The Shaka is a great fun event held each year at Wedge Island (2 hrs north of Perth) organised by SUPWA. It includes a Longboard Surf SUP Comp and a Tech Race. The event is designed to be more of a fun participation event rather than a full-on competition.
The event uses a 2-day window on the nominated weekend, with the best day chosen for competition.
The format for the surfing involves all competitors surfing twice with no knockout rounds. From that scores are tallied up to decide on winners for each division. Generally, the boards used are 10ft, but some flexibility is allowed on length or loan boards are available.
The Tech Race is for those people who love a bit of racing and love testing themselves paddling race boards in the surf zone. A lap of the race course goes out, around and in through the surf zone with a short beach run, which is then repeated 3 times. Tech training sessions are run weekly in the metro area for anyone interested (info via SUPWA Facebook page).
2021 Shaka SUP Competition
The 2021 Shaka went down on Saturday the 17th of April, running from 8am to 4pm. The weather and surf conditions on Saturday were ideal. Beautiful sunny weather, crystal clear water and plenty of waves for everyone.
Despite a small swell, the waves were a really good size, coming in around the waist to shoulder high range. The beach break waves that were on offer are very user friendly and ideally suited to longboard style surfing. It was easy to get out into the lineup with nice long rides on offer.
Open men’s winner (and Stand Up Surf Shop staff member), Sam McCullough showed off some classic nose riding and sharp turns to impress the judges for the win.
“I love this event,” Sam commented. “It’s not an event where you get really nervous. You get two heats but it just feels like you’re going for a normal surf and having a good time. The community is really good for that event. Everyone is super friendly and every skill level is welcome. Even people that are beginners can join in.”
Zanny Wilson took out the women’s surf event from Amanda Griffiths with some stylish nose riding and good flow between turns.
Stand Up Surf Shop owner Mike Galvin was impressive in the over 50’s men. He rode his much loved Starboard Whopper with style, getting up on the nose and hitting a few lips.
Shaka Tech Race
The swell and wind made the the racing quite a hard and wet race for many competitors. But it was great for the spectators!
Sam McCullough backed up his win in the surf competition, crediting staying on the board as a key factor in winning the race. “You’re on big 14 foot race boards in waves, having to turn them around inside the white water. It’s hard to spin the board around and not fall in.”
Jade Lane didn’t let Zanny take out the double and worked hard for the win in the women’s race.
The Shaka Community
The event is very much a family friendly event with lots of people bringing their kids up for the day. The competition area is based right on the beach so 4WD or SUV vehicles were required, but ride sharing was available for those who weren’t able to drive on the beach. The photos say it all with a great crew all parked up along the beach, surfing, picnicking, and kids mucking around in and out of the water.
The paddlers involved were a mixture of dedicated surf SUPers, racers and purely recreational paddlers who had never participated in a competitive event before. If you’re interested in doing some surfing and hanging out in an amazingly beautiful coastal location with others from WA’s SUP community then give this event a try.
SUP Surf Results
Open Men’s – 1st Sam McCullough, 2nd Daniel JJ, 3rd Ben De Chaneet, 4th Damian England.
Open Women’s – 1st Zanny Wilson, 2nd Amanda Griffiths, 3rd Jade Lane, 4th Angela JJ.
Over 50/s Men – 1st Mike Galvin, 2nd Crawford Olney, 3rd Jamie Ralston, 4th Chris Twomey.
Tech Race Results
Men – 1st Sam McCullough, 2nd Damian England, 3rd Kane DeGrauw, 4th Crawford Olney.
Women – 1st Jade Lane, 2nd Zanny Wilson, 3rd Tashka Goswell, 4th Chloe Walkerdene.
Graeme Bland, Noni Wells, Chloe Walkerdene, Kane Degrauw and a bunch of kids 😊
Article kindly written by Crawford Olney, President of SUPWA (Stand Up Paddle WA).