our Team Mascot Koa King and the morning ritual of Baby Shark. It has literally become a song that is stuck in all our minds and we find ourselves humming or singing along.
Both our Junior Team Members Karisa Grace and Henco Scholtz paddled their hearts out against the best juniors in the world and they did incredibly well. Henco Scholtz had one is the quickest race starts I have seen and paddled like a champion. Karisa paddled with great form and consistency and held her ground beautifully. Both athletes excelled and made top 10 in the world which was incredible.
Jadon Wessels our Prone Paddle Board athlete, who has had a particularly stressful lead up to his race with not having his board arrive stepped onto the line on a borrowed board and bolted out of the starting blocks with speed and focus.
This young man paddled with such determination and commitment and with one goal in mind and that was to smash it and bring home a medal. And that is exactly what he did. What an incredible race it was with Jadon at one stage sitting in first position, I literally felt like I was going to have a heart attack.
Next up was the Ladies SUP Technical Final with Tarryn King representing our Team. This was a really tough field again and she paddled an incredible race also coming in the top 10 in the world. It was great to hear one of the race officials say, wow great to see Tarryn King back after being off the scene for a year, she really means business.
I believe that to perform on this level it takes a lot of time, commitment and dedication and often a lot of sacrifice. It is always difficult especially with a sport like SUP as the athletes all need to fund their own way to take part in these competitions. I however am proud to say that being selected as the manager of this group of individuals has been a true honour.
Every single athlete has given every ounce of themselves in this event so far and they are a strong, supportive and humble unit. I look forward to the next few days ahead.