Keep playing with your little Millers Runs…’ The Aussies are coming!

Thursday, 21 February 2008 04:11 | Written by  Dean Gardiner
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The sport of surf ski paddling has taken some giant leaps forward over the last few years. We now have events in nearly every corner of the globe with competitors coming from countries that don't even have oceans.

 

Nick Holt
Nick Holt

 

Explosion in Surf ski Paddling

I believe this coming year we will see an explosion in the sport with many new paddlers putting it on the line against the seasoned veterans of surf ski paddling. To say seasoned veterans doesn't necessarily mean people like Oscar, Herman and me, but the likes of Dawid, Hank, Lewis, Daryl, Clint, Tim and Dave Kissane.

Funny to call those guys veterans but in the short span of our sports "profiled" life these are the guys that have established themselves as the ones to beat.

New Talent

The new talent coming to the fray from my country at least is tough fast and most of all very fit. They have the skills from years of surf club activities and are ready to take on this established group of watermen.

You have already been introduced to Michael "Gollum" Baker and sprint kayak star Kenny Wallace through events held last year. (Just a note "Gollum" ain't called "Gollum" because he looks like Brad Pitt.)  Both these guys are keen to move into the ocean paddling side of paddle sports after this year's Olympics. The next bunch of guys are people I know well and I think are definitely ones to watch.

Jeremy Cotter

Leading the charge is Jeremy Cotter. Cotter is an experienced ocean racer although to most he hasn't been heard of, on these pages, at least. Coming from an ocean iron man pedigree his results in that particular sport have been outstanding. This guy can paddle, I have trained with "Jezza' since he was a scrawny kid and seen him develop in to one of the best all-round ocean sportsman in the country. Reckon he can paddle , you should see him swim, not that it plays a big part in a our sport but you never know when that mystery "bombie" is around the corner.

Cotter is now based on the Gold Coast and is building a big ocean paddling squad in that region. In what is traditionally a very lifesaving dominated area, the presence of Jezza and others in particular some of the Adventure Racing athletes like Jody Zerbst and Guy Andrews, has seen more paddlers make the transition to longer distance events.

 

Jeremy Cotter
Jeremy Cotter

 

Nick Holt

Jezza spent much of his early years with good mate Nick Holt. Holty is one of my picks for good performances in our events over the next few years. A former ironman also, but more a sprint ski paddler this fair headed lad from Sydney has the ability in the runs and the speed to race well. Give him a year or so more of some distance paddling and he will definitely be pushing the top guys in this country.

He will almost definitely be a contender for Fenn Hotspots at future events, rarely a year goes past when he is out of the lifesaving national surf ski final. For those that know how hard it is to make the finals in that particular event know what an achievement that is.

Mark Anderson

Mark "Ando" Anderson (imaginative nickname), now Ando hails from Sydney also, a former teenage paddling star, he went and visited the wild side of life for a while before deciding to make a comeback to the sport mid way through last year. What I like about Ando is his temperament, he is as relaxed as you can get. But put a paddle in his hand and another paddler in his view and he will hunt down the fastest there is.

Ando will be making is Molokai debut this year along with a host of others from Australia.

Caine Eckstein

Caine Eckstein is definitely one to watch. He has proven that he can race distance, taking out surf lifesaving's most prestigious event, the Cooloongatta Gold. A four and a half hour paddle, swim, run paddleboard race. That in itself is pretty good but what was more impressive is that he was one of the first off the ski which makes up the first 20 kilometers of the event. In that field was a whole bunch of specialist ski paddlers that were only doing that leg.

Caine is keen to race as many events as can this year and has decided that this is the sport he will concentrate on over the next few years. His training partner is Cotter and a bunch of other "hotties" on the Gold Coast. Watch these guys drag a whole bunch of previously un-heard of guys into the sport.

Brendon Sarson

Over to WA and we have Brendon Sarson. Unknown to most Sars is quiet spoken and modest but tough as nails. He won nearly all the events in the WA series this year including the shorter day 2 of the Perth World Cup. What was impressive about his win was the depth of competition he was up against. Perth had one of  the best fields assembled out of all the events held last year , to get a victory up in flat conditions was a true test of his ability to win these style of races.

 

Brendan Sarson
Brendan Sarson

 

So there you go, a bit of an introduction to some of the new "Kids on the block" and I can call them kids because when I picked up my first paddle these guys weren't even the result of sticky fumblings in the back of dad's car.

Keep playing with your little Millers Runs...

While the "Yarpies" (South Africans to our American friends) enjoy their time in the sun we will see a return to dominance by the "Aussie" paddling contingent, similar to the glory days not so long ago.  

Let this be a word of warning to our friends across the Indian your days are numbered. Keep playing with your little Millers Runs and pretend ocean swells, I invite you to take on the true giants of the Southern Ocean and the might of the Pacific and meet this new batch of talent raring and ready to go from This Great Southern Land.

Till next we meet.

Deano


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