Hawkesbury Canoe Classic

I have been very slack with my writing this winter. Back online I will be resuming my posts in the lead up to the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic. A 111km ultra marathon race from Windsor to Brooklyn down the mighty Hawkesbury River.

The race aims to raise fund for its primary beneficiary… the Arrow Bone Marrow Foundation. A group dedicated to Leukaemia medical research. May aim is to raise $1500 for the cause.

I’ll be competing in the Standup Paddleboard Open mens class and plan on having a good crack at the title. The SUP class is a minority class with only a dozen competitors starting the race in 2013.

My overall goal is to use the HCC as a qualifier for the Molokai2Oahu race in Hawaii 2015 along with the “Doctor” 27 km downwinder in Perth, Australia and the 12 Towers race 15km downwinder on the Gold Coast QLD.

I will have an awesome support crew for the race with my beautiful wife Claire as S.C Captain, Leeman and Miss Em doing their thing to keep me going at the major pitstops along the way.

After a little break from paddling and training, and too much booze and good food I had put on a little pud and have really tucked into the build up. At this stage I am really happy with the progress and am being super vigilant in posting my workouts on Instagram #armadillosup

My Rock and Roll mate Bob #BangerzandMosh helped convince me to get some merch happening so I have put together 2 stubby holder designs for the campaign.

I ask for your support in helping me achieve my goal and fundraising by donating and sponsoring me for the race. Anyone who donates $50 or above will receive one of these awesomly crafted stubby holders to keep your beer or beverage cool in the summer to come



Better than a cup of tea and a cookie

Wandering Plum

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What’s better on sunny Winters afternoon than a nice cup of tea and a cookie?

Answer….. Nothing!

In fact, they go so well together that I thought I’d combine the two into one recipe and see what happened.

The result was my rooibos coco-almond cookies!

Choosing a tea

What I love and excites me about this recipe (apart from it’s simplicity) is that you can create so many interesting flavours by using different teas. I choose rooibos because I love it’s refreshing, earthy and slightly fruity flavour, but you could use anything. Here are a few ideas:

  • Matcha green tea
  • Chamomile
  • Chai
  • Hibiscus
  • Earl Grey
  • Lemon Myrtle

Infusion or straight up leaves?

I thought about steeping the tea into the coconut oil to produce an infusion, but being the rather impatient lady I am, I quickly forgot about this whimsical idea and ground the rooibos leaves in a mortar and…

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A little Hiatus

Where o where have I been? Heading into the middle of the year winter is now very much upon us. About 2 weeks ago the water temp started to plummet south and along latched a bout of the Man Flu 😨😷

Time to start rugging up with the layers to train and more to the point start wearing a lightweight wind stopper to take the chill off my chest if I fall in during a session. Maybe even start to wear a wetsuit……damnit Aldi….hurry up and get those cheap wetsuits back in stock.

So it’s nearly the end of June and next month is the big race….the 2014 M2O on July 27. That means next year in 13 months I’ll be lining up with alongside the worlds best paddle boarders to compete in the ultimate SUP board race.

The M2O requires entrants confirm that they are able to complete the distance for the race by providing proof over two past races. I have decided that my qualifiers are going to be totally different races and disciplines.

First is the “Hawkesbury Classic” on the 25th October 2014, a 111km Flatwater (by night) challenge along the Hawkesbury River. The race starts inland in a town called Windsor, finishing at the Brooklyn Bridge. It will give me the ultra distance experience, testing my navigation skill, refuelling, support crew, ticker and body.

Second is a race back in my hometown of Perth WA for some downwinding action in a race called “The Doctor” barely a month and recovery later on 28 Nov 2015. It’s a 27km challenge that takes advantage of the consistency and strength of the wind every afternoon from Rottnest Island to Hillary’s Harbour. This will test my balance, surfing and downwinding skills which will be essential for Molokai.

So with the races and dates locked in I had decided to take it easy with the training for a few weeks and start to ramp up a periodised 4 month lead up to be at peak fitness and be competitive.

With that today I took some blank Flexfit caps to the embroidery place to get the Armadillo SUP logos and text to get Pimped up. I also learned that getting simple logos digitised (ready for stitching) costs a fair bit so they will also be the most expensive hats I have ever bought. It’s okay as the hard yakka will be done by the time I get a bulk order made up for my crowd funding exercise later in the year……maybe in time for my qualifying races.

So hang around and check in over the next few months when the training really kicks off as I’m going for gold!😃💪🚆📷🌊🐋

A saturday in Autumn

Yet again three weeks have past and a whole bunch of stuff has happened. The week after my last post saw the first of the Autumn/Winter Southerly swells hit our beaches on the Central Coast. For the majority of the week, the wind was blowing out the southerly facing beaches. With the best spots being the protected beaches where the swell could wrap around a point.

On the big days the surf was above head height with surf coming breaking in local spots that I haven’t seen since we moved into the area 2 years ago. When its this big I admit that I’m still building my confidence heading out, especially by myself.

The swell was starting to fade off toward the end of the week and the stars seemed to align that Saturday morning. I knew there would be some still about and headed out to Middle Box Head at first light. I warmed up quickly enough, carrying my Allrounder SUP board over the Lobster Beach track.

For me the conditions were perfect for a SUP surf. The waves on average were about Shoulder height with the sets coming in being around Head Height and the wind was blowing offshore. And the best thing……I had it all to myself that early in the morning. Box Head is located in Broken Bay and is pretty much a big mouth entrance for the Brisbane waterway. When the swell is right it breaks 3-4 times starting from Box Head to Ettalong beach. Taking a couple of minutes to study where the best waves were breaking I chose to head out to the middle box head break.

These were the perfect waves for my skill level in SUP surfing, I was confident to head out by myself (and enjoy it). Since the start of the year the work I have put into my balance has paid off and I felt great being able to control the board and move around with more confidence. I had an awesome time with it being my best SUP surf to date.

The 2014 Molokai to Oahu race kicks off in the next 6 weeks and I am really excited to see the action. I have mapped out the races which I plan on using to qualify for the M2O race. Over the winter months I want to get more ocean time and hook into the Southerly swell downwinders and clock up the KM’s, and then ramp up the training in the 6 months before the race. The official artwork was released this month.


Claire’s work (ING Direct) sponsored a TV show called “My Kitchen Rules” and ran a competition to mark the end of the season. The prize was an all expenses trip to Hobart and to be cooked for by MKR contestants, Jason & Anni (the cheesemakers from NSW) at MONA restaurant with a wine tour the following day. Being the go-getter Claire is she blew the competition away with her entry and WON us the prize.

We had such a great time…Tasmania is my new favourite place for a quick weekender. Plus I found the best place for a pulled pork burger…sorry Bob…But it tasted Fantabulous. I can croon on and on about the food because it was seriously good!!!

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Blink and you’ll miss it

Whilst sitting on the train heading into town on business I decided to get cracking on my next blog installment. Thinking about which week in the program it is I realised it’s been 4 weeks since I last posted. How slack of me……or should I say…..”Blink and you will miss it.”

Blinking I think to myself where did it go? I must admit there has been a whole bunch of stuff that has happened in the last month.

First cab off the rank was Easter long weekend. Relatively last-minute we decided to punch down to Melbourne to visit family and friends. I always enjoy heading down there and catching up with Karen, Chin, Cass, Mila and our extended family from the Polski massive.

Without fail there’s always a guarantee of great beer/wine, amazing food and priceless hang time. Chin and I are both keen cooks in the kitchen, we collaborate in the kitchen and pretty much always deliver the goods when it comes to a feast….yes I will proudly blow my own trumpet on this one……and drink like a fish.

14 years in the making, I was finally inducted to the M-Vitch secret Droszdzowe (Polish Cake). Being very Time consuming the cake requires the Midas touch and TLC and was worth the wait late into the night for a taste of the freshly cooked product. It was definitely one of the highlights amongst many.

Another highlight of our whirlwind weekend was whilst visiting our friends Shane and Angie in Mornington Peninsula. Having scoured the peninsula for various gourmet treats including the freshest limes (key ingredient) and we were schooled in the art of mixing a mean Margarita. These guys shared their collection of special distilled agave tequila which came in its own hand blown bottle.

The drive back home was a bit of a mission and I must admit Claire pulled her weight by driving more than 50% of the return leg…. What a good Wifey.

The hot cross buns hadn’t even cooled and Hot on the tail of Easter was a short 3 day week followed by ANZAC day. Being an ex-service member it’s a big gig for the calendar and a day to remember, commemorate and celebrate our service men & women, past & present and in particular those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their service.

I was honoured when I was asked to recite the ode for the ceremonial service being held at our local RSL. So This year I chose not to head into the big smoke and booze it up with some of my old buds. Instead Davo aka DJ Pistachio Rodriguez, one of my best mates and army bud drove up with his wifey Clare and join me in the festivities. As usual the weather was less than desirable for our big day out and the service was held indoors and with a positive spin, nice and intimate.

Shortly after the beers started to flow very quickly resulting in Davo, my mate Ryan and I kicking on for a massive session going well into the night. A big innings.

They will not grow old, as we shall all grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them – LEST WE FORGET

The celebrations continued into last week with the Birthdays of my #1 peeps’ Claire on Tuesday and Phoenix turning 2 on Sunday. Nanna was also in town so there was plenty more good food and drink going down range, we also had a midweek stay at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Terrigal with a ripper feed at a local Gourmet Pizza joint called Four Hands…..definately a recommendation to anyone who comes to the Central Coast.

The week was buzzing by and the main event was fast approaching….mow the lawn, sort the this and the that, pre production here and weatherproof there and alas….Everything was in its place, the house was transformed into wonderland and it was showtime. Claire and Phoenix’ Mad Hatter Tea Party themed party was a great success with all our guests making the effort to costume up for the occasion. Big shout out to Nana Julie for helping organise and support the big day. Claire was well and truly pissed by the end of the night (actually after the first half hour) and Phoenix was a little champion, taking it all with his little swagger in his little Rabbit costume.

Our friend Bob from Bangerz and Mosh sorted the catering gig with starter appetisers of smoked fish & dill mayo crackers, Pulled pork with Slaw on a Brioche bun and a main feed of a selection of 3 types of sausage (snoops). The Alice in Wonderland, The Rabbit & the Queen of Hearts.

A funeral, an Eloping and two sets of friends having kids rounds off a very busy month of Family/life stuff.

Oh I better get to the training bit quickly…With all this family/life stuff going on I still have been training however haven’t really had a chance to paddle with the boys much. Last post I mentioned slowing down to get faster. I have been doing this and really working on some drills and stroke technique on the Brisbane flat water as well as implementing the use of my Gymboss interval timer. It’s really a great piece of kit and helps with the SUP and running training.

I feel that my stroke is getting more efficient because the one time that I have paddled with the SUP Central boys I felt really comfortable with the pace, keeping up with not much effort….the real proof will be in the pudding when the next race is on. In the meantime with the limited Boardtime I have had a chance to also practice a little more on the waves with my raceboard and get used to surfing such a massive board. And….its really fun.
The other week my paddling bud, Darren & I clocked up 17km in 1.5 hours out a Box Head catching waves and runners. I was pretty buggered after that.

With the onset of winter comes the winter southerly swells and the need of some cold weather gear. I cant wait to get some time up doing a Southerly downwinder which will really start the sea legs training for Molokai. Eye on the prize.

No video this blog…..needless to say Im back and wont be so slack next time.

Armadillo SUP

Me Time (Week 13)

My beautiful wife Claire owns and runs a small business called The Paper Florists – “Creating Memories with each fold”. This weekend Claire went above and beyond to hand deliver custom made bouquet and flower arrangements for one her brides by flying up to Brisbane with Phoenix.

With the business quickly attended to, Claire headed up to her mums house and catchup for a fun filled weekend. So that left me all by myself….and what was I going to do with all this spare time? Me Time!!!! So I have made sure to make the most of it by doing things that I don’t get to do as often anymore.

I love electronica/dance music!!! And nothing beats listening to a great mix when its LOUD, you can feel the bass (doof) pumping. Super max subwoofers!!! So mixes that I have been enjoying have been enhanced with the volume cranked. Once upon a time I used to spend so much money buying CD’s and it wasn’t uncommon to buy $120 worth (4-5 albums) full length at a time (This also included the bands).

One of the coolest things that I really enjoy about CD’s is the sleeve notes and cover artwork, its always been something that I have always been into. These days I still collect music but the priority isn’t waxing a heap of cash for my CD Collection so I tend to purchase and download online. I enjoy listening to the BBC essential mix, which is a weekly radio podcast / radio show hosted by Pete Tong. These mixes tend to be 2 hours, which IMO gives the DJ/Producer more time to build the mix…..

Deep Dish are a big name in the Dance Music industry and just recently reunited this year after focusing on their solo careers for a little while. And man, I reckon its a cracker so I really recommend having a listen to this gem.

My music single for the week is “Faded” by a cool band named Zhu. I only discovered these guys recently on Triple J and have been getting into their sound.

and this track called “Basic Instinct” by the Acid. Its eerie, hypnotic and haunting. Great stuff

This week in have introduced a couple of things to my training. To date I have taken the approach of trying to get faster by hacking it out against the boys during our sessions in Terrigal. These three things are drills, technique paddling and intervals. I have doing research into paddle technique and found these great videos from an ex-olympian turned SUP guru named Larry Cain. He produced an 8 video series of SUP technique drills.. Larry breaks all aspects of the paddle stroke downs into chunks which you can drill at some point during the session.

The drills are part of the the session that I’ll call “Technique Paddling”, the concept here is to Go Slow to Get Fast, really concentrate on the stroke, tracking in a straight line and steering only paddling on one side. (It takes lots of practice and I want to change sides because I choose to do so, not because I haven’t been able to go straight.

The last of these is Interval Training, the Scandanavians call it Fartlek. The principal/concept is to have work / rest time periods for a number of sets or any combination of these during a workout. Its all about building the speed of your recovery time and training at a certain level of intensity. I hunted around and bought a small unit called the Gymboss Minimax. It was really cheap and only cost me $48 (including a strap, skin cover, lanyard and express postage . I can also pre-program and save the workouts.

Unfortunately the unit is only water resistant so I had to figure a way to waterproof and mount the unit to my board. I scrounged around and found a small waterproof bag and found a spot to mount.

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Hence the motto “Slowing down to get faster” by drilling/building technique and training smart so that on game day I will be at peak performance. and….FASTER

Sometimes I have found that my bottom hand slips up the paddle shaft during a stroke. To stop this from happening (and doing so at the worst possible time) I noticed that some of other people use surf wax but I reckon that it can be very messy, get dirty, and rub off on the upholstery in the car. A pain in the neck. So my solution was to add some grip material to the shaft. With a bit of internet searching I found a product which does just the job, was inexpensive for an A4 size sheet. The manufacturer is xtrack, they make boat decking an other things like that.
You can buy in Australia from Surf Sail Australia

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Training was pretty good this week with the highlight being a workout sent to me from my brother Darwin (Mothman). He answered my call for a workout challenge and sent me two. There was a little ambiguity to the sequence so I ended up doing the workout twice, Back to back.

This weekend there has been a fair bit of swell about with a low off the ocean. However so has the onshore wind from the same direction. Whilst I was on Surfclub patrol the swell was forecast to get bigger as the day went on…..it did but the wind was making for shit conditions. Our beach was closed because it was too big and rough. So this morning I thought that the wind would have held off for a little while.
Climbing the Lobster Beach track to check Box Head break from the lookout I observed some big sets coming through, best break being the Middle Reform section where the waves were jacking up again at Head and a Half high during the sets.

With the wind howling I watched the two surfers at the middle break and contemplated whether I would paddle out. A wetsuit isn’t a luxury that I have coming into winter months and it would have been pretty cold in boardshorts with the wind blowing at 25 knots. It wold have been a challenge paddling into the wind and getting out by paddling around the main break to the middle. So I was sussing out a shortcut through some of the smaller whitewater and lining up a point of reference so that I could follow the channel where the waves hadn’t fully reformed to break in the Middle section. From what I could tell there was about a 1 minute gap between big sets of 5-6 waves so I would have to get the timing right and paddle like all hell to make the distance in 1 minute before getting smashed by the sets.

With the waves being this big it was on the edge of my skill level and knowledge of reading the swell etc etc. On a nicer day I would have been more comfortable paddling out by myself, however in the windy conditions, no wetsuit, heading out on my own would have been foolish and out of my league. As much as I wanted to head out it was not to be…Spewing. At least I have tomorrow morning ha ha ha, hopefully the wind has died out by then and my mate Darren is keen to head out with me.

The photo’s dont quite do it justice because I couldnt zoom in all the way and its nearly 1km to paddle out.

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