Lamma Sprints

Power Station Beach, Lamma Island – July 16, 2016

With memories the Dragon Boat season drifting away and the long hot days of summer with us LBC Paddling Section put together a team from the last few people who have not evacuated Discovery Bay to contest the Lamma Sprints on Power Station Beach on Saturday 16 July.  Dwindled paddling member resources not withstanding, we managed to get a team of six men and six women together with some great experience and strength, giving us the opportunity to contest in many of the divisions available on the day.

On arriving at the beach we found our spot amongst the usual suspects of Hong Kong paddle clubs with Lamma, VRC, RHKYC and HKOCC represented before getting ready for long day of racing.

First up was the Women’s  and Men’s 3km (3.8 km actually) races with the exciting
‘Lamma-mans’ start with two team members holding the boat in the water and the rest of the team sprinting down the beach on the hooter and jumping/diving/climbing into the boat before powering away from the beach.  With the tide in and the shore break a reasonable size this was not an easy feat to clamber in, with the bow of the boat jumping around like a jack in the box.  LBC Women got away from the beach and were 4th at the first turn, a position they maintained until the end finishing in a time of 25:23.  LBC Men had a good start from the beach but then got caught up with another two boats in the first few hundred metres which ended up with RHKYC ripping off their Ama and Lamma taking advantage of this to go ahead of LBC Men into the first buoy.  LBC Men chased down Lamma the whole way but with a bit of slow turn out of the second buoy they could not make ground up on VRC and Lamma and finished 3rd in a time of 20:28.  Unfortunately for the LBC Men, someone felt sorry for RHKYC Men and they were allowed to go out again with the Rookies once their ama was fixed to post a time 10 seconds faster than us to steal 3rd place from us, which was a little unfair as they were able to post this time with no clashes or incidents.

Any feelings of injustice were soon forgotten when we took to the water for the 2 X 1km Mixed Relay.  LBC Mixed 1 executed a great Le Mans start and the accomplished steersman had learnt from his mistakes in the first heat and steered clear of any other boats to take a commanding lead at the first buoy on 500m.  Then with confidence growing, the team powered back to the beach in first place for LBC Mixed 2 to jump into the boat to complete the second leg.  They never looked like relinquishing the lead of the first leg and came in first in a time of 13:23, four seconds ahead of a strong VRC team.

IMG_5103With the excitement of that win under our belt we recharged our batteries with a bit of lunch before preparing for the 500m sprints.  Again we entered Men’s, Women’s and Mixed divisions with the format being a number of heats and a final.  The format meant you had to basically beat everyone in your division to get into the final and the Men won 2 out of their 3 heats, losing out by a close margin to eventual winners HKOCC (I think) in their final heat.  The women made the final of after some good performances in the heats but unfortunately could not make up the ground needed to overhaul the champions VRC.  In an interesting draw in the Mixed division, LBC Mixed 1 and LBC Mixed 2 were pitted against each other in one of the heats with Mixed 1 one winning the heat to progress to the final, with LBC Mixed 1 maintaining their professionalism and not rubbing it in that they had beaten their teamates!! LBC Mixed 1 dug really deep to win the final after a disastrous first turn, beating Lamma to the line in an exciting climax to the day.

As always, the Lamma hospitality kicked in with music, drinks and a great BBQ followed by the prize giving and a few medals for all the LBC competitors. Congratulations to Anita and Shawn on their first race day, especially Shawn who only jumped in an outrigger for the first time a few week ago and for Andrew for coaching us through the day.  Also to Jennie  and Martha for jumping in to help us out when Andrew unfortunately injured himself of the beach and had to leave early for a tour of Lamma Islands medical facilities.

– Anthony Said