***I will edit this a bit over the next few days with pictures and maps, finding it hard to concentrate for more that 5 mins right now though and promised to get this online for Lao Shi as soon as I got home - it is a fantastic bit of writing so big thanks to him.....If I have any of the names wrong in the picture captions please tell me and I will change it.
GPSTC was the love child of Nebbian (Web guru) and Hardie (Brain guru?) both sailors on WA teams (although Nebbian was originally from Queensland until he saw the light). It was originally a couple of teams, the Mandurah mob of captain Hardie and his crew and the elite Swan River Mob. I joined about 6 months in to the competition and joined the fledgling Pinnaroos (Pinnas as they were then) because they only had 3 sailors and rarely got a scoring session. Through his prodigious recruiting skills (and some say cheque book) Mineral grew the team and when he was benched through injury I took over. Our team now has more than 20 active sailors.
GPSTC now lists 125 WA sailors (about 100 active sailors (in some cases I use the word loosely)). Such is the social nature of the GPSTC that I know almost all of them.
Sorry to those that I have not mentioned but there are just too many.
A quick run down on the WA teams.
Swan River Mob (SRM)
l to r - hardie,isaac,john(recycle),
The threpeat champions for the first three years. Captained by 25 (WA Nmile record holder and most bizarre injury prize) and containing a number of WA’s elite sailors.
Claude and Snides are the machines of SRM being the first sailors in the competition to break 400Km within a week of each other. Snides is also the alpha guru.
|'Slowboat' Aus74(current 2sec Record Holder 50.093knts)|
Slowboat is a freak! He can go fast on any size board and in any conditions. I have spent the last 4 years chasing him around and have learned heaps. He is usually 4+ knots faster than me on any given day. Last year he took the WA 2 sec record that had been held by Dan Engdahl (also SRM) since 2008.
Recycle is another mainstay of the team and is Mr Consistent.
When the Dutch appeared on the international scene they gave SRM (and everybody else) an arse whoopin! SRM has since lost some of its Mojo and their sailors are less focussed on the monthly rankings but still quick.
Mandurah Mob (MM)
Top Row: Hardie, Crasher, Elmo, Adam The Craw Ave Weight 100kg+ & NebbianBottom Row: Shane (SMS09), Bender, Decrepit, Sam (Lightworker), Paul (Pepe47) Ave Weight 75kg-
Also known as the Manbra Mob for the generous endowment of some of the team.
They are a bunch of enthusiasts with a number of flexible workers that sail in one of the best spots in WA. Hardie’s run is the site of a number of the state records and many PBs from all the teams.
Elmo is the most unfortunate sailor in the comp in the way he finds new methods to injure himself and trash kit. However he takes it all in his strides and publishes the best story posts of anybody on the GPSTC.
Hardie is the father of the GPSTC. His enthusiasm and organisation grew what started as a Seabreeze forum post in to an international competition that has reinvigorated windsurfing in WA and around Australia. He almost imploded in his quest to reach the Holy Grail of 40 knots but is now a more Zen like figure.
Decrepit is a legend in all senses of the word, in seniority and his ability with making boards, fins and testing sails. He is a distance machine and alpha artist.
Other regular sailors are Bender who sails further south but often drives to join the Mob although rarely the other way around. Sammy (currently known as Lightworker, he keeps changing his nickname) renowned weedy maker. Evets another distance machine. Adam, who is still trying to convince the Mob that Safety Bay is the new speed spot. On again, off again, Crasher (up there with the best of them on his day) and Pepe who produces beautiful bespoke wood and carbon works of fin art.
Some of he Mob can have a tendency to go a bit quiet over winter but once the weed starts growing (in the water not the smoking kind) and the water warms they are battling it out for top WA team.
Pinnaroos (formerly Pinnas)
|Back row l-r Nebbian, Mineral, Macka Packa, Marcel|
Front row l-r Hardpole, Lao Shi, Chris P
This team was started by Mineral at Pinnaroo point. The name came about after a nice lady called us team “Peenus” after seeing the name on my sail.(see attached photo) and the name kinda stuck. When we gained our first female sailors (Windxtasy/Jemma)it was decided it might be time to change it.
Team star is Jake the Snake. He has led the way with me riding his coat tails. Unfortunately he is not as addicted to windsurfing as I am and his real life often means that he disappears for months at a time. When he is on form we are up there pushing for the top placings in the AUS comp. I am currently racing with Vando (Moreton Bay Mob) to see who will be the first to reach 20000 Km in the GPSTC. At the time of writing he is in front. Vando’s first session was 1548 days ago and mine was 1381 days ago on the 22nd Nov 2007. So I am averaging 14 Km / day!
In the beginning, Hardie told me it would take me a couple of years to become skilled at Speed sailing and I thought “how hard can it be”. He was right and I still don’t think of myself as anywhere near mastery. I have been labelled the Director of Tactics and Strategic Planning (although I am sure some less favourable titles have been used) for my efforts to bully the rest of the team to go places and sail specific categories for best points advantage.
Pointman is our team speedster and can be relied upon for a fast mile. He often gets frustrated at us flyweights in light winds but comes in to his own when it gets strong. He won the Masters slalom on the day I scored my speed PB after I retreated with my tail between my legs to the river having been smashed on a 5m on the ocean. He toughed it out.
Nebbian is the other founding Father of the GPSTC. He is the brainstrust behind the magic that is the GPSTC website. His ability to make it do the things people ask is true wizardry. He started in WA with the Manbra Mob but relocated to Perth and switched allegiances. Since then he has lost a heap of weight and favours the waves. He has been my chauffeur the last two years on expeditions up north where we have scored some great early season wavesailing. He has been known to dabble with the dark side but assures us that windsurfing has his heart. He is happy with his speed achievements and has an amazing ability to pull out a big distance session off very little recent sailing. Recently he has been working too hard and we miss sailing with him.
Chris Porter was another stalwart early on in the team and is currently on a sabbatical in NSW with his family for 6+ months. We hope he will miss the warmth and come back.
Hardpole and Macka Packa are always keen for a bit of adventure and with a heap of new recruits in the last year or so, many of whom are improving fast, (JJ, Scarrgo, Grumpy, Obelix, Jonah, Birdman, Damo) the team has a good mix of abilities and a great social combination. It is a rare day that I sail on my own. Mineral is back after serious injury and we hope Marcel will be back soon from a Knee reconstruction (snowboarding not windsurfing)
This team has a bunch of Pros, some elite sailors and an enthusiastic band of amateurs. Lucky for the other teams the Pros rarely get GPS organised and the original captain Big Dog (now Lord Vadar) eventually gave up in frustration.
Jesper (KA,RRD) is the current Swan river mile record holder and always shares his knowledge regardless of your team. Steve Stratfold (NP, F2, Choco) is a board repairer extraordinaire and wears a GPS when he remembers but someone else has to upload the data for him. Danny Aeberli (F2, Choco) makes appearances during the summer but getting him and the other Pros to sail for a category is like herding cats.
Annika has competed in the PWA and gives most of the blokes a run for their money. She and Lord Vadar have gone off windsurfing recently although we hope to see them back as the weather warms. Stribo moved over East but still posts for the team. His whistling speed weedy warning you of his approach is missed.
Darryl is a big unit who is capable of pipping Slowboat on occasion and pushes him hard the rest of the time with some fantastic results. He is one of the few in the team that travels. Nelson (current captain) Annie, Big Dog and Windrider have done a great job of building a strong social group for sailors at Melville on the Swan River. They are the most social team in WA. PSS also has a bunch of new recruits pushing hard.
Two WA female competitors (Cheryl and Binny) decided that they wanted to be a part of the first all women team and were founding members of The Sailfish. They sail with MM and SRM and are trying to recruit more sailors. Binny has been recovering from a nasty sailing crash and we hope to see her on the water in summer. Recently Cheryl has recruited Nic and they have been getting some scores on the board. Well done, Sailfish.
There have been other WA teams that have fizzled and some of their members have joined the above and the odd appearance is put in by the westozwind warriors and divas (but not so far this year)
The last four months has seen the Pinnaroos get top WA spot for three months and a tie between MM and SRM for August. Expect to see some real close competition over summer.
Thanks to Hardie and Nebbian for such a great idea and making it happen. Thank you to all those that join me sailing around WA and make the sport I live for even better.
Sorry to all the sailors that I didn’t mention.
Hopefully future reports can be a bit briefer but I thought it might be useful for those who have not been in it from the start to know a bit more about the teams that post.
See you on the water, Lao Shi!