LAST year, he was expected to win but was upstaged by fellow veteran Clint Robinson.
Always a gracious competitor, Dean Gardiner accepted it wasn’t his day and moved on.
The 46-year-old went away and devised a plan on how he can go one better. Heading into Sunday’s annual surf-ski world championship at Molokai Channel, the evergreen paddler is chasing an unprecedented 10th title.
He believes intense training sessions with Michael Clues and Cam Middleton has him ready to fire in Hawaii.
“I am happy with my preparation; I can’t see why I won’t be one of the main contenders,” Gardiner said this week.
“Working with those two guys has been fantastic; we have pushed each other to the limit in every session. They are also competing; I expect them to go well.”
Gardiner set the original race record in 1994 across the famous channel over 54km.
He lowered it in 1997 and has watched countless rivals fail to usurp his place in history since that moment.
A blinding 3:21:26 still has elite paddlers lost for words.
It may have been last century, but the Collaroy father insists he can go even quicker.
“The conditions should suit me, but I will need to get in my stride early,” he said.
“From what I’ve been told the course is a little shorter (so) … I’ll have to be on my toes. I can’t let some of the guys get out in front early. It is a real test of character, and along with the Doctor (in Perth) this is my favourite race.”
Gardiner expects Robinson to again be his main challenger, and also believes one-time Queenscliff SLSC member Jeremy Cotter will be around when it matters.
Star Advertiser – Friday 13th May 2011
Molokai World Championships website. Click here.