Conditions challenge classic paddlers

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Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
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City of Bunbury Surf Life Saving Club paddler James Duncan put in an excellent effort to finish third in Saturday’s Downwind Ocean Classic Paddle in the Open Men’s Division which was hosted by the South West club.

Duncan finished behind Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club’s Brendan Rice and Dan Humble, who ended in first and second place respectively.

Rice finished with a fantastic time of 1.00.40, while Humble came in just over a minute later at 1.01.51 followed by Duncan in 1.03.45.

Duncan said the conditions across the 15km course from Stratham to Back Beach suited him.

“I was loving it,” he said.

“We had strong westerly winds, it was really cross shore.

“A lot of seaweed around as well, so a lot of paddlers had their rudders affected.

“It was challenging conditions but really good fun.”

Bunbury’s Blake Smaniotto won the men’s under-21 specski event, finishing with a fantastic time of 1.11.18, 13th best overall and Tom Scott was the first across the line in the under-17 division.

Courtney Smaniotto finished with a time of 1.35.45 in the female under-17 specski event, while club mate Jess Wilshire finished the under-19 male specski in 1.30.06 and Joel Drummond came fourth in the men’s open with a time of 1.08.05.

Duncan said he was pleased with his team’s performance.

“Everyone did really well,” he said.

The team is now preparing for the surf lifesaving season, with a competition this weekend in Perth.

The next downwind paddle is in Mandurah on Sunday, January 22.

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