Dowling reflects on sawing history at Sydney Royal Easter Show
Bobby Dowling is crediting Academy Southland for helping him secure a rare ‘triple crown’ of world sawing titles at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
It’s understood the Southlander may be just the third person to achieve the feat, taking out the single saw, double-handed saw and Jack and Jill events in Sydney, which is considered the Wimbledon of woodchopping.
Compatriot Jason Wynyard, with Dowling partnering in the double, and Australian bushcraft legend David Foster (seven times) are previous triple crown champions.
“I was pretty pumped to be talked about in the same breath as those guys,” Dowling said.
Despite heading over to the Easter Show as the defending champion in both the single and Jack and Jill, along with Christchurch’s Raewyn Windley, Dowling was anything but confident.
A year frustrated by illness and injury had left him struggling for form and fitness.
“I was going over there thinking that I’d need a lot of luck on my side to win it, and that a medal would be a great result,” Dowling said.
“I was second in my heat in the single saw. I knew I had the cut in me, but I had to unleash. I ended up having a great cut, the gear I had this year was cutting really well and I ended up taking it out.”
Heading into the final, Dowling was able to draw on advice received through Academy Southland, particularly from Academy manager Jason McKenzie.
“Talking to someone like Jason, who knows every element of mental skills training, really helped. It was about staying calm going into the competition, keeping my cool when the pressure came on and handling nervousness,” Dowling said.
“I might not have won any of those titles this year if it weren’t for the help Jason and the rest of the Academy have given me because I’d been in a bit of a lull period this year. Five minutes before the event I thought about the things I’d learnt from Jason and it really changed my mindset. That was definitely the difference between winning and losing that race.”
While defending his two world titles from the previous year was a significant achievement, taking out the double-handed saw was close to miraculous.
Dowling headed to Sydney without a sawing partner and only linked up with Tasmanian Brad Turner two days before the competition. Most of the combinations they were up against had been together for years, if not decades. It’s believed to be the first time a last-minute pairing has claimed the world title.
“Usually, a pairing would need to be sawing together for three or four years before you could have a serious crack at a world title. We just went out there, adjusted on the fly and came away with some great results. Brad is a fantastic sawyer and it was great to a pair up with him.”
The connection was even more special considering Turner has been providing Dowling with the Tuatahi-manufactured cross-cut saws he has used to win both of his single saw world titles.
Life is about to change dramatically for Dowling, who has spent the past five years, four as manager, with dispatch company Log Logistics in Kennington.
He finishes up this week before joining Trimble Forest Logistics in South Australia, the largest independent dispatch operation in Australia.
“I’m quite excited about the opportunity and there’s quite a lot of woodchopping and sawing in the local area. It’s going to really help me to build on my hardwood sawing techniques, because we just can't access that hardwood over here.
“It will also help get my chopping more up to speed as well, because I want to build that up now that my sawing is going so well,” Dowling said.
“I’m a Southland boy through and through. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly, especially with all the support I’ve had over the past couple of years since getting back into competing - the Academy has been a fantastic help, and the public voting for me for the People’s Choice award at the (2018 ILT Southland) Sports Awards. That was an incredible feeling know that the province was behind me in that way.”