Race Report 2012
2012 Race report written by Joe Glickman for SurfSki.info
The Doctor Womens Race written by Di Arnott for SurfSki.info
Race Report 2011
written by Dean Gardiner.
The Doctor once again lived up to its reputation providing a classy field with a nice downwind and a fun weekend of racing.
This year though the event was stretched out to incorporate over a week of paddling races and bring the very best from a range of different facets of paddle sports together in one location and race a variety of different paddling disciplines.
The week started with 200 meters sprints on some of the flat water venues around Perth. Some of the countries top exponents in the sprint events were on hand along with quite a few of the visiting ocean paddlers.
The events were a huge success and a great introduction to the upcoming week of ocean events.
The load out
Leading into the event the logistics of the event became the key concern for us. In the past we had had numbers of around 100 for the race with last years jumping to just shy of 200. In the last few days leading into the race we already had well over 200 entered so we were expecting very close to 300 on the line at Rottnest.
The big question was how were we going to get all these craft to Rotto.
In the previous years we had enlisted the help of my family members and used cray fishing boats to transport the ski’s. With the demise of this industry in WA, they have all moved on to other maritime work, so the boats were not available.
The Rottnest Barge which keeps the island supplied with everything was available for charter so we took the punt hoping that this would be big enough to take the whole field to the island. Having done a few of these events we just need to work out the dimensions of the boat and how many paddle craft would fit into those numbers. With me being based in Sydney and the barge in Perth it required a little bit of maths and a whole bunch of guess work.
Next we needed something to put all the craft into/onto. Fortunately for us we have quite a few of the frames made by Keith Fenn to ship ski’s into Australia. We needed at least 6 which basicly means 6 x 35 being the number that can fit on each frame. So we had space on the barge for 6 frames and space in each frame for 35 ski’s, well skinny ski’s. We had additional space at the side of each frame for what I thought would be another 20-30 craft. The rest would have to go by private boat or ferry.
Friday before the race at around 2pm we started loading and hoped that the guess work was right.
A big contingent turned up to lend a hand to load which helped us get this monumental task across the line. A big thanks from us especially to those that stayed on and helped even after their craft was loaded. It was hot dirty work but your contribution helped immensely.
I lost count at around 220 as it was hard to count the piles of craft that were stacked, strapped, slid under and attached to the frames we had on board.
Just as we called it a day another 4 rolled up I looked to my old mate Tom Simmatt (who is always helping us with these things) and ironman legend Ken Vidler who was also helping out and said “Where the f&*% are we going to fit these” I mean that ,every available space on that barge was used. Tom ‘”Macgiver” improvised some more racking and the boats fitted on.
We quickly got into our cars and bolted before anyone else turned up. The load was done.
The ride to Rotto is always an interesting one as you look for the angles that will give you the best run back to the mainland later that day. My mind was on the load and just how secure each frame was. We only need one to collapse to bring the whole lot down.
As we drew near we entered the lee of the island and my worries about the load lessened. We pulled up alongside and started the unload.
Once again a huge task made a lot easier by those that had taken an early ferry over to help out. They included some of the top runners like Marty Kenny, Zane and Kirsty Holmes along with numerous others.
The beach space immediately in front of the jetty quickly filled with an assortment of craft. A huge contingent of curious onlookers milled around as the unload continued.
Soon after the second ferry arrived with a sea of red spilling down the gangway.
Preparations began on beach.
Conditions were favourable with the light SW wind building prior to the first start the SUPs. While not as strong as originally predicted the wind was definitely creating movement that would eventually lead to some decent chop out on the course.
The races started about half an hour later than scheduled to catch as much of the wind as possible. My good mate Muz Hughes stood in for me as Race Director so I could get on the line.
My other good mate Ash Nesbit got the three waves off to nice clean starts and it was on The Doctor 2011 was on its way.
The details of the race are documented in other write ups about the race so I am not going into that.
One thing I will comment on though is that I have never been so far behind in race after the first kilometre. The depth of talent that the race attracted this year was unbelievable. Those going for the ASN hotspot and the other leaders were going that fast that many top line paddlers were falling by the wayside.
The real race started once out of the protected waters of the island and for me at least it was fun all the way to the finish.
The race for first was as close as it gets as was third and fourth. For the next fifty places competitors averaged fifteen seconds between them.
For such a large number of participants there were few pull outs. While conditions were not ideal for the SUPs the majority made it to the line.
The Over 50s
While the event was huge success the one thing that has played on my mind since the race was how we overlooked the Over 50s in our race presentations. Some might say these guys haven’t got long left anyway but they are the 3rd biggest category in the event so definitely worth mentioning.
All jokes aside my humbl lest apologies for not having you guys an
d ladies in our presentations agenda. In all honesty you actually were there but for some reason that part of the presentation didn’t make it to Simon.
The full results of the 50s are here.
A big thanks to Nelo for making this part of the event possible.
This event was extremely close and came down to some of the smaller categories in the end. With $5k up for grabs it was a handy bonus for those that had won prize money and pleasant surprise for those that hadn’t.
In the end NSW and WA drew for first with Qld in third place. The points were issued as follows
- Tim Jacobs 1st open men 1 point
- Krystyl Smith 2nd open women 2 points
- Lauren Smith 1st under 20 women 1 point
- Michael Booth 1st under 20 men 1 point
Total 5 points
- Julie Jenkinson 1st O/40 Women 1 point
- Fernada Gray 1st SUP Women 1 point
- Brendan Rice 2nd U/20 men 2 points
- Dean Gardiner 1st O/40 Men 1 point
Total 5 points
- Bruce Taylor 2nd O/Men 2 points
- Paul Jackson 1st SUP 1 point
- Marty Kenny 2nd O/40 Men 2 points
- Bill Bain 3rd U/20 men 3 points
Total 8 points
I am sure that the prestige of the Nelo Teams Challenge will grow in future years.
In the end
The event was huge we were over the moon with the turn out and the number of participants. The competition was fierce but fun on and off the water (helped out greatly by copius amounts of Pure Blonde). The location is now set in stone. The Doctor will now always finish at Sorrento or nearby.
Having an accommodation sponsor like Sorrento Beach Resort makes things very easy when they are across the street from the finish. Pure Blonde as a beer sponsor makes the stuff off the water fun. The assistance from Sorrento SLSC made the race simple from a logistics point of view.
Who to thank
Obviously an event like this has some pretty big logistical and financial issues to overcome.
Eventscorp are the major contributor to this event. They have now been involved in the event for three years and to be quite honest it would be a lot lesser event without them. The contribution extends far from the actual days of the event. The TV component of the event is handled by Eventscorp as is large parts of the marketing and PR.
We are a pretty small team at Oceanpaddler. We are not an events company but feel our biggest contribution to the sport can be made through running these style of races. They are a huge drain on us both financially and in the time it takes to get each event off the ground. Yanda is the backbone of the company and spends hours dotting the Is and crossing the Ts in the background for the event as well as running the day to day operations of the business.
Sherene is responsible for organizing most of the nice fluffy stuff. Like the Pure Blonde, post event water, venues and various other components of the event. Along with looking after four very demanding boys, me being one them she is an integral part of the success of the event.
The beauty for me in going back to WA to organize a race is, firstly I get to go back to gods country, but more importantly and what has made this race become what it is today is the support we get from friends, family and just anyone associated with the sport in WA.
WA is unique in that it’s a place where everyone just has a go. The people don’t pigeon hole themselves into a certain sporting genres. They just do everything, yeah sure I will swim to Rottnest, yeah sure I will paddle down a river, no worries I will do a 3 hour adventure race.
There is an adventure spirit in WA that is rare to find in other parts of the country.
This flows over to the logistical side of an event also. For me I can ring up Muz, Ash, Dean Beament, Greg Mickle or Wade Kelly and ask a question can we do this?. The answer is don’t worry about it I will handle it for you. Sure enough it’s done and we don’t have to worry about it.
In most cases egos are left at the door and people are just people. You could be the Queen of England but you’re still going to help get the ski off the trailer.
Take for example Ken Vidler. This guy was my hero and a household name when I was growing up (until Greg Mickle came along), I wanted to be Ken Vidler. At the time he was the greatest ski paddler and Ironman in the country and if it was an international sport he would have been World Champ to.
Ken rings me and says “do you need any help for the race, I have my jet ski available”. For those that saw Rambo’s vision you can thank Ken for driving the jet ski and getting Rambo where he needed to be. Not only was Ken out on the water he was there at the massive load on the Friday and there to help out for the Aussie Day Challenge (The Nurse).
My old man is a classic. He has always been there at the events and is mostly in the background. Deaf as a door nail to the point where I have to yell at him to communicate, he is there from sun up to sundown helping out.
There are many more that help out with The Doctor and we thank all of you for making the event a great event.
Finn Kayaks Coastal Challenge
I love this race. It’s down the coast, easy to organize , it’s a team format and great downwind.
This year the FKCC lived up to its reputation as one of the best. Conditions were perfect everyone was coming of a high from the day before and we had an awesome line up of teams for the race.
The start at Fremantle was similar to the day before with Kenny Wallace leading the field out. Kens team was a line up paddling hotties Reece Baker, Ben Allan and David Smith. Close behind was Jeremy Cotter coming off a disappointing race the day before. Cotters line up was Caine and Shannon Eckstein this team using a strategic three man option.
The first change at Cottesloe saw Kenny’s team and Jezzas team almost neck and neck. Caine Eckstein took the lead to the halfway mark at City Beach. Close behind was the Saffa team consisting of Dawid and Jasper Mocke ,Matt Bouman and Tom Shillperort.
With Team Cotter opting for the three man option this meant that Shannon would be doing the entire second half of the race. Through the final change at Scarborough the current ironman champ held the lead with the Saffas now in second and Kennys team hanging on to third from the fast finishing team of Bruce Taylor and Nathan Smith.
Fifth across the line was Tim Bird and Brad Rogers. Further back in the field the battle for the mixed team was going on between Michelle Eray and Tim Jacobs V Kirsty and Zane Holmes. This came down to the wire with Jacobs and Eray backing up from their previous days wins.
Sorrento SLSC provided the venue for the weekend wrap up and warm up for The Session atthe OBH later that day.
Watch the Video of the FKCC. Click here.
Aussie Day Challenge (The Nurse)
Margaret River the very name conjures up images of sitting under a tree eating fresh crays and drinking some of the best red in the country. For the water person the South West is Disneyland. It has every ride and all the trimmings that anyone that has a liking for ocean activities would ever want.
So an obvious choice for our newest event on the program.
Earlier in the year big wave exponent Courtenay Gray had expressed interest in putting a race on in conjunction with The Doctor.
How good was this we have another reason to stay longer in WA and get to go south also. And further more someone that’s on deck in Margaret’s to get the event off the ground.
So there it was the foundation stones had been laid for what I think could become a monster on the race calendar in future years.
The day of the race saw a nice following swell of around two meters. 12-15 knots tailwinds and clear skies with crystal blue water.
The race itself was to start at Margaret River and run along the coast to Gracetown. Two iconic surf towns both of which would reveal their magic to the visitors the next day.
The field for the race was small but had some of the big guns taking part. In the SUPs NSWs Andy Davies, Mauis Bart De Zart and Qlds Travis Grant were on hand. On the skis Eray, Shillperort, Jasper Mocke, Bruce Taylor had all hung around to take part.
Mocke and Eray took out the ski race while Grant and Fernanda Gray took out the SUPs.
Once again a tonne local support got this race off the ground. The hard work done by Fernanda and Courtenay Gray has now cemented another great event into the program.
The post event celebrations were held back at the Fishers house and they did not disappoint. An awesome spread was laid out and once again everything that I envisage when I visit the SW was there in full.
Watch the Video of the Aussie day Challenge. Click here
2012 promises to be a big year for these events. With a solid foundation now laid for a week of racing keep this part of the year free. Thanks to everyone who made this happen.
Race Report 2010
written by Dean Gardiner
Which way is the wind blowing?
There are many factors that influence the success or failure of an event. We have control over most of these but the weather is the one thing that will always be a thorn in the side of the organizers and has the potential to completely destroy what the particular event and its managers had set out to achieve.
Downwind ski paddling is a hot potato when it comes to making the right decision. It’s a gutsy call for organizers to say that we are going to have a downwind ski race. We have seen the whole thing turn to custard in recent Molokai’s and various other events around the globe.
Waiting periods and reversal of courses take the pressure of the organizer if they have the ability and flexibility to be able to pull either or both of those off. But even these can’t help the organizer if the weather is simply not playing ball.
Saturday January 16 Perth Western Australia saw something like the 56th straight day of no rain and a predicted 39 degrees Celsius with little to no chance of an afternoon sea breeze.
The regular readers of surf ski paddling sites will know that the reason we hold the biggest offshore paddling event in Australia in Perth is that we can “almost” guarantee that we will see a sea breeze by lunchtime in January, but not just a breeze, a wind that kicks in and within minutes there is rideable chop on water that was flat glass only a few moments before.
This wind is what locals call “The Doctor”. Some say it’s because it brings relief on the hot days and there are other reasons. For those that follow cricket (which is played in the summer months in Australia) you will know that this wind plays a part in the captains decision when winning the toss on whether his team is going to bat or bowl at Perth’s WACA Cricket Ground. These decisions are usually made when the Aussie cricket team is delivering their usual thumping to the visiting “Yarpies”.
Perth is based on the west coast of Australia and like all west coasts on every major continent its dryer than the east coast. This is what influences the local weather in this region, to put it simply hot air rises through the day creating a vacuum and sucking in the cooler air from the ocean which makes the sea breeze.
But not on this day. Other metrological influences can sometimes override the wind in wind out scenario. Fortunately the wind out (offshore) wind was going to blow all day so to make the world’s purest downwind race a downwind we decided to race in the morning and go to Rottnest Island.
Rottnest sits about 20 kilometres off the mainland. It is one of those places you go to and never forget. For me growing up in Perth it was our playground. Far enough away from your parents to create a little mischief but close enough when you got into trouble (like running out of money).
The island is alive with fish life, phenomenal waves and has a unique local inhabitant called a Quokka which looks like a miniature kangaroo.
Leading into the race all eyes were on weather charts to see if we were going to get the usual conditions. I was on the phone constantly to my guru ( shall remain unnamed) who sits in his plush BHP office dishing out orders in his baritone voice and “I’m gunna thump ya” attitude, to work out what to do.
On the Thursday before the race the charts were looking very unfavourable so a call was placed to my guru for advice. After listening to the wise man talk about himself for an hour then telling me we had to reverse it, I reflected back on a race that I had done with Ash Nesbit a few years before.
The race was held in conjunction with a swimming event from the mainland to Rottnest. I was in Perth at the time so Ash and I decided to do it. The wind that day was screaming offshore (not dissimilar to what was predicted for our race). The race started and within minutes we were linking runs going away from the coast. I was amazed at how quick it jacked up and produced nice steep long swells that barely required taking a stroke. After just over an hour I was on the beach at Rottnest 20 ks offshore.
After consulting with all involved the course and start time were changed. We were going to race out to sea.
As you can imagine this was quite a big call everything we had planned now had to be brought forward and reversed. This is where I have to commend all involved. From our safety through to the TV crews the whole process of changing the event was made easy by everyone’s willingness to make it happen.
Early Saturday morning and we are standing on the beach at Fremantle. Much to the dismay of the local early morning swimming fraternity, 200 paddle craft took over the usually peaceful beach. Looking out to sea and where there was no visible chop, with Rottnest in the distance, could easily dishearten even the most optimistic of the competitors that day.
I looked to my guru for advice and for the first time in as long as I have known him, he didn’t say anything just a nod and a wink, so I knew it was on.
The briefing was my chance to convince the non-believers that they were going to get runs. This was a hard task as the flat sea in front of us gave no indication of the “fun time to be had by all “that I had promised.
ASN Hot Spot
As the field lined up all eyes were on Olympic Gold Medallist Kenny Wallace to see if he would be going for the ASN Hotspot. With the likes of Murray Stewart, Dave Smith and numerous other sprint kayak stars along with the faster sprint surf skiers this was going to be no easy task for the jovial Gold Coaster.
Two minutes after the start Wallace smashed the ASN buoy with his paddle shattering the sprint aspirations of the rest of the field and easily taking out the ASN Hot spot.
The battle is on..
With the sprint out of the way the field settled into the race. Up-front the usuals Cotter, Mocke x 2, Tim Jacobs, Hank, Murray Stewart, Dave Smith and a bunch of others were battling it out. Among that group a few new faces.
Before the race the ‘the man who blocks the sun” (Kurt Tutt) had told me to watch out for Bruce Taylor “He is on fire” The Blocker said.
Bruce had only competed in a couple of races this season so to most a total unknown. Another was Brad Rogers who has been out of the paddling scene for a few years and was keen to let the field know he was back. Both these guys are former champs in SLSA events with Taylor having a distance background with a couple of Molokai Paddleboard Races under his belt.
As Dawid and Jezza battled it out for the lead, just meters behind another ten paddlers were racing for third.
As previously reported Dawid put the Aussie flame out which for the last few events has been burning brightly. To dampen things further little brother Jasper came hurtling in behind the surprise packet Bruce Taylor for fourth. Dave Smith and Brad Rogers rounded out the top 6. See the results for all the other places. ocean.tikcha.com
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a race where so many paddlers have converged within spitting distance of the finish in such a tight cluster. Two and a half minutes separated 1 to 13. That’s 1 guy every 11 seconds. I personally hit the last flat section alongside Stewart, Jacobs and Brendan Sarson so my goose was cooked right there and I had to be happy with a tenth.
The girls race
Up front in the girls Lauren Bartlett was out to avenge her narrow loss to Kirsty Holmes in the recent 20 Beaches event. A tight race developed between the two arch rivals with Bartlett making the trip worthwhile by taking out the ASN Hotspot and the race. Holmes finished close behind with local Ruth Highman taking third.
The right decision
Standing on the beach I watched as each competitor crossed the line with a massive smile on their face. What made the event a success was watching my guru cross the line. Guru also had a smile from ear to ear which meant we had lived up to what we had promised.
We had made the right decision to reverse the race all would agree. No amount of additional workload was too much when all the competitors enjoyed the ride. No amount of additional workload is too much when I don’t have to listen to my guru bagging me out about the race.
To quote Jasper after the race “ This place is amazing, its even downwind when there isn’t any wind” said the younger Mocke.
I guess that sums up racing in Perth there is a reason it is that thousands of Euro. sailboarders converge on this place each summer. Something for all of us aspiring big downwind ski paddlers. Go where the sail boarders go.
From the organizers of the event a big thanks to all that raced, helped out and sponsored this event. An extra huge thanks to the paddlers that travelled from OS. Stay tuned for airing dates of the TV production. We had 8 cameras on the course catching every moment which should make for some great TV.
Results The Doctor
- Dawid Mocke (SA)
- Jeremy Cotter (Aus)
- Bruce Taylor (Aus)
- Jasper Mocke (SA)
- David Smith (Aus)
- Brad Rogers (Aus)
- Tim Jacobs (Aus)
- Brendon Sarson (Aus)
- Murray Stewart (Aus)
- Dean Gardiner (Aus)
- Lauren Bartlett (HI/USA)
- Kirsty Holmes (Aus)
- Ruth Highman (Aus)
The Think Kayak Team Challenge was won by NSW – Jeremy Cotter, David Smith and Hayden White (under 20) from QLD and South Africa.
Full results click here.
Race Report 2009
“Doctor” Robinson Smashes the Field – Race Report 2009
Written by Rob Mousely and reproduced from the original article on surfski.info
The resurgence of Australian surfski paddling continued today in Perth as Aussies took first and second place in near perfect racing conditions. Three time Olympic medalist Clint Robinson won by an extraordinary distance with Jeremy Cotter (Aus) and Dawid Mocke (SA) dicing for second and third.
Surfski.info was there virtually and posted continuous live updates on live.surfski.info. The race was fascinating to follow and it seemed anyone’s game up to the mid-point when Robinson finally blew the rest of the field out of the water and into the stratosphere…
The Fenn Hotspot
The $1,000 Fenn Hotspot buoy was situated some 400m from the start. Hank McGregor (SA) and Dawid Mocke (SA) shot off the line – but Aussies Jeremy Cotter and Clint Robinson were close behind. By the time they reached the buoy, Robinson was in front with Cotter and Reece Baker (Aus) in second and third place.
Into the Runs – the First Half
The weather wasn’t quite as good as had been predicted – but a healthy 10-15kt southerly wind, combined with a 1m SW ocean swell made for fabulous racing conditions. With the race course in and ESE direction, the paddlers had the wind at around 45 degrees over their right shoulders and had to focus hard on working all the time to the right so as not to be blown off course.
A buoy was set in mid-channel and all the paddlers had to go around it before heading across to the finish at Scarborough.
Almost immediately Anton Erasmus, our spotter on the escort boat yelled, “Dawid has gone way south – he’s on the right line; Clint Robinson is on a terrible line – he’s too far north.”
Robinson was leading a big bunch of other paddlers – including Hank McGregor, Tim Jacobs and Jeremy Cotter.
“We were going alright,” Robinson said afterwards. “We were doing about a Molokai pace though and when I saw that I was on the wrong line, I did an interval to make sure I got to the buoy before Dawid.”
Hank McGregor and Tim Jacobs were so focused on marking each other meanwhile, that they didn’t immediately notice when Robinson veered south. By the time they realized what was happening they had to paddle almost directly into the wind to get to the buoy – game over.
Sprint to the Finish
Robinson passed the buoy about 200m in front of Mocke. Jeremy Cotter, having followed Robinson, found himself 100m further back.
“I caught Dawid just after the buoy,” he said, “and we had a great dice from there to the finish.”
Robinson meanwhile found the increased pace “quite easy” and kept his foot down for another fifteen minutes or so, building a massive lead on the other paddlers. “When it was obvious that no-one was near me,” he said, “I relaxed and just had fun the rest of the way.”
The escort boat followed Robinson for a while and cameraman Greg Kitto took what promises to be some great video footage of Robinson catching the runs.
“It’s incredible,” enthused Anton Erasmus. “He’s just so efficient on the waves. Just a regular stroke, one, two, three and the speed that he’s doing! You will love this footage!”
Looking back the escort boat could see no other skis – it was game, set and match to Robinson and he won the race by an astounding 3:19 in a time of 1:24:43.
Meanwhile Cotter and Mocke were trading the lead as they caught consecutive runs. Cotter made no mistake at the beach and took second place in 1:28:02 with Mocke nine seconds behind.
Dawid Mocke’s Take on the race
“Clint was unbelievable,” said Dawid Mocke. “He was on completely the wrong line at the beginning and yet still pulled it out of the hat!
“My race went really well,” he continued. “This is my fourth time here and I’m really happy to be on the podium for South Africa.
“It just shows how paddling is becoming so much more competitive – there’s no clear dominance at the moment, the quality of the whole field has improved immensely. It’s a pity though that there weren’t more South African paddlers here today. Clint Pretorius would have loved these conditions!
“Conditions were very technical: you had to catch a run and immediately pull right. It was very difficult to get a rhythm going. The line was absolutely critical and because of the smog you couldn’t see the Observation City building which most guys use to get their bearings. So the use of the GPS was critical.”
He went on to praise the race organization. “Superb – very much on a par with what we do in SA – there were banners everywhere; the start was perfect; the briefing was excellent; great product sponsors and the Western Australian Government involvement was great. Without doubt this is one of the premier events in the series.”
Katie Pocock (NZ) left the starting blocks like a rocket with Kirsty Holmes (Aus) in hot pursuit. They diced the whole way across, Katie eventually taking the race by just over half a minute in a time of 1:46:12.
Clint Robinson has been back in a ski for only five weeks, following a long layoff after the Beijing Olympics – and the arrival of a newborn!
“My next goal is Molokai,” said Robinson. “I know it won’t be so easy – there will be Lightee (Clint Pretorius) for one thing and that ugly fellow Chalupsky!”