Cracker Jack ready to race
Self-employed mother of two Jaclyn Nicholl has taken her passion and turned it into a personal challenge as she contests Australia's fastest downwind race the Stand Up Surf Shop King of the Cut on Saturday (3 December).
Jaclyn, who has been an avid fan of Stand Up Paddle (SUP) for six years, will be Karratha's first competitor in the five-year history of the King of the Cut.
Arguably the most prestigious event in Australia, the Stand Up Surf Shop King of the Cut held in Mandurah in the state's south west has a total prize pool of $17,350, making it the largest prize purse for an SUP event in the country.
It's not money that has motivated Jaclyn, but rather the personal challenge and development opportunity to learn and bring that knowledge and experience back to Karratha.
"I've been attracted to the idea of competing at the King of the Cut for a while and this year I just decided it was time, I wanted to have that goal to work towards," the 35-year-old said.
"To be able to compete in an event of this calibre alongside the world's best downwind SUP competitors will be an amazing experience and I hope to pave the way for others in the Pilbara to take up SUP and compete."
SUPWA Vice President Roger Goodwin said that 70 per cent of competitors at the King of the Cut would be travelling to Mandurah from overseas, interstate or, like Jaclyn, intrastate.
"It's so great that Jaclyn is making the effort to travel and compete - it gives her the opportunity to rub shoulders with world's best. Her passion for the sport is evident and it's awesome she's able to build her experience and share the stoke of SUP with Pilbara locals," Roger said.
In June, Jaclyn established the first Pilbara SUPWA Pod - a sanctioned training group under the Association of Stand Up Paddle Sports in Western Australia that supports members to compete in SUP events.
"As a mum to two children under five years old, SUP gives me an amazing head space - it really helps with stress, it's cured me from anxiety issues, it's time away from chores and importantly, it makes me feel calm. That connection to the water - to be out in the water is very important to me and who I am."
Owner of Cracker Jack Paddle Sports, the Pilbara's only Surfing WA affiliated SUP school, time on the ocean is part of Jaclyn's lifestyle.
Jaclyn is one of the most qualified ocean sports instructors in Western Australia. A career in Outdoor Recreation spanning 15 years, Jaclyn has instructed groups on the water in all conditions in many remote and isolated regions in the world.
"The best thing about SUP in the Pilbara is that no matter what the wind is doing, there's always somewhere you can go to SUP - whether it's on the coast or around one of the 40 archipelago islands - it's the perfect sport for the Pilbara."
King of the Cut will attract about 130 top local, interstate and international SUP competitors including Booth and other high profile professionals, such as 7-time Champion Surf Lifesaving Ironwoman Karla Gilbert OAM and Olympic Gold Medallist and Women's National Marathon SUP Champion Belinda Stowell-Brett.
The headline event for West Oz Downwind Week, the Stand Up Surf Shop King of the Cut, will be held on 3 December (or Sunday 4 December, two-day window for optimal conditions).
The optimal weather conditions namely the powerful and consistent "Fremantle Doctor" sea breeze makes this fast event a favourite with SUP racers.
Spectators are invited to watch competitors start the race at Dawesville Cut and to cheer them across the finishing line at Secret Harbour. Entry is free.
For further information, visit kingofthecut.com or supwa.com.au