Watergate Bay, just the mention of the venue draws mixed reactions depending upon who you are talking to. Ask a Sweep and a smile breaks across their face. They know the venue will be a test of their steering skills, to be able to read the surf on the way out and can they hold the wave on the return home. With the rowers, you may see the blood drain from their faces as the thought of a ton of water dropping on their heads come to mind. Watergate Bay sits in the middle of the Summer Series like a brooding elephant in the room. Everyone tries to ignore it, but it won’t go away. Watergate Bay is Round 3 of the Series, the most challenging of the five venues, will the elephant be malevolent or will it be generous and kind.
The tingling in the tummy starts about two weeks out. The nervous tension sits at the back if the mind and won’t go away, an exhilarating tension which if used wisely can be turned to a crew’s benefit. More training in surf conditions, no running to sheltered spots. The venue calls for all the Sweep and the rowers to up their game. To become confident that together, they can get their surfboat out and back, preferably in one piece.
This is why Watergate Bay or a venue of similar standing must continue to be included within the UKSRL Summer Series as a test of a surfboat crew’s surf skills. Of course their is a size limit and the organisers are responsible enough to take that into consideration. The venue is there to test all, whether they be old hands or newbies. The former know what to expect, the latter learn to give it respect.
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