This year the Maraamu Surfski Race will take place on September 14. For the fifth edition, the organizing committee has the honor to welcome among the registrants, Dean Gardiner, Clint Robinson (Molokai 2013 Champion), Jeremy Cotter and Michael Booth! We also have confirmation from some New Zealanders and several other Australians!
“You’ve got 200m on Lewis (Laughlin)!” shouts race-organiser-extraordinaire Sebastien Mosole to Dean Gardiner, as the course doglegs north from the Turiroa lighthouse. The 20 knot tailwinds and 3m swell conditions that Dean revels in have served him well for the last 31km’s, but the race is his to lose as paddlers battle against this same wind for the final 8km’s entering the only ‘pass’ through Bora-Bora’s otherwise impassable reef.
Race 12 of the 2012 Ocean Paddler World Series kicks off in just under 2 weeks time. Named after the southeasterly trade-wind that blows persistently over July/Aug/Sept dry season, the Mara’amu is a downwind course, designed to maximize the open ocean swell of the Pacific. This Mara’amu is promised to blast (or at any rate, blow) paddlers from the sheltered reefs of Tahaa island 38.1 km’s to the finish on Bora-Bora, easily the most famous and supposedly the most photographed island in the world.
Australia’s largest outrigger event, Gatorade Battle of the Paddles, will take place on Hamilton Island from 14 – 18 June 2012, with an impressive prize pool worth $90,000... and surfski is included as a discipline for the first time.
Palm Cove, Cairns. Dean Gardener, fresh from his incredible 4th placing in this year’s Moloka’i Challenge took line honors in Sunday’s 40km downwind epic between Northern Queensland’s Palm Cove and Port Douglas, in sweet South Easterly downwind conditions.
Warning: This article features no feats of paddling prowess, no storied rivalries or snippets of macho trash-talking. There's nothing here about shark attacks or boat-breaking surf, nor do I speculate about the return of double Olympic medalist Nathan Baggaley, the brilliant ski paddler released from prison last month.