With the craft on the barge, registrations closed, and briefing completed the excitement for The Epic Kayaks Doctor is difficult to hide. This year the race sizes up as race 6 of the Muscle Milk Australian Ocean Racing Series, the Australian Canoeing National Championships and the Starboard SUP challenge. Major brands have really got behind the event this year and its great to see nearly 350 entries for what will be one of the biggest ocean sports races of the year. The race has attracted competitors from across the globe including Hungary, Tahiti, South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and the USA.
The Doctor is the event that all Australians want to win. Although it’s hotly sought after by overseas competitors with Jasper Mocke from South Africa and Rachel Clarke from New Zealand taking the wins last year. It is iconic as it is the only ocean sports of its kind in Australia. The event crosses the Rottnest Channel that separates the mainland of Australia and the Schoolies infested Rottnest Island.
Over 26.5 kilometers competitors will battle it out to decide who will win the famous doctors cloak, stethoscope and signature bottle of wine. The race chases the favored ‘Fremantle Doctor’ trade wind that blows in from 10am most days. The wind swell that it whips up creates some of the best downwind conditions in the world. Tomorrow forecast is perfect, with 20 knots of fresh SSW blowing from 11am. Competitors will get some awesome skates back into the finish, creating what will be a great race at the top end.
The Doctor has a rich history with winners including Jonno Charlmers, Dean Gardiner, Oscar Chalupsky, Herman Chalupsky, Clint Pretorious, Clint Robinson, Tim Jacobs, Dawid Mocke and Jasper Mocke. In the Womans Ruth Highman has dominated, with Michele Eray and Rachel Clark also posting wins.
This years Epic Doctor is set to be a cracker across all divisions with big names in Ocean Ski and SUP turning up for the event. In the men’s event South Africa’s Mocke brothers are looking strong after each taking wins in their starts in the west, over the last week. Jasper completed a hat trick of wins in The Doctor last year and will be looking to make it 4 in a row! Tahiti’s Hiromana Flores has finished up his Outrigging commitments for the year, after winning Molokai OC6, and has jumped back on the ski for the event. The Norton’s are here in force and flying the flag at the front of the pack for Tasmania. The Gold Coasters will be looking to fill up the top ten, with World Champion Cory Hill, Lifestyle Athlete Michael Booth and his good-looking brother Daniel, fireman Mike and U/23 World Champion Mackenzie Hynard making an appearance. Newcastle has also sent there finest with Robo-Cop Greg Tobin and News Reader Sam Djodan travelling the hard yards from the steel city. The Perth contingent is as hot as ever with Reece Baker, Brendan Rice, Daniel Humble and Noodle Graham (who is tipped to take it out according to the local boys!) fighting for a win! Dean Gardiner and Mark Anderson are here to battler it out for Sydney while Michael Baker returns to his home state from Adelaide. Clint Robinson will also make a cameo appearance, with another ex-Olympian David Rhodes on a double, and will be looking to take line honors.
If the pace on Thursday nights Sunset Series race is anything to go by the competition is going to be hot. Last weekends Fenn Downwinder winner Jasper Mocke sat it out to rest up for the big race leaving his brother Dawid to take it out ahead of Sam Norton and Cory Hill. Rounding out the top 8 was Michael Booth, Tom Norton, Reece Baker, Brendan Rice and Hiromana Flores. These guys will be pushing hard to cement a top ten this weekend!
This years woman’s ocean ski event will be hotly contested with current World Champion Teneale Hatton leading the charge. The Kiwis will be once again the ones to beat, with last year’s winner and fellow New Zealander Rachel Clarke also making the trip across the ditch. However they wont have it all their own way with South Africa’s Michele Burn here to make dividends after having much of the year out of competition.
In the Stand Up Paddle Board division the 14ft class is one of the most competitive of the year with all the top Australian guys racing. Travis Grant the current Molokai Champion, and long standing world number 1 this year, will headline the field. An in-form James Casey has also made his way west from Sydney and will he be able to steal the show after winning the Sunset Series race on Thursday? Or will seasoned racers like Jake Jenson, Matt Nottage and Beau O’Brian take the win? In the Female division Terrene Black will headline a small but quality field of women racers.
Race start will be determined by wind tomorrow, so anytime after 11am the gun will go. The top men and women ocean racers will have trackers on there skis and can be followed by this link… http://www.igtimi.com/races/8962
All results will be posted on http://bluechipresults.com.au/results.aspx?CId=11&RId=785
May the wind be ever in your favor