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Protection in paradise

Paddling past Point Perpendicular

Reporting on adventure racing around the world takes me to some amazing places, and they often have extreme climates of one kind or another which are difficult to work in – but not always. For the 2016 Adventure Racing World Championship, I was in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales in Australia and had to endure the bright sunshine, surf-washed white sand beaches and sub-tropical forests that the teams were racing through! 

The race covered some 600km of the region over 8 days, with teams paddling on the ocean and rivers, mountain biking in forests and trekking across mountain ranges.

The race start
The race is about to begin

Temperatures ranged from low teens to low 30’s, which was pleasant enough much of time, but it was cold some nights, the winds were strong and the sun dangerous if you didn’t take care. It was one of those very rare times I didn’t reach for my Velez Adventure Smock as the first thing to pack – this time I didn’t need to be warm and rainproofed, I needed to be comfortable in the heat and protected from the sun. And I was.

The race starts in Australia
And they’re off…..

The Summer Cap was worn all the time and was much lighter than my previous caps, so comfy to wear as well as covering the ears and neck which are prone to sunburn even if you’ve slathered on the suncream. The sun is so intense here. The same is true of the Katmai shirts, they were incredibly cool to wear in the heat, kept that harmful UV out, and deterred insects too. There were a lot of flies, plenty of them the biting kind, especially around the water, but I had 2 advantages: one was the Parameta A fabric I was wearing – and the other was that the racers were pretty smelly and attracted most of the flies!

US team Adventure Medical Kits
US team Adventure Medical Kits on the mountain bike leg of the race

It did get cool at times and the Halcon Traveller jacket came out of my pack. The big pockets were great for stuffing lenses, notebooks and water bottles into and I can see me using this as a regular jacket for photography shoots in a much wider range of temperatures then I experienced in Australia. Maui trousers and shorts were as practical for storage, sun protection and insect deterrent too, though it was shorts weather most of the time.

The course went through stunning Australian scenery
The course went through stunning Australian scenery

I often had to wade into the water to get the best shooting angle and they dried off really quickly so I didn’t need to bother about getting wet as I looked for teams in the mangroves round the coastal inlets. (I wondered if they have water snakes but figured if the racers were in there it was probably OK …)

Rob Howard reporting on the Adventure Race World Championship, Shoalhaven, Australia
Rob Howard reports on the Adventure Race World Championship, Shoalhaven, Australia

Coming back to a UK winter is going to be a shock, and I’ll  pack away much of this kit for a while, but if I have to work in warmer climates again or if the sun comes out, then so will the Páramo warm weather clothing.

Rob Howard
Editor-in-Chief – destination website for adventure racing & endurance sports worldwide.

Rob wore:
Summer Cap
Katmai Shirts
Maui Trousers
Maui Shorts
Halcon Traveller

Find out more about the AR World Championships here and see Rob’s reports from the race here

All images ©Rob Howard

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