Paddler Information

Paddler Role

As a support paddler, your role is to:

Keep your swimmer/s on course
Even slightly raised seas can make it difficult to see where to go. Paddlers should stay parallel to the support boat as the skipper is keeping to the most direct line (the swimmer should stay parallel to the paddler). Your swimmer may prefer you to be very close to guide them so they don’t have to keep looking up and ahead to see where they are going.

Communicate as needed
This can include giving updates on the swimmer’s progress and relaying information from the skipper and support crew. Swimmers will also have messages and requests for crew on the support boat that you are in a better position to pass on.

Watch for potential health issues
It is essential to continuously assess the physical and mental condition of your swimmer/s throughout the event. You will be able to most easily see if something is wrong. Asking the swimmer simple questions is one way to assess them (e.g., confusion or forgetfulness is a sign that there could be a problem).

Keep swimmers safe from other vessels on the water
Your paddle craft is an indication to other vessels that there is a swimmer close by. For that reason, make sure that you can see your swimmer at all times and stay by their side.

Keep swimmers fed and hydrated
Paddlers of Ultramarathon and Solo swimmers must ensure that swimmers receive adequate food and hydration in accordance with their pre-race plan.

Be positive
Your support and encouragement cannot be understated; you help keep the swimmer/s moving forward to the finish line.

Paddler Preparation

Practice ahead of race day
Paddling in open water can be challenging; it is essential that paddlers practice in all conditions prior to event day.

Make your setup comfortable
Paddlers should ensure that the paddle craft setup is comfortable and familiar. A wider and sturdier craft is preferable to a long, slim craft made for racing. Toppling from the craft may happen, so valuable items should be stored in waterproof bags and tied down.

Check your equipment
Vessels should be thoroughly checked for seaworthiness before event day. Bungs and cap seals should be checked.

Study the course and review race procedures
Familiarise yourself with the course, review the event day schedule and start/finish line procedures, and read through race day planning to ensure that you know what to expect on race day. It is recommended to read the Event Rules.

Paddler Tips

Know your swimmer/s
Practice paddling alongside your swimmer. Get to know their style and stroke so you can easily identify them. Discuss with your swimmer/s which side they would prefer you to paddle on and any hand signals you will use.

Be able to wet exit & get back into your craft
Practice falling out and getting back into your paddle craft to ensure you can do so if required on event day. If you are supporting an Ultramarathon or Solo swimmer, they will not be able to help you back onto your craft.

Know the feed plan
Paddlers for Ultramarathon and Solo swimmers should discuss and familiarise yourself with the swimmer’s feed plan and how they prefer to be fed. Food can be passed to them by hand or using a pole with a bucket attached to the end, while liquids can be shared by throwing a bottle that is attached to a rope.

Know the changeover plan and procedures
Paddlers for Duos and Teams should discuss the timing of changeovers and overall time plan for each swimmer.

Make a plan to find your Ultramarathon, Solo, or starting swimmer
Make a race day plan of where you are going to meet your swimmer off the beach and what to do if you can’t immediately find each other.

If your swimmer has lost direction, a good way to get them back onto the correct course line is to lift your paddle and point it in the correct direction.

Things to Know on Race Day

Paddler start
Paddlers must leave the shore only from the designated paddle craft departure points located on the northern and southern sides of the start channel. Paddlers must observe and follow their swimmer’s allocated wave start time.

Note: Paddlers must not be dropped off by their support boat within 1000m of the shore.

Meeting your swimmer
Paddlers can meet their swimmer somewhere between the 500m and 1000m marks. There are two white buoys at the northern and southern sides of the 500m mark. Paddlers can arrange to meet their swimmer at either side of the paddle craft zone.

Meeting your support boat
Paddlers and swimmers together have between 1000m and 1500m to meet their support boat. Paddlers and swimmers must not proceed past 1500m until they are together with their support boat.

Finish line approach
When approaching the finish line paddlers are to exit at the final 400 metre mark, unless supporting a 25km Ultramarathon or 19.7km Solo swimmer whereby paddlers are required to support their swimmer to shore. Solo 19.7km swimmers without a paddler can swim the final 400 metres on their own as there is a water safety team in place at this point.

Post event recovery
After the event, paddlers are welcome to join swimmers in the recovery area. To access the recovery area, paddlers must be wearing the wrist band supplied in the competitor briefing bag.

25km Paddlers

5km loop
The support boat must not accompany the 25km swimmer around the 5km loop; this is solely the role of the paddler.

Swimmer nutrition
Paddlers should consider providing their swimmer nutrition and fluids before meeting their support boat at the 1000m (from shore) buoy after completing the 5km loop.

Water entrance
We recommend 25km paddlers enter the water from the northern side of the start line.

Meeting point
The ‘Ultramarathon paddle craft holding zone’ is the designated meeting point for 25km paddlers to meet their swimmers. This is located on the ocean side of the 25km red colour ‘turn buoy 1 & 3’. Paddlers are advised to collect their swimmer after the first turn and accompany the swimmer around the 5km loop.

Paddler Checklist