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Spithill not so oarsome

CATHERINE MURRAY AND PETER ELEY
Last updated 07:36 17/12/2013
Spithill

PADDLE POWER: Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill gives stand-up paddling his all off Takapuna Beach.

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He might have dashed our hopes in the America's Cup but Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill didn't do so well when he tried his hand at stand-up paddleboarding off Takapuna Beach.

Spithill made an impromptu appearance in the State Beach Series, also sponsored by the North Shore Times, this month.

"He's very much a mid pack kind of guy when it comes to this," beach series organiser Scott Rice says.

"He struggled in the choppy waters and fell off at one of the turns."

The 34-year-old Aussie took the opportunity to join more than 500 participants running, swimming and paddling on Takapuna Beach while back here on holiday.

"I was driving on the North Shore the day of the race and saw a sign for the State Beach Series," Spithill says. "I rang a mate of mine, Annabel Anderson, and she said ‘let's do it' and she supplied a board for me."

The family-friendly atmosphere is one of the drawcards of the State Beach Series, says Spithill, whose friends Simon Daubney and Matty Mason have children competing.

"I love the fact that there are so many kids involved.

"Kiwis are known as active people who love the outdoors, and doing things as a family and with their mates."

Spithill competed in the State Beach Series a couple of years ago, but no-one really knew who he was back then, Rice says.

This time around, he was was greeted really well by his fellow beach series competitors, he says.

"He chatted to people, had his photo taken with the kids and stayed behind for a beer.

"He really blended in as one of the crowd, although some people didn't know whether to say hello or keep their distance."

Spithill says he has a bit more time to devote to his stand-up paddling, and plans to do more training in the next few months.

"I have some gear that I'm excited about.

"In February I'll team up with Kai Lenny [stand-up paddle World Champion] at an event in the US Virgin Islands - I can't wait!" he says.

Go to beachseries.co.nz to find out more and to enter.The series breaks for five weeks after today's event and then restarts for nine events on Tuesday, January 21.

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- North Shore Times

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