Mockes Grab first and first in gale force blast (Cape Town)
Tuesday, 02 November 2010
Dawid Mocke made no mistake in bagging the third Discovery Sunglass Hut Series race in Fish Hoek on Sunday. Nikki Mocke ran in an easy win in the women’s race.
During the week, the weather forecast settled on a fresh southeaster for Sunday’s race – ideal for the Fish Hoek Surf Challenge race, which traditionally sees a lap course around the bay with multiple excursions through the surf. The race is hugely popular with spectators as they watch paddlers making their way with varying degrees of success in and out through the shore-break.
When we arrived at Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club on Sunday morning, however, we could see that the wind was far higher than predicted. The nearby weather station at Roman Rock was registering wind speeds of 16.7m/s – over 30kts.
The course was shortened to a triangular lap: an outbound leg along the edge of the bay, somewhat sheltered from the worst of the wind and waves; a rocketing downwind leg in the teeth of the wind and swell and short cross-wind leg. Five laps totaling some five km – the shortest race ever, but perhaps one of the most demanding in terms of skill and strength.
In spite of the daunting conditions, some 80 singles and 12 double skis lined up – with the higher graded paddlers positioned closest to the first turning buoy to facilitate a clean start.
Dawid Mocke, Tom Schilperoort and Sean Rice lead the way the entire race – rapidly overhauling and lapping the back markers. At each turning buoy, merry cries of “water!”; “Get out the bloody way!”; “Stuff off, you get out the way!” and similar could be heard above the screaming wind and crashing of the waves.
L-R Tom Schilperoort, Sean Rice and Dawid Mocke
Schilperoort & Mocke dice past the turning buoy on their way upwind
Paddlers grinding upwind in the lighter single skis (especially the carbon boats) were barely able to control their boats; the wind catching the noses and flinging them sideways as they launched over the oncoming swells.
The downwind leg was a roller coaster of surfing – sets of big swells were coming through. On the third downwind leg, we were alongside the intrepid mixed doubles partnership of Billy and Tracy Harker when both skis tipped over on a massive swell – the skis rocketed down the face in a welter of spray and yells of “yeeeeeeeha!” and similar!
The cross-wind section, just behind the backline, produced a few anxious moments as the bigger swells came through. These resulted (on our boat at least) in the odd murmur of, “perhaps we should turn a little further out to sea” or words to that effect…
All the action – and the fact that the course was so short and entirely in the bay - made for a great spectacle for the crowd who were watching from the beach.
Although Tom Schilperoort stayed in front of Sean Rice for the whole race, Rice managed a sneaky run from the backline and reached the beach in second place.
All too soon, we were back on the beach; it may have been the shortest race ever in the series, but it was also the most intense, and the ice-cold Hansa Marzan Gold rehydration packs (read: “beers”) were more than welcome.
Mocke’s first and first
“Tom beat me fair-and-square last weekend at Langebaan and Sean had nailed me to the wall well-and-truly in Simonstown Bay on the Sunday before that,” said Dawid Mocke to Gameplan Media. “So I had to pull out all the stops today…”
Mocke’s wife Nikki reveled in the conditions – and especially in the fact that she beat 15-year old Kenny Rice who finished 14 seconds behind her! (Kenny is surfski star Sean Rice’s up and coming younger brother.)
The twelve doubles in the race arguably had it a little easier in the conditions – especially upwind where the singles were being thrown sideways by the blasts of wind.
Billy and Tracy Harker (L), about to overtake Mousley/Lippstreu
Bruce Neil and Theo van Dyk at 23:13 were nearly four minutes ahead of their nearest rivals, Garth Watters and Henri van der Merwe… (van Dyk told me that he and Neil have been training an average of 12-15 hours a week – paddling between 150 and 200km – in preparation for the Southern Shamaal PE2EL Challenge.)
We came fourth, in a time of 28:04, behind the mixed doubles champs – Billy and Tracy Harker.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
DISCOVERY SUNGLASS HUT SURFSKI SERIES
NEW BALANCE FISH HOEK SURF CHALLENGE
- Dawid Mockè 22:28
- Shaun Rice 22:35
- Tom Schilperoort 22:40
- Graeme Solomon 23:04
- Jasper Mockè 24:05
- Paul Marais 24:19
- Jaydon Alford-Loots 24:27
- Alistair Glass 24:51
- Ian Trautman 24:54
- Ashley Carstens 25:05
- Nikki Mocke 26:40 (82% of Men's time)
- Bianca Beavitt 30:14
- Kim Brugman 31:56
Junior Men Single ski
- Dominique Notten 26:04
- Kenny Rice 26:54
- Craig Flanagan 26:30
Junior Women Single ski
- Kirstin Flanagan 38:28 (14 years old)
- Anna Notten 39:57
- Bruce Neil/Pierre van Dyk
- Garth Watters/Henry van der Merwe
- Billy Harker/Tracey Harker
- Billy Harker/Tracey Harker
- Anthony Pearce/Gilly Anderson
- Robyn Henderson / Liz Hart 36:28
CALENDAR OF EVENTS - DISCOVERY SUNGLASS HUT SURFSKI SERIES
- Race 4 - 7 Nov - Discovery Downwind
- Race 5 - 13 & 14 Nov - KIA SA Ski Champs in East London
- Race 6 - 21 Nov - Powerade Oceana Race & CPC Qualifier
- Race 7 & 8 - 27 & 28 Nov - Peninsula Marathon
- Race 9 - 4 Dec - Peter Creese Lighthouse Race
- Race 10 - 18 Dec - FENN Cape Point Challenge
Venue: Cape Town, South AfricaDate: 31 September 2010Website: www.surfski.co.za