How will I meet up with my support paddler at the start line?
We have 12 waves of swimmers which are split into 3 groups (we call them “pods”). The Pods are as follows: Pod One: Waves 1, 2, 3 & 4; Pod Two: Waves 5, 6, 7 & 8; and Pod Three: Waves 9, 10, 11 & 12. Each wave is separated by 2 minutes and each Pod is separated by 10-15 minutes. The reason for this will be evident shortly. We also now have three waiting areas separated by large platforms for support craft, one for each Pod of waves. So, Area One will contain support craft for Pod One (waves 1, 2, 3, & 4), Area Two will contain support craft for Pod Two (waves 5, 6, 7, & 8), and Area Three will contain support craft for Pod Three (waves 9, 10, 11 & 12). The entire system will break down if your support paddler does not know what wave you are in so it is imperative they knows your wave number! On each platform will be a volunteer that will direct your support paddler to where they need to go.
The flow works like this: In the Start Line Corral, swimmers with support craft should be along the southern edge of the start box. This allows you to be closer to Area One and make eye contact with your support paddler. We encourage your support paddler to wear something unique to make them stand out. Balloons, a large hat, a brightly coloured shirt, anything that will make it easier for you to find them. You all look the same with swim caps on, so you need to be able to spot your paddler, as it will be more difficult for them to spot you. Being at the southern edge of the Start Line Corral will make it easier.
It is advisable to decide on a game plan before you start such as “let’s meet up in front of platform two” or “let’s meet up 30 feet from the start”. This way, you both know where you will meet ahead of time. When you start your swim, your support paddler will move from Area One into the Meet Up Area, and paddle to your pre-determined meet up location. You’ll swim to that location and meet up with your support paddler who will continue with you on your swim.
Once the first Pod has started, there will be a 10-12 minute break while the next group of support craft paddles to the next area (this break also allows the lifeguards and power boats to sweep back and watch the next pod). So, support craft in Area One will be gone, support craft in Area Two will now move to Area One, and support craft in Area Three will move into Area Two. The process is repeated after each pod of waves have started. See how this works?
This new system will make it much easier for you to meet up with your support paddler. Instead of staring into a huge open area full of hundreds of kayaks, canoes and SUP’s, you’ll now only need to look for your support paddler in one smaller area with far fewer support craft. You’ll also be able to meet up with your support paddler in a designated area instead of swimming all over trying to meet. We think this will drastically improve your swimming experience right from the start.
It is much easier for you to find your support paddler than your paddler to find you! Once you in the water, you look like every other swimmer with a cap on. Do not rely on your support paddler trying to find you!
To make your support paddler stand out, we suggest attaching something to their craft such as a balloon or flag (we like the Dora balloon). Another idea is for them to wear a big, funky hat or a brightly coloured cap or a bright jacket or shirt over their PFD.
DO NOT ATTACH ANYTHING TO YOURSELF! You'll just get yourself and others all tangled up.
Here's some actual examples: