Go-Natural Battle of Barwon Heads and the end of the Aussie Victorian surf ski season

Sunday, 20 May 2012 14:29 | Written by 
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Tim Naughton paddled to victory in the Go-Natural Battle Of Barwon Heads, wrapping up the Victorian surfksi series and season. Tim Naughton paddled to victory in the Go-Natural Battle Of Barwon Heads, wrapping up the Victorian surfksi series and season.

Tim Naughton took out the Pro-Course at yesterday’s Go-Natural Ocean Series Battle of Barwon Heads surfski classic, in some testing cross-and tail-winds and gnarly surf that saw many of the single-ski, SUP and OC paddlers take a dip in the icy Bass Strait.

Fresh ENE Conditions and Tricky Surf: The End of the Victorian Summer.

No amount of ‘instagraming’ or ‘photoshopping’ could add a bronzed-beach-hue to the race photos for the final race in the successful Go-Natural Ocean Series, and in fact the unofficial end of the Aussie Victorian surfski season: Conditions were fresh!


Tim Naughton crosses the finish line 17 seconds ahead of the chase pack, glad to have made it back through the surf-line.

Naughton, who is better known in the marathon canoe world, was pleasantly surprised with his win, and entered on the day to try his luck. “I haven’t sat in a surfski in about 10 years!” he smiled at the end of the 14km course, which included 3 km’s of flat water on the Barwon River, before heading out through the tricky swell off Barwon heads before hitting the downwind section.


OC6 team Inland Outriggers digging deep after capsizing out in the tricky surf out at the backline, nearly ended their race.

Go Hard Or Go Home!

‘1st Loser’ and pre-race favourite Duncan Groenewald admitted he might have overdone things, smashing himself on the Friday morning 6am squad training session, and racing hard at the Gelong Time trial at 8:30am on Saturday only a few hours before the race. “My arms felt a bit tired as I turned around the last can, heading back into the wind.” You reckon!? The hard man turned 50 on Wednesday, but was not letting that slow him down! Prominent Victorian surf-coast paddler and overall series leader Tim Altman, along with a few other locals, were absent from yesterday’s race, which clashes with the Moloka’i World Cup surf ski race in Hawaii this weekend.


2nd place-getter Duncan Groenewald leads Tim Naughton as they pass under the iconic Barwon River Bridge, heading out through the tricky surf of Barwon heads.

The Driving Force Behind The Victorian Surfski Scene.

Race Organiser Jarad Kohler has put on a solid season of racing and training through his organisation, Peak Adventure. The Outlaw Series this year included 5 races in the Outer Edge Crit Series, and 4 races in the Go Natural Ocean Series. Over the season a number of seriously fantastic prizes have been up for grabs, along with cash prizes for those at the pointy end of the field. An accomplished surfski paddler, having twice organised and led the famous surfski Bass Strait crossings from Melbourne to Tasmania, Jarad’s knowledge of downwind paddling really shows in the courses he chooses. For those of you in doubt, Melbourne has no shortage of downwind conditions! The predominant summer SW’s have fanned the stoke of many a downwind session with the Peak Adventure crew!


Jarad Kohler, Race Director and driving force behind Peak Adventure, explains the course at race briefing.

SUP, OC or Ski?

The series has seen a very successful crossover of SUP, OC and Surfski competitors, with all three categories hotly contested over the series. Peak Adventure provide competitively priced surfski hire from their base at Sandridge Surf Lifesaving Club. Well equipped with a significant number and variety of competitive carbon through to entry level plastic single and double surfskis, as well as trailers, EPIRB's, flares, handheld marine radios and all manner of safety gear, this equipment is readily available for the longer open ocean crossings, and goes a long way to furthering the development of surfski paddling in Victoria. Where else can future-champions choose from 30 different ski's and paddles at every training session before deciding ultimately which model to purchase?



Deanna Blegg lead the Womens race to victory.

An accomplished adventure racer and multisporter, and fresh from his victory in the Foster Adventure Race in NSW last week, and a credible 4th in China for the Leye Outdoor Quest the week before, Jarad’s hard work is clearly paying off. Many of the competitors in yesterdays Go-Natural Battle of Barwon Heads are regulars at the Peak Adventure squad training sessions that happen at 6am and 6pm most weekdays down at Sandridge Surf Lifesaving Club in Port Melbourne. It might be pouring with rain, and yes I no longer respond to ridicule about arriving at the clubhouse in the dark at 5:50am and taking my boat off the roof of my car still in my dressing gown, but it is really something special to regularly see 30-plus people out in the dark, rain and mists of Melbourne’s winter giving it horns for whatever speedwork or beachwork Jarad and his team have laid on for us that morning.


Jarad showcases the Outlaw Paddling Series trophy, to the delight of some of the competitors.


Barwon Heads 


PlaceEntrant(s)Final Time
Surfski ProCourse: Men (Single)    
1 NAUGHTON, Tim 0:56:03
2 GROENEWALD, Duncan 0:56:21
3 PEASNELL, Ross 0:57:11
Surfski ProCourse: Women (Single)    
1 BLEGG, Deanna 1:09:53
2 BELL, Lucy 1:13:42
3 COTTON, Caroline 1:24:30
Surfski ProCourse: Men (Double)    
2 SOMMERVILLE, Craig & OWENS, Steve 0:56:15
OC1 ProCourse: Men (Single)    
1 VEGH, Steven 1:06:44
2 SHEPHERD, Jason 1:07:01
3 MILLER, Steve 1:12:20
OC6 Procourse: Mixed    
1 Inland Outriggers 1:24:31
SUP Course: Men    
1 HARRINGTON, Paul 0:45:17
2 ELCOAT, Dean 0:45:27
3 PATTERSON, Tim 0:52:55



For More Info Click Here: http://www.outlawpaddling.com


Event information

Barwon Heads, Victoria, Australia

19 May 2012

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Jarad Kohler

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