The 2011 Island Shamaal Mauritius Ocean Classic is on this Saturday 2nd July. There is a huge field of international competitors who have spent the lead up week in Mauritius enjoying the ideal downwind paddling conditions. Check out the official race website http://www.mauritiusoceanclassic.com
26 aussie competitors have headed over including Jeremy Cotter, Bruce Taylor, Dean Gardiner , Mark Anderson and Dean Beamont.
Check out last years race here.
Oceanpaddler’s Dean Gardiner is in Mauritius and give us the run down.
When staying on an exotic Island in a first class resort it’s pretty hard to get your mind around racing a ski for 20 odd kilometres.
Out front we have a lagoon with fringing reef collecting swell from the deepest parts of the Indian Ocean. The beach is raked by the resort staff and there is not leaf out of place on the groomed plant life that decorates the grounds outside our rooms.
The rooms in this place are a lot better than the accommodations you find on your average paddling trip, in fact I have never slept as well as I do when I am here. What does wake me sometimes is the sound of a new swell hitting the reef which at times seems like it’s just outside my room.
Croissants and home made jam
Each morning after checking the swell we make the daily pilgrimage to the restaurant to stuff our faces with the delights of a thousand different foods backed up by real coffee. Every now and again you think about the upcoming races here, that thought dissipates with another round of fresh croissants and homemade jam.
The event organizers have ticked all the boxes with this race. The only thing that is beyond their control is the weather.
At present conditions are looking a little weak, but unlike other races the organizers have the flexibility to change times, courses and distances to suit. Not that it bothers us if the race is held up we will just put down another double espresso and jam croissant.
Strong line up
The line up is looking pretty strong. Mocke, Cotter, Taylor and I think Matty B but I haven’t seen him yet. Throw in Pretorius, Lewis, Tom S and Anderson and it looks like there will be some pretty good racing up front.
If the wind is up don’t discount Dean Beament and another West Australian Will “tiger woods” Bird.
I my eyes the in calmer conditions the race upfront will be a Cotter/Mocke battle. Any hint of wind Tom S, Pretorius and Taylor come into the fray and good wind could be anyone’s.
Mocke has been the most consistent very rarely outside the top three in any ocean race over the last couple of years.
Cotter has had a huge break not racing since The Doctor in January. He looks fit and knowing him as I do will be pretty keen to amend his poor performance in Perth.
Today will feature the shorter Sporty’s lead up race. Conditions predicted are light to moderate winds.
Given the conditions only the very keen will be going for title but all will be on the line.