Thinking about going to this event next year? Here are some of my own experiences (including expenses) to help you along. This is a great competitive event for experience riders in either Slalom or Freerace. There is strong and consistent wind so be prepared for some great competition. Definitely not for the faint hearted!
This was my second year attending. Last year I shared a room with two others and drove up. I trained hard and was really unsure of what to expect. It was my first slalom event for a while, so a bit nervous on that front too! I ended up having a great ‘party’ time in Cairns and also great sailing in the event.
The drive up and other combined expenses put a bit of a downer on the whole experience, so this year I really wasn’t sure whether to attend or not. But when I got a call from a friend I jumped at the opportunity.
GEAR: With only 2 boards/2 sails or 1 board/3 sails (unlike the PWA Slalom rules of 3 boards and 6 sails) I could tell it was hard decision. I know from my last year’s experience that the water at Green Island is shallow (never bring a deep tuttle board). I decide on my Patrik 92 slalom board as its perfect for Green Island conditions (including high winds and the punishing chop). It was bound to be a winner with a great track record in 2014 - Jessica Crisp winning and Rowen Law with a 2nd. Happy with the board!
To cover the lighter winds I turn to the Patrik Slalom 115V2 at 70cm wide. I also take Z Fins 41cm, 37cm, 34cm and a G10 30cm. (In the end I used the 37cm Z fin in the 115 and 34cm Z fin in the 92 all regatta. I did some speed sailing with the 30cm and wish I had brought something smaller. Speed Sailing is not part of the event but if that’s your thing then sneak your speed gear along. Local Kelly Morgan has done over 40 knots there.) Note to self: pack weed fins in the future!
I go for Gun Sails 7.2m Rapid which is no cam as my high wind sail. From past experience I know this is gruelling event. I’m a big fan of cam sails with wide luff pockets but they are not for waterstarting and over the days you see many crashes at the marks.
For the light wind I pack GUN SAILS 8.7m GSR. For future reference with a similar forecast I would swap it for a GUN SAILS 7.9 GSR.
The Good things about the event
Strong and consistent wind
Great weather – warm and sunny
Subsidised 5-star resort accommodation
Friendly like minded people of the windsurfing faith :-)
High quality competitive sailing – some of the best sailors in Australia and the world.
Well organised racing
Beautiful environment – (can’t get much better than the Great Barrier Reef)
Fantastic holiday destination
Not so good things about the event
Weed in the water (although uncharacteristic )
Can be wet (it is the tropics after all)
Reliant on island accommodation or staying in Cairns and battling the daily ferry
The event doesn’t suit all sailors – location and timing is a restriction. Space limits how many people can attend.
No independent race committee
Restricted set up area. Sailing around coral has its challenges. Too shallow
My opinion to make the event bigger and better
Some budget info from the 2015 event to help with your future planning:
Sydney Airport Long Term Parking: $125
Flights: approx. $660 return pp (which includes excess baggage). Return fees of overweight waterlog gear plus moving flight forward an extra $170
Island accommodation: approx. $300/night/per room
Maxi Taxi: Airport to Ferry Terminal and back: $55
Sail Numbers $100 / event entry $120
Resort Food $270 dinners only (breakfast and 5pm drinks are free) there is no time for lunch if you do Freerace and Slalom make sure you bring some nuts or protein powder