The 2 final races of the 2015 Surf Ski World Series over here in Perth, WA were the ‘West Coast Downwinder’ and ‘The Doctor’ held one weekend after the other.
The West Coast Downwinder was a shortened 17km race from Swanborne SLSC to Sorrento Beach in dead flat conditions with 36 degrees! It was one killer race. I was feeling really good going into this race after a good break after Tahiti and getting over sickness then having a good solid training block. The race started with the top men going off in a large bunch. I managed to get on the back of the mens pack for about 5 minutes. I then fell off the wash and a group of about 7 paddlers was formed including South Africia’s Michelle Burn. For about 9km’s we were all taking leads and slowly one by one a paddler would fall off the wash. At about the 9km mark myself and another male paddler managed to break away from the rest of the pack and slowly caught a couple of paddlers in front of us! I managed to hang on right till the end of the race finishing 21st overall and the 1st female. The top 3 males were: Jasper mocke, Cory Hill and in 3rd Michael Booth, in the Women’s race it was myself followed by Michelle Burn and Natasha Leaversuch in 3rd.
The next couple of days were crucial for recovery going into ‘The Doctor’ the following weekend. Sam and I had a light week planned of down winds and light runs. Tuesday night I was hit by a bad case of food poisoning and was up all night with that unfortunately keeping Sam awake also. Wednesday was a day of recovery for me trying to get my hydration levels back and my energy up. Wednesday evening we did a downwind clinic with the legend Dawid Mocke where I learnt a lot of points regarding downwind paddling and it was very helpful. I always recommend learning from those experts in the sport at any opportunity you get!
On Saturday it was time for the biggest race with regards to participants in the World with over 320 competitors, ‘The Doctor’. The race consists of paddling from Rottnest Island turning a pole about 20kms from Rottnest and then another 7kms back to Sorrento Beach. Returning to this event after winning it last year I knew what to expect; the awesome down winds and trying to find a pole in the middle of the ocean. This year was no different. The female race started 15 minutes prior to the males race. As we set off I was in 2nd place to the hotspot after Teneale. I then started to catch the runs and kept heading slightly right. Michelle soon passed me and I tried to stick with her. Slowly Teneale and Michelle started getting further and further ahead and I couldn’t shorten that distance. I had to race my own race and not worry about them. I ended up going way too far to the right and nearly missing the pole! One positive was I had a strong finish and ended up getting 3rd. I definitely didn’t feel great in the race and very flat. My average HR was sitting at 150bpm where I am usually around 180bpm. The top 3 males were: Cory Hill, Jasper Mocke and Dawid Mocke in 3rd, in the Women’s it was Teneale Hatton, Michelle Burn and myself in 3rd.
This brings my 2015 World Series racing to an end. Overall i’m happy to come away with 2 World Series win’s and 4 3rd’s. I have learnt so much in all these races and definitely have some things to work on over the next few months and am excited to see what 2016 brings.
I want to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors, family and friends for helping me get here and compete around the world in such an amazing, exciting sport.