21 Nov, Perth, Australia.
The third edition of the West Coast Downwind provided the closest racing in the events history amid hot and flat ocean conditions.
A shortened course provided some respite for competitors as a brisk offshore wind combined with hot conditions made for a memorable race for all the wrong reasons! Still the competitive Australian spirit shown by all entrants made the event a success as one watched each paddler give their all right up to the line.
Up front six paddlers broke away early at a blistering pace. The group contained the current World Surfski Series leader and I.C.F Ocean Racing Champion Cory Hill, as well as the 2014 World Surfski Series Champion Jasper Mocke (currently 4th ranked) and the currently second ranked Michael Booth. Add to the group 4x former Champion Dawid Mocke and it is plainly obvious that this will be a battle to the end. Also in the group were 2014 World Series 4th place Reece Baker and local paddling star Michael Baker
Dawid Mocke, after only 3kms, was the first victim of the blistering pace well over 15km/h set first by Reece Baker (2014 World Series 4th place) and then backed up by Jasper Mocke and closely followed by Hill. This pattern would continue until, a few kms from the end first Michael Baker, then Michael Booth and finally, with 1km to go Reece Baker, would drop off as Mocke and Hill went stroke for stroke.
Mocke had this to say: “With 2km to go I took the pull and pretty much went flat-out especially when Cory would try to come past. I knew that if I let him pull into the finish that that would be it, so I basically just went for it.”
“I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t been a frustrating year for me especially after winning the World Series last year, so to finally pull off a win, especially against Cory, means a lot!”
Hill had the following to say: “Jasper Mocke was too good yesterday in the flat and desert like conditions in Perth. 36 degrees . Happy to come away with a second and feeling really good before the big one next week. Forecast is looking the goods. Glad that is over.”
Michael Booth narrowly took the final podium step ahead of a late charge from Dawid Mocke, who would tke 4th and edge Reece Baker into 5th and Michael Baker into 6th.
in the Womans race Rachel Clarke showed her class by edging out Michelle Burn from South Africa. Rachel has had a similarly testing year much like Jasper Mocke and was delighted to take a victory. Second place Michelle Burn is a great downwind paddler and would have rued the flat conditions, but the 2013 I.C.F Ocean Racing runner up and current 5th place womens paddler is a class act and we can expect a big race for the upcoming Epic Kayaks Doctor on the 28th of November.