Want an indication of a popular race? Three months before the 2014 Mauritius Ocean Classic, there were already 100 paddlers entered. Right now, three weeks to go, there are over 150 and entries have closed (apart from anything else there are no more rental skis on the island!) But why is it so popular?
A beginner paddler test pilots the Fenn Bluefin in the 2013 Mauritius Ocean Classic.
As a beginner paddler I confess I don’t give a lot of weight to reviews of entry-level skis by guys who usually paddle a greased toothpick. For starters, I am certain that my definition of "stability" is wildly different to theirs. So here's my (not really a) review of an entry level ski... by an entry level paddler.
Dawid Mocke showed once more why he’s the reigning Surfski World Series Champion, by winning the Mauritius Ocean Classic for the third time running in a time of 1:19:05. Hank McGregor finished just over a minute later (1:20:14) having outsprinted Jasper Mocke (1:20:20) for second place. Nikki Mocke took control of the women's race, winning in 1:31:59.
The 2013 MOC will run tomorrow, Saturday, 28 June. The race is scheduled to start at 11am but may be pushed out to 12 if the wind is strenthening from the forecast 7-8kt. (It’s ironic of course that the ESE trade winds have been blowing a steady 18-22kt for the last month, and it’s only now during the three day race window that it’s decided to take a break. C’est la vie!)
The cream of South African surfski paddling will be using the MOC on 29 June, 2013 as a warm-up for the inaugural ICF Ocean Racing World Championships in Portugal two weeks later; they're going to be well fired up and raring to prove themselves...
As I watched the white-haired paddler surf away, paddles down for the nth time I grimaced. I consider myself to be a pretty competent downwind paddler – but he was putting half the effort in that I was and I just couldn’t catch him.
[Editor: Having come a highly creditable sixth in the Dunlop Surfski World Cup in Durban, South Africa, Barry Lewin is in Mauritius for the 2011 Island Shamaal. He’s not finding it tough on the island…]