How is possible for an awesome event to become even better? Well the 2018 Shaw and Partners Doctor held on Saturday November 24th, did just that with one of the largest numbers of competitors and arguably the highest level of competition across both the Men’s and Women’s in the history of the great race.
The Shaw and Partners Doctor is the most iconic ocean race in the World for ocean ski paddling, not just because of the amazing downwind run across the channel from Rottnest Island to Sorrento, but also due to the great efforts put in by the race organisers, Dean and Sherene Gardiner and Yanda Morrison.
These three combined with an army of helpers from the West and East Coast of Australia, help make this event special in so many ways.
Thanks to the amazing support from Earl Evans and Allan Zion from Shaw and Partners, the 2018 Shaw and Partners Doctor reached new levels of interest and competition with a record $50,000 of prize money on offer for the main race and an additional $15000 of prize money for the Shaw and Partners sprint series held on Friday November 23rd at Sorrento Beach.
Pic: Shaw and Partners Co CEO Earl Evan's, 20 Beaches Foundation Director Justin Ryan and Cory Hill after the Thursday night sunset series race
Pic: Testing the new finishing chute courtesy of Shaw and Partners!
In it's maiden event, the Shaw and Partners sprint series proved to be a massive hit for spectators and competitors alike with Naomi Flood dominating the women’s and Jasper Mocke from South Africa taking out the Men’s.
Pic: Jasper Mocke (RSA) taking out the Men's Shaw and Partners Sprint Series
Oscar Jones took out the U/19’s in a red hot field whist pocket rocket, Jemma Smith won the super competitive u/19 Women’s.
Jimmy Walker took out the 40+ Men’s whilst Todd Borland won the 50+
Pic: Guy Leach interviewing 40+ Shaw and Partners Sprint Series Winner, Jimmy Walker. For the first time in a long time, Jimmy was speechless
It is fair to say that this will not be the last time this event will be run and the on the beach commentary from Guy Leach was sensational!
Saturday dawned with a forecast for light sea breeze conditions of 10 knots building to 15 later in the day. Certainly not normal “Doctor” conditions but there was promise of some bump in the middle of the channel later in the day.
Pic: The Silverado loaded and ready to head to Rottnest Island
Pic: Light conditions on the way to Rottnest Island
With a small time window granted to race director Dean Gardiner to run the race across the channel in order to avoid shipping movements, the first group of starters (SUP and Wave 1 OceanSki) departed Rottnest at 12.30 pm, followed by the Women’s and Oc’s and then the main OceanSki start at around 1pm.
Pic: The main field start
Once around the green channel marker off Rottnest Island, all competitors turned left, aiming for the Centaur mark positioned 20km across the channel off Scarborough Beach.
Usually 1-2km offshore from Rottnest Island, the waves start building and the fun begins, however this year it was to take more than 16km before any decent runs emerged as the sea breeze built closer to the coast. The last 11kms of the race saw some nice runs emerge which made all the effort worth it...if you still had any energy to maximise them.
In the Women’s Ocean Ski, Surf Athlete Georgia Laird from Northcliffe Surf Club on the Gold Coast came out all guns blazing and together with her coach, Naomi Flood, took the lead early on with Teneale Hatton and Hayley Nixon in hot pursuit.
Pic: Georgia Laird the Shaw and Partners Doctor 2018 Women's Winner
In the end, it was Georgia who took home the $10,000 in a sprint finish with Naomi Flood who claimed $6000 for her efforts. Teneale Hatton finished 3rd with Vaikobi Hayley Nixon (Vaikobi, Eurosteel, Shaw and Partners, Carbonology) in 4th and Rachel Clarke (Shaw and Partners/ Vaikobi/ Epic/Bennett) in 6th on her way back from elbow injury.
Central Coast's Gemma Smith took out the u/19’s and finished an impressive 5th overall.
It was fantastic to see so many more women competing this year and we look forward to seeing even more girls racing at the Shaw and Partners 20 Beaches on December 15th.
The Men’s Ocean Ski saw the who’s who of international paddling all on the start line and ready to fire. The only people missing this year were Hank McGregor (new baby born) and Dawid Mocke. Everyone else on the World Tour was there and seriously gunning for the $10,000 first prize.
Sean Rice (RSA), Cory Hill (AUS), Macca Hynard (AUS), Kenny Rice ( RSA) Michael Booth (AUS), Clint Robinson(AUS) , Mark Ando Anderson (AUS), Tom Norton(AUS), Austin Kieffer (USA) and Jasper Mocke (RSA) were all expected to be contenders for the title with each having a legitimate chance of taking the title.
In the U/19 Men’s, a tight battle was expected amongst Oscar Jones, Josh Fenn and Noah Harvard.
It was a drag race to the Centaur mark with Cory, Macca, Sean Rice, Clint Robinson and Michael Booth all arriving close together in a pack. For the last 7 km’s, the pace lifted and the group began to fracture.
Pic: Cory Hill takes out the Men's Shaw and Partners Doctor
In the end, the Current World Champ, Cory Hill paddled his Fenn Elite S to a solid 20 second win from fellow Shaw and Partners/ Vaikobi/ Bennett team mate, Macca Hynard in his Think Uno Max, who is peaking at the right time of year.
Veteran Ocean Paddler and Olympic Gold Medalist, Clint Robinson finished an impressive 3rd from Sean Rice (Vaikobi, Think, PaddleLife) in 4th.
Michael Booth (Shaw and Partners Race Team/ Vaikobi/ Fenn/ Ocean Paddler) showed that his years of dominating the SUP scene has not slowed him down on the ski to finish an impressive 5th. Watch out for Boothy when he returns to the Ski for the 20 Beaches Ocean Classic in Sydney!
Pic: Men's Top 6 from Left to right: Tom Norton, Michael Booth, Sean Rice, Clint Robinson, Macca Hynard, Cory Hill
Pic: Women's Top 5 Left to right: Gemma Smith (5th), Naomi Flood (2nd), Georgia Laird (1st), Teneale Hatton (3rd), Hayley Nixon (4th)
In the U/19’s Josh Fenn from South Africa paddled a superb race to win from Oscar Jones and Noah Harvard in 3rd
James Casey took out the Men’s SUP from Tim Crypien and James Knowles in 3rd.
A massive congratulations to everyone for successfully completing the Shaw and Partners Doctor race again this year.
Pic: Ocean Paddler's 100+ ski's they supplied competitors for the Doctor, taking a much needed rest!
Without the brilliant support of lead sponsor Shaw and Partners, Event Organisers, Ocean Paddler and all the AORS sponsors- Vaikobi, Fenn, Epic, Think, ASN, Bennett, Gara, Kani and Sharkskin, this event would not be possible.
The focus now turns to the next round of the Australian Ocean Racing Series with the Shaw and Partners 20 Beaches Classic in Sydney on December 15th with $75,000 on offer. See you all there!