Nipper carnival chaos
THE regional nipper carnival hosted by Waratah Bay Surf Life Saving Club was turned into a debacle when organisers Life Saving Victoria moved the location of the carnival twice on Sunday.
Wild surf, large dumping waves, a strong south westerly, and a high tide predicted for the start of events had organisers from Life Saving Victoria in a quandary as to where to hold beach and water events.
A difficult decision was made to move events from Sandy Point to Waratah Bay beach in the hope the surf conditions there would be slightly better. Later a second move, this time to Shallow Inlet, proceeded due to continued rough conditions at Waratah Bay beach.
The organisers decided to hold all beach events including the flags events, beach sprint and relays and the m-wave events at Waratah Bay before deciding whether to proceed with the water events.
The move created massive upheaval for the host club with catering arrangements all in place for Sandy Point as well as a number of “port-aloos” which would now be left idle. All visiting clubs from Portsea, Mornington, Point Leo, Sorrento, Seaspray and Lakes Entrance to name a few had to drive their vehicles and associated boards and gear from Sandy Point to Waratah Bay.
The Waratah Bay community has never seen so many cars along the front road, Gale Street, stretching halfway to the Gap.
Events were delayed by some time so organisers could set up and visiting clubs could assemble their teams and gear.
After the beach events, organisers decided that water conditions were still too dangerous so a second relocation was initiated with all clubs this time up and moving to Shallow Inlet for the water events. The first traffic jam in Waratah Bay’s history ensued with vehicles backed-up up from Sandy Point Road to The Gap as vehicles moved for a second time.
In the end little more than the Iron Nipper events took place with most other events abandoned. Some clubs had driven their nippers for 4-6 hours there and back with quite a number not competing in a single event for the day. Many others stood around for up to eight hours without competing.
A number of people have questioned whether it was prudent to relocate twice and not just bite the bullet and leave all events at Sandy Point in the first place.
The club is expected to make a loss on the carnival and may choose not to host the events again in future. In addition to this the Sandy Point General Store and the cafe was expecting a roaring trade and had geared up with extra staff and food but this too was greatly affected.
There is expected to be a review of the day to determine what went wrong and how better to handle the carnival next time.
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