The winter weather in Sydney did not stop Dragon Slayers from across New South Wales competing in the first ever Australian Dragon World Series event. Despite 25 knot winds, 14 teams battled it out to become the ultimate Dragon champions.
The day started off typically Australian at Manly Wharf, with sunshine and coffee. Some teams had never stepped on the 22ft Dragon so were eager to have a try before their races, others were more concerned about arguing who had the best team name – ‘Not Fast, Just Furious’ and ‘Yellow SUPmarine’ came out on top. At 11.30 with the a gusty Westly setting in and the Budgy Smugglers coming out it was time to unleash the Dragon.
The first heats were off to a striking start, with the children's team smashing the Lululemon women and the all female; Twisted SUP Sisters annihilating all teams in their path - even a pod of Dolphins joined in the fun. As the heats intensified so did the wind. It proved too much for some teams and The Cubettes got pushed onshore by the gusts. In true Dragon spirit though, a few members of their rival team, The Cube Gym, jumped on board to help them cross the finish line. Although the Dragon World Series is a competition it’s also about team spirit, which these teams sure proved.
The drama was not over yet though. Fighting through the semi-finals were the Twisted SUP Sisters VS Kite and SUP Slayers and Team Green VS Team Deviants. The former two from Sydney and the latter, Newcastle. It would be a battle to represent your city. Team Green smashed their heat with the wind proving too much for Team Deviants (or maybe it was their Lifeguarding dress up complete with fake boobs, bums and thongs creating distractions.) The second semi-final was a battle to the end. With all 8 members of the heat being from the same SUP Club, it was all to paddle for. It looked like The Twisted SUP Sisters had it in the bag until a late fall which allowed the Kite and Sup Slayers to get ahead. With their synchronised strokes and speedy buoy turns there was no hope for the ladies after their dip.
The race for third and fourth place gave the finalists time to talk tactics and catch their breath. And then it was the moment we had all been waiting for - who was going to be crowned the first ever Aussie Dragon slayers? It was a close one to call, with Kite and SUP Slayers looking strong but Team Green’s synchronisation was like a well oiled chain and with a $100 bar tab on the horizon, the race was well and truly on. Both teams got off to a great start; strong, synced and determined. However Team Green had more energy in them and sailed through the two laps and 4 buoy turns. They even had time to have a group picture before Kite and SUP Slayers were on their last turn, and so it was a well deserved win for Team Green!
After some nosh and a change into warm clothes it was time to award the winners. A huge congratulations to Team Green for becoming Australia’s first ever Dragon Slayers and to all the teams who competed despite the wind, especially to those who had never even SUP-ed before!
There was fire in all competitors eyes but only the greatest could stand tall on this occasion.
See you all next time for the Australian Dragon World Series No. 2.
With thanks to Manly Kayaks.
1. Green Team
2. Kite and SUP Slayers
3. Twisted SUP Sisters
4. Team Deviants
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