8th November 2015
By Tamara Kirby

Coming back to DSA and paddling after a few year off – it’s been a long time between races!

The usual race preparation started Saturday night – digging my DSA race top out of the cupboard, putting my paddle in the boot of the car, packing my bag and most importantly cracking out the blue and yellow nail polish!

Then I was up at sparrow’s to travel to the Dam at Manly that none of us knew existed until we first raced there a few years ago. The early start was rewarded with a park in the nearest cross street and a short walk to the race site and the DSA camp.

In the cloudy and cool weather we sat watching the local bird life – noisy waterhens and some very big ducks while our team numbers slowly grew. Thanks to the Team App message the team managed to find us easily at the first picnic hut which had been nabbed by some of the regular DSA early birds –thanks to Shirleen, Alison, Corina, Linda, & Liz. We received the news with good grace that racing would be over and done with by 10:30am (woo hoo – early mark!!)

After a warm up with some funky 80s moves and a lot of official faffing around by those setting up the course – we were ready to watch the first race. It gave us all an idea of what to expect from the 2km course.

The Prem mixed team were up first in Race 2 and from the shore they looked the goods as they warmed up heading out to the start line. They raced solidly coming in 2nd place in their heat, and overall 7th.

Next up was the Prem womens team in Race 4. We did a snappy warm up (including the new “penquin” move) while those chicks doubling up from the mixed race grabbed a quick drink. Our DSA volunteer for the regatta Declan R had some wise words for us – “Go Hard Ladies”.

While we were loading up in the boat we were told Race 4 had merged with Race 5 – just a bit more competition and a boat for us to chase down!

As we warmed up in circles around the start line the sun came out briefly and we thought of the Melbourne Cup win on Tuesday to give us some female inspiration. As we lined up at the start line acquiring our target to chase – the words “we’ll smash em” may have been hopefully uttered in the back of the boat. We paddled hard with a call of twenty big ones every now and then taking each corner slowly creeping up on Sandy Point in front until the third quarter when CYL came up on our outside and the safety boat called for us to give way (twice!). Reluctantly we had to ease up and let them pass before putting in more big ones and drawing around the corner to finish the race. With only 18 paddlers in the boat (as opposed to a full 20), the DSA girls came an honourable 6th place overall.

With both 2km races done, we headed back to the picnic hut to pack up and get changed. As Sharon silently scoffed the last lamington (homemade & kindly provided by Liz) the heavens opened up signaling a timely end to our race day.

PS – Carmel and I had a great chicken schnitty at the West Ryde Hotel & we should definitely have a team dinner there one night!

Check out the images from the morning in our gallery HERE

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