As the annual Jinabyne Flowing Festival rolled around, an excited bunch of Komodo troops made their way down the windey roads and through the mountains to arrive at a pristine lake, ready to paddle their hearts out. We were greeted by absolutely breathtaking water – algae free and so clear that you could drink it on the start line alongside stellar weather to boot.
Once settled into Banjo Pattersons, the troops had some non alcoholic beverages and some good old fashioned team bonding, before making their way across the road for the first afternoon of racing – the twilight 2000m races. Were they really 2000m, we asked? The simple answer was no. But what we do know, is that the Komodo spirit ran high in all crews across the 1800m turn races.
And what an 1800 meters it was!
The womens, Mixed and opens crew set off towards the back of fleet, ready to chase down all the boats ahead of them in the “2km” races. We were pumped, we were committed and we were HUNGRY.
Sandi took control of the Womens and mixed race with excellent results, with both crews dominating their races. Both crews had strong starts and were hungry from the get go. The corners were tight, the big tens were massive and the bow waves were bigger and both crews powering home like no tomorrow. Sandi drove both crews hard, and she pulled some stellar moves on the back while going around some tricky turns in the bathtub boats. The Mixed and womens crew looked strong and they held their composition throughout both races.
Silky took the opens out for a sneaky 2km race. Silky, best knows for his ability to steer in a straight line in questionable conditions, was slightly put off by the perfect weather, but we thought we’d test his skills by throwing in some cheeky turns for him anyway. The result? A+++. Silky guided the opens crew around those turns and held excellent lines. He kept the crew focused and discipled throughout the race and the crew finished strong. Silky just earned himself more time at the back of the boat sweeping because he did so well! What can’t he do?!
The Komodo group looked strong from the shore. I have it on good authority from a supporter on the sideline that other teams were intimidated by our power. They were amazed by our composition! The term “those bloody Komodos….” may have been thrown around a couple of times too, but you know what … That was nothing compared to what we had in the tank for day two.
But I digress. If there is one thing Komodo know how to do other than race, it was to party, and little did I know that those who train hard, party harder. We started off with a lovely team dinner followed by a few drinks in the bar. A few?! Oh boy, whatever we drank that night surely caught up with us the morning after.
The next day was the 200m splash and dash. But where was Hammer?! We had many sore heads, and gurgling stomachs at the tent but …. Hammer was nowhere to be found. Man down, we cried! But alas, the show must go on. A few phone calls, and a few sharpie scribbles over configs later, and we had a startled Hammer on his way to the racecourse. Komodo, however, seem to perform well under pressure and were completely unphased by the last minute change. We clapped ceremoniously as Hammer strided past the tent and straight into marshalling. Crisis averted.
Our first 200m turned out to be a little bit more than that … Old mate at the finishing line decided that the perfect time to go and grab a coffee was at beginning of the regatta, leaving our Komodo crew racing a rather discipled 300m race. We sailed well past the finish line while the people at tent on the shore realised in horror that there was no one to sound the finishing line horn. “STOP!!!!” People were screaming from the sideline. Did we listen? Of course not. We’re disciplined. We listen only to our sweep. And we raced a solid 300m race before calling it a day while the other crews followed on in confusion. At least we didn’t have to paddle that far back to the loading dock …
The windy picked up in typical Jindabybe fashion making conditions out on the water absolutely crazy. There were waves, and boats struggling to get out of the loading dock, and all sorts of shenanigans happening during the races. Did We care? Hell no. We ran every race exactly as we planned. We had experienced sweeps on the back of the bathtub boats who guided us beautifully through the water, despite the wind trying to take the boats in a completely different direction. They say the 2km races are a sweeps race, but these conditions definitely kept our sweeps on their toes and they performed marvellously.
In between races, we relaxed to tunes on the bluetooth speaker. Kiera decided that it was hard work being stretched out on the ground, and enlisted the help of the team to put on her additional layers of clothing without leaving the comfort of the ground. And Hammer? Well, he redeemed himself but bring a hammer and nailing our tent firmly to the ground so it didn’t end up on the lake.
Kiera and Acaia chased around virtually every puppy they saw for pats, and they were not disappointed by the calibre of dogs that Jindabyne had on offer. Did they boop the snoot of the fluffiest doggo there? Yeah they did. And then they smashed out a stellar race straight after in the ladies race.
The womens crew was serenaded by Sandi singing “Summer Holiday” through the Cox Box as she guided the boat through the waves and back into the loading dock, which hardly proved to be a challenge. If there’s one thing we love as Komodos, it’s a challenge.
We had brilliant results across the board, and were rewarded with some beautiful bling to add to our collection. After that, a weary group of Komodo made their way back to Canberra. What an adventure!
The main takeaways fro Jindabyne were simple. As a crew, we were getting stronger by the minute. We perform well under pressure and there’s not a challenge that we will ever shy away from. It was a great weekend with an even better bunch of people with a million stories to tell. Now …. Who is excited for Nationals?!