As a support paddler in the Port to Pub, your role is to:
- Guide your swimmer(s) and take responsibility for their safety
- Relay information between the skipper/support crew and your swimmer(s)
- Maintain a positive and encouraging demeanour
- Continue to assess the physical and mental condition of your swimmer(s) throughout the event; asking them simple questions is a good way to do this
- Keep your swimmer(s) on course – even slightly raised seas can make it difficult for swimmers to see where they are going
- Paddlers for solo swimmers will need to feed their swimmer by passing food over or using a pole with a bucket attached to it. You can give them liquids by throwing them a bottle attached to a rope. Have a nutrition run sheet worked out with your support crew and swimmer.
- Watch the Paddler Briefing Video
Tips for before and during the event:
- Find out which side your swimmer(s) would prefer you to paddle on
- Consider ways to signal to your swimmer(s) as they may not be able to hear your instructions very easily
- During the event, the paddler should stay parallel to the boat, which the skipper will be keeping on the most direct line. The swimmer should stay parallel to the kayak. Your skipper should also inform you of landmarks that the team is aiming towards.
- A good way to get your swimmer back on the correct line if they have lost direction, and your kayak is also off direction, is to lift the paddle and point it in the direction of where you want them to go.
- Make sure you can see the swimmer at all times. Stay by their side and make sure other support boats know there is a swimmer by your side. Your swimmer may prefer you to be very close by and guide them, so they don’t have to keep looking up and ahead to see where they’re going.
- Have a plan of where you will meet your swimmer and support boat at the designated collection point(s).
- Practice paddling alongside your swimmer. Get to know their style and stroke so you can easily identify them.
- Having a plan and constant communication is the key to providing your swimmer(s) with the best experience.
- Review and familiarise yourself with the course ahead of time.
Things to Know on Race Day
- Paddlers must leave the shore only from the designated paddle craft departure points located on the south and northern sides of the start channel. Paddlers must observe and follow their swimmer’s allocated wave start time.
- Paddlers can meet their swimmers somewhere between the 500m and 1000m mark.
- There are two white buoys at the 500m mark at the north and the south side. Paddlers can arrange to meet their swimmer at either the north or south side of the paddle craft zone.
- Paddlers must not be dropped off by their support boat within 1000m of the shore.
- Paddlers and swimmers together have between 1000m and 1500m to meet their support boat.
- Paddlers must not proceed past 1500m (the TAMS tugboat) until swimmer, paddler and support boat are together.
- After the event, all paddlers are welcome to join swimmers in the recovery area. You will need to wear the wrist band supplied in the briefing bag for access to this area.
We recommend paddlers for the 25km ultra-marathon enter the water from the north side of the start line.
25km paddlers have a designated meeting point to collect their swimmer ‘Ultra-Marathon Paddle craft holding zone’. This is located on the ocean side of the ‘25km turn buoy 1&3’ (see map). Paddlers are advised to collect their swimmer after the first turn and accompany their swimmer around the 5km loop. You should consider providing all swimmer nutrition/fluids before meeting up with the support boat at the 1000m from shore buoy after the 5km loop (two large green buoys).
Support boats must not accompany 25km ultra-marathon swimmers around the 5km loop; this is solely the paddlers’ role.
What to Wear
Your choice of clothing and accessories is an important element for a safe and comfortable day:
- It is most important that you fully protect yourself from the sun
- Wear bright colours or something distinctive so the first swimmer and support boat can easily find you at the start
- A large, wide-brimmed hat
- Zinc and sunscreen
- Long sleeved rash vest or shirt
- Board shorts or leggings/wetsuit if cold
- Sunglasses (have a strap if possible)
- Camel back or water bottle – you will need to drink plenty of fluid on the day
- Enjoy the day!