Round 1 of the Shaw & Partners / Anytime Fitness Australian Ocean Racing Series, kicked off in style at The Gold Coast Classic Ocean Race held on Saturday September 9th with the who's who of the Gold Coast surf life saving scene all present and hunting hard to be the 2017 Champion.
Shannon Eckstein, Jeremy Cotter, Mackenzie Hynard, Kenny Wallace, Sam Norton, Mark Anderson, Karla Gilbert, Dean Gardiner, Yanda Morison, Georgia Laird, Jake Jensen, Matt Nottage, Nathan Meyer, Bruce Taylor, Guy Andrews, Dane Sloss, Maddie Spencer, Tommy Woodriff and Bruce Hoppa Hopkins were amongst some of the legends who rolled up at North Kirra Beach on Saturday morning, getting ready for a cracking race.
In the days leading up, Race Director Jeremy Cotter promised awesome downwind conditions and he delivered with a fantastic 18 knot South Easterly filling in by the start of the race at North Kirra Beach creating some awesome runs down the race track to Tallebudgera Beach.
Pre-Race at North Kirra, the 165 competitors across Ocean Ski, SUP, Prone and OC, all took a moment to remember legend Iron Man and paddler Dean Mercer, with a one minute silence in his honour.
First up the SUPs and Prones took off from the beach with a sprint out to the first turning mark before turning left on their way to Talle with the wind and waves building behind them making for a quick run north.
The second start saw the Ocean Ski's and OC take a course which included a sprint out to the first mark, before turning right for an upwind leg of 3km up to Snapper Rocks, before turning North for the 11km downwind slide for all the way to Talle....and there were some awesome rides to be had!
At the finish everyone was frothing about how awesome the runs were out there. For sure this event will grow in numbers as more and more paddlers hear about what a great race it is.
Race Director Jeremy Cotter not only pulled off being part of the organisation team for this race, but also pulled off a race victory with a 15 second win over Iron Man legend Shannon Eckstien with Sam Norton, 3rd, Vaikobi's Macca Hynard 4th and Olympic Champion Kenny Wallace in 5th. Not a shabby top 5 right there you have to say!
Notable mention to 17 year old Oscar Jones who finished 9th in the Open Ski, only 2 minutes 30 off the winner. One to watch for sure.
One of the awesome aspects of the GC Classic this year was the strong SUP turn out with 46 SUP's on the startline at North Kirra.
Jake Jensen scored a strong win in the Unlimited SUP Mens from Ben Tardrew and Chad Islip.
Matt Nottage pushed the unlimited's hard whilst taking out the Men's SUP 14' from Jackson Maynard and Tim Gyprien in what was a hot field.
In the Women's SUP, legend ex Iron Woman and now legend SUP racer Karla Gilbert, cleared out to take a big win over Vanessa Caley and Karen Masson.
Back in the ski's, the legend of the ocean and the man responsible for the Australian Ocean Racing Series, Dean Gardiner got the Team Ocean Paddler double fired up with ex Olympian Yanda Morison in the back seat, to take the win in the doubles from Heath Brown/ Todd Murray and Brook Crosse/ Peter Winton.
In the Women's Ski, Georgia Laird took a strong victory over Victoria's Wendy Reyntjes and Vaikobi's Maddie Spencer.
The Spec Ski saw Jy Timerley take a close win over Dane Sloss and Jon Locke in what was a strong turn out for this class, as you would expect on the GC.
Eight prone boards took on the GC Classic and in the end it was Iron Man Rhys Burrows who took the chocolates from Lochlan Jonquieres and Michael Chan.
Six OC1's were on the startline with Paul Chong taking a massive victory.
Congratulations to everyone involved in putting on this awesome race.
For Sydney based paddlers, this is a super easy race to do on a day trip due to the close proximity of this race to Gold Coast Airport, so lock it in to your schedule for next year!
Next up is Round 2 of the AORS with "The Chucky" Charles Stewart Memorial being held here this Saturday September 16th
Full Results available at: https://www.p2ftimingsystem.com.au/events/view/results/65