Burleigh Ocean Challenge ** Video **

Monday, 15 November 2010 06:59 | Written by  Cameron Marshall
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Jeremy Cotter and Bruce Taylor dice to the finish Jeremy Cotter and Bruce Taylor dice to the finish

The Gold Coast has for many years been a heartland for Surf Life Saving. In recent years ocean ski racing has begun to emerge with more and more paddlers making the leap to long course style of paddling.

The opportunity arose to combine round 6 of the 2010 Australian Ocean Racing Series with the  Burleigh Heads SLSC annual ocean swim event and the Paramount Pro Choice Safety Ocean Classic became a reality. 

Ben Allen

Ben Allen 6th

The Course

Two downwind courses were specified to allow  for the race to be conducted in the prevailing downwind wind conditions. Both courses finished at Burleigh Beach. One course was from Kingscliff in the south to cater for the southerly wind, and the other from The Southport Seaway in the north.

 Each course provided required a slightly different skill set. The Kingscliff run is longer with an initial fast down wind section to Snapper Rocks followed by a “calmer section” as paddlers negotiate the leeward side of the coast which freshens up as the paddlers get back into the open ocean.

Corey Hill

Corey Hill 5th

The Seaway run on the other hand is shorter but a more technical course requiring paddlers to surf a tight line requiring careful consideration of when to go with the bumps or tacking left to ensure they did not end up being caught to close to shore leaving the paddler with no real options.

The prevailing wind was northerly so the run from the Seaway was chosen.

The Favorites 

As the entries came in and talk of who would go well were raised in the conversations the usual suspects again were the focus.

These ranged from the in form Ben Allen, the banker Jeremy Cotter, the mercurial Dane Sloss, 2004 Olympian David Rhodes and the ever efficient Bruce Taylor.

Dane Sloss and David Rhodes

Dane Sloss (R) 4th and David Rhodes (3rd) dice towards the finish

The field consisted of many other paddlers holding impressive resumes too long to list. Put simply it was a good solid field.

The Race

From the start the speed of Jacob Clear was evident who with Rhodes led initially for the 1km run offshore to the turning buoy. Just before the turning buoy Allen surged to lead and rounded first. Most competitors jostled for a wash to hang on for the ride to the turning buoy. What may have turned out to significant was that Taylor did not seem too concerned to push the pace rather happy to adopt a sit and watch approach.

Once the right hand turn at the buoy was made Burleigh point loomed in the distance with competitors choosing the line they thought would serve them best. Essentially 3 lines were on offer a wide line early to come home with the runs, a inside line to get away early but with little assistance towards the end and the middle approach of tacking with and against the runs.

Cotter in typical style set off imposing himself upon the race by taking it by the scruff of the neck leading from the front and backing his fitness to prevail.

Cotter broke out to an early lead from Allen and Sloss.

Dean Gardiner

Dean Gardiner - 8th

The conditions were fast with a 20km northerly blowing. Speeds of over 22km/h were common. From discussions with various competitors the common thread was that once on their way, despite the size of the field, it was surfing on your own with no real idea of who was near until everybody began to converge in the final couple of hundred meters before Burleigh Point.

By Main Beach Taylor had worked his way through the field following Cotter's line. Cotter and Taylor then became involved in a duel lasting 20 minutes which ended not by one asserting dominance over the other. They were separated rather at Kurruwa (8km to go) by Cotter electing to follow the swell towards the shore whilst Taylor elected to remain on the wider line. By Nobbys Beach (4km to go) Taylor’s line prevailed giving him a slight lead.

Coming in to the turning buoy located off Burleigh Point Cotter surged and again Taylor and Cotter  came together rounding the buoy and catching the same run/wave to the finish line.

It was evident after 16km that each one had the others measure in respect to down wind ability now it was up to power, speed, perseverance and a little bit of luck in the final 200m run to shore. Taylor managed to burst clear in the final 50m to claim the win in 1hr02m11s with Cotter a close second.

The battle for third again came down to run to the line with Sloss rounding the turning buoy in front of Rhodes. However the die was not cast as Rhodes with his power and use of the speed of the wave came from behind and edged out Sloss for third place.

Corey Hill built upon his good results this year to come home fifth in front of Allen and Paul Green.

Dean Gardiner and Kirk Jarrott continued the rivalry that extends for over 20 years with Gardiner finishing 8th and Jarrott 9th.

Rounding out the top ten was Gold Coast Ocean paddling stalwart Mick Waide.


In the women’s event Australian sprint kayak representative Bernadette Wallace finished first in 1hr19m14s in front of Australian marathon kayak representative Kate McGrath with Sue Dorries third.

Rambo's Video

Pro Choice Safety Gear Burleigh Ocean Challenge 2010 from Ocean Sports Media on Vimeo.

Wash Up

Congratulations to Bruce, and Bernadette for their wins. 

The event was one which showcased Queensland paddling talent in conditions that were technical and testing but most of all was enjoyable for everybody. It was common to hear “hooting” as paddlers expressed their delight on pulling down a good runner. Most people agreed it was a good day out.

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