What a weekend a group of our Seniors have had – spending time training and bonding down at Chiton Rocks! Below is a wrap-up of the weekend from Sean McKenzie. Sean spends a great deal of his time coaching and mentoring this group and although this often goes un-rewarded it needs to be acknowledged that we are so grateful for his dedication to our club.
‘The Senior Competition group have had another successful training camp down at Chiton Rocks SLSC. Thanks to Chiton for the use of the facilities over the weekend, it is always appreciated. This weekend we had 21 people stay for the weekend, including 3 of our U14 crew and 5 parents. Another 4 U14s joined us for a day of training on the Saturday.
After leaving our club late Friday afternoon we headed straight for the Royal Family Hotel in Port Elliott for dinner. Then we checked in at Chiton and sorted out the sleeping arrangements. Realising we had filled all of the single beds 2 of our older guys were left debating who would be big spoon and who would be little spoon on the double bed. Once we were all settled in we connected the laptop to the TV and YouTubed old Ironman videos from the 90s, including the Piha races that were held in 10ft plus surf. This was a real eye opener for the U14s that haven’t seen conditions like this before.
Saturday’s alarm went off at 6am to the delight of everyone and after dragging some people out of bed (literally) we gathered on the beach for a warm up run, before a quick feed and off to Middleton for the first session. Our older ski paddlers did it the tough way though, jumping on the skis and making the 6km journey on the ocean, paddling through the Islands outside Pt Elliot Bay, coming in through the surf at Middleton to meet the rest of the group that had driven around.
This session was the first for our 7 U14s in the surf, so massive thanks must go to John Charles, Craig Leinert, Brad Tunbridge, Michael Bartlett and Richard Martin for providing water cover as they developed their confidence and realised white water isn’t as scary as they first thought.
We made our way back to Chiton after spending a couple of hours in the water, had some food cooked up by our chefs (the dads), then made our way on to the beach for our next session. Things moved well with everyone’s skills improving with every wave that crashed over them. When you have a 2ft wave coming in and sometimes close to a 1ft backwash moving out, you need to make decisions pretty quickly.
Come 1pm we did something a little different and patrolled for Chiton Rocks SLSC. This gave the group a good experience as we patrolled a new beach, and the U14s that are in training for their SRC got to see how a patrol is set up with us guiding them as they continued to try out the water. A big thankyou to John Charles for taking the U14s through water rescue training for their SRC, it was great having someone with so many years of experience training our up and coming patrolling members.
Sunday morning was a slightly later start with alarms going off at 7am (thanks to Cooper who’s alarm went off at 5am) where we started packing everything up, had breakfast then hit the water a bit after 9am. After just a few sessions in the water it was unbelievable to see the change that everyone went through. From Saturday where some hadn’t been in waves ever, to making it out through the Chiton surf and back in with way more confidence.
We have run this camp for a couple of years now and it continues to show its worth. A big thankyou to Craig for organising all of the food for the weekend, being the male chaperone and towing the board trailer (one of our U17s said he had never seen so many boards on it). Thanks to the parents for cooking all the meals and driving everyone down. Thanks to Paige for being our female chaperone. Stay tuned because if we can find another free weekend during the season we will be running another Chiton training camp.
See you all on the beach soon!!’