While the Australian paddlers had set the pace all week, when it came to big dance – the 27 km endurance race the Shaw and Partners DOCTOR from Rottnest Island to Perth’s Sorrento beach – it was the South Africans who came through to blitz the field today and take a clean sweep of the male podium; while paddling supremo Kiwi Danielle McKenzie won the women’s DOCTOR.
With 20 knot plus winds putting the best surf paddling skills to the test, world champion, 27-year-old Kenny Rice took the prized victory in a 1h36.26s with his fellow Sth Africans, Mark Keeling and Uli Hart crossing just seconds behind, to seal the podium for the Saffas.
Rice, who won the 2022 World Ocean Ski championship in Portugal in September, took $8000 for the win and the glory of winning his first Doctor trophy. The victory has escaped Rice several times, his best previous to today’s win, a 2nd in 2014.
“There wasn’t a lot of paddles down for the first 10 k. It was hectic, but I felt really comfortable. After such a terrible week of result I’m pretty stocked,” said Rice.
“This morning we were trying to nut out how to beat the Aussies. Cory and Tom had been so dominant all week. But to come through for a clean sweep was awesome and puts a happy spin to the week for us.
“I got some great runners coming in and they carried me through to the beach and there we go Saffas one, two, three,” said Rice.
In the women’s DOCTOR, it was all Kiwi Danielle McKenzie. While her arch-rival, Jemma Smith from the NSW Central Coast started strong to win the Hot Shot 1km from the Thomson’s Bay start, 28-year-old McKenzie soon assumed control and broke away, relishing in the wave action whipped up by the 20 knot plus winds.
Masterful McKenzie cut the tape in 1h48.36s, with Smith 2nd in 1h50.36s and USA young talent, the 20-year-old Ana Swetish coming home third (1h50.42s) – an impressive performance for her first Doctor.
“So much fun out there today crossing the channel. Just surfing the waves, hooting along. Just loved it. Didn’t see too many people around me, so I just powered on and came home and won the one that counts,” said McKenzie, who’s win today backs up her victory in 2019 (the last time the Doctor was held, and gives her a perfect score card for her two Doctor appearances.
First Australian home in men’s racing was Australian endurance paddler Cory Hill from the Gold Coast, who crossed fourth – and with his solid results from earlier in the week (1, 3, 2, 15) his placing was enough to see him crowned the ultimate champion for WA Race Week and win $15 000 in prize money.
The other stand-out paddler of the week, Tom Norton from the Gold Coast, came home 8th in the Doctor and took 2nd overall in the WA Race Week tally after his two wins, 2nd and a 10th earlier in Race Week.
Rice and McKenzie picked up $8000 each for their DOCTOR wins, and McKenzie added $15 000 to her prize haul for winning WA Race Week bringing her week winnings to well over $23 000. Rice finished third in the WA Race Week standings.
Rice’s effort today missed out on smashing Hill’s race record. It still stands (a 1h33.20 s time set in 2017), and McKenzie still holds Doctor record (1h47.16s) which she set in 2019.
The SAFFAS take the big one winning The Shaw and Partners DOCTOR with a clean podium sweep.
1. Kenny Rice. (SA). 1h35.26s
2’. Mark Keeling (SA). 1h35.33s
3. Uli Hart (SA). 1h35.35 s
4. Cory Hill. (aus). 1h36.30s
5. Josh Fenn (SA) 1h37.16s
Kiwi Danielle McKenzie wins the 2022 Shaw and Partners DOCTOR. Two Doctors – two victories (2022 and 2019) for the paddling supremo. Today’s women’s results
1. Danielle McKenzie (NZ). 1h48.36s
2. JEmma Smith ( Aus). 1h50.36 s
3. Ana Swetish (USA). 1h50.42s
4. Michelle Burn. ( Sth Africa) 1 hr52.21
5. Hannah Sculley (Aus). 1h54.15s
SHAW AND PARTNERS WA RACE WEEK RESULTS