Pat McGuire, Evan Mills, Sam McLeod, James Lyons and Declan Smith prepare to compete in the under-19 Queensland Cup surf-boat series.
Pat McGuire, Evan Mills, Sam McLeod, James Lyons and Declan Smith prepare to compete in the under-19 Queensland Cup surf-boat series.

Skins format to test state's crews

THERE may not be a three-metre swell or ferocious dumping waves, but Bundaberg sweep Paul Wessel expects the windy conditions to create problems for surf-boat crews when they migrate to Bundaberg’s Nielson Park Beach on Saturday.

“I’d say it will still be pretty choppy and might be tough going for the crews from further south who aren’t used to the conditions,” Wessel said.

It will be the fourth time the aussieBum Queensland Cup Skins event has graced the Bargara shoreline, the tough early season event proving popular with the more southern surf clubs.

“It’s used as a bit of a stepping stone into the serious end of the calendar, a great warm-up event, and the skins format should be exciting,” Wessel said.

Competitors row the three-minute course with just a one-minute break in between.

The loser from each race drops out until two boats remain.

“It’s a great test of endurance and really shows who has put the work in over the off season,” the Bundaberg sweep said.

The lack of huge waves also takes away, to a degree, the luck factor from the race.

“Crews like it because it gives them a good gauge of how fast they are,” Currumbin Highlanders under-19 sweep Pat McGuire said.

Wessel’s Bundaberg crew will compete in the reserves and is coming into Saturday’s races in good form, while the club also has a side in the masters division.

Despite missing last week’s final at Marcoola, the team was leading on points before the semi-final.

“We got belted by the surf out the back and never recovered, but we made the final of the navy series (a parallel tournament to the Queensland Cup) in the open division,” Wessel said.

The Currumbin Highlanders have made the switch from open-water rowing just this year.

The under-19 side has not missed a beat since the change, despite the major differences.

“A full boat weighs about 700kg, so there is a lot more to pull, plus you’ve got the unexpected conditions to deal with,” McGuire said.

“But the boys are really enjoying it and are one of the better teams going around.

Racing starts at 9am and continues until 4pm.



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