Tim Jacobs wins 2010 Epic Kayaks 20 Beaches (Aus) ** Video **

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 08:04 | Written by  Jamie Stewart
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Tim Jacobs - elated at his 20 Beaches win Tim Jacobs - elated at his 20 Beaches win

For the first time since 2006 (2004 if you’re talking line honours), and ahead of the two previous winners of Sydney’s most prestigious race, Tim Jacobs has won the Epic Kayaks Twenty Beaches in style. In doing so, Tim has taken out the first ICF World Series event held in Australia and has taken a clean sweep in the 2010 Bing Lee LG Oceanseries in association with Epic Kayaks.

...terrible coach aren't I?"

The race finished a stone’s throw from Tim’s home in Freshwater, and as he hit the sand to the cheers of his wife and three kids the relief and jubilation of four years of trying were written all over his face. Tim has won the Twenty Beaches a record six times, and this weekend, he has undoubtedly cemented his place as one of the greatest long distance paddlers in Australian history. Last year’s winner, Jeremy Cotter, was a minute behind Tim, his trademark high stroke rate not slowing down right to the finish. Tim’s kayaking protégé and 2008 Twenty Beaches champ, Murray Stewart, was 15 seconds behind Jez. On beating his athlete once again, Tim’s first words to Muzza’s dad “yep, I’m a terrible coach, aren’t I??”.

Toughest women's field ever

The day wasn’t all Tim’s though – Lauren Smith, the youngster from Wollongong who has won almost every race this series, won the women’s race against one of the toughest women’s fields ever. Last year’s winner, Kirsty Holmes, was second, with Queenslander Bernadette Wallace in 3rd and New Zealand legend Katie Pocock in 4th. Lauren was elated at the finish – etching her name in the history books and proving that she really is deserving of being crowned the 2010 Oceanseries champion.

"Comfortable the whole way"

Both the men’s and women’s races were tight battles for at least the first half. From the start at Palm Beach, the pace was on, with Jeremy, Tim and Murray breaking away. Tim and Jez took different lines, trading the lead for the first 12km or so, with Murray sticking within a few boatlengths of Jeremy out to sea. At Long Reef, however, Tim took a faster line and put in a 100m gap that was never closed. “I was comfortable the whole way” says Tim – “I felt really good, and the boat was perfect for the conditions”. Tim’s confidence all series has been incredible, but don’t mistake it for arrogance, he’s backed himself and controlled every Oceanseries race he has entered.

Traditionally, the Twenty Beaches has started or finished at Manly, however this year the organisers decided to change the course to go to within a few kilometres of the ‘normal’ finish line at Manly, then backtrack to Freshwater Beach. This meant a slightly shorter course than in previous years, but with easier parking and a fantastic BBQ at Freshy surf club afterwards! Thankfully, the northerly wind picked up just in time, giving a great tailwind with fun runs the whole way. The runs were small, but fun. They didn’t allow you to put your paddle down at all, but were good enough to link up run after run, causing for a fast time (93minutes) over the new course.

Making the top 20

The Twenty Beaches is one of those races where making the top 20 is a serious accomplishment. With at least five guys who are genuine shots to represent Australia at the next Olympics (and that doesn’t include Jeremy or Tim, whose ocean racing credentials are vast), there were few top names missing from the lineup. As the first guys rounded the turning buoy a few hundred metres from the finish, the line of skis behind them just became thicker as the seconds ticked by. The good quality runs provided a challenge to everyone, but also meant that pretty much every paddler was able to drop down a few faces and link up a few sections.

The ladies’ race was seriously close – the top 3 were trading the lead and zigzagging across each others’ lines to within just a few clicks of the finish. Bernie Wallace recalls looking to her left and right and seeing Lauren and Kirsty on either side. When she looked again a few kilometres later, the girls had changed sides! I caught up with Lauren after the race. “I was behind Kirsty at [Curl Curl]” said Smith, “but I felt really good”. In the end, Lauren’s solid season paid off and her fitness came through. She took the lead at Curl Curl (the beach before Freshwater), and Kirsty just wasn’t able to go with her. Lauren won by just over a minute from her more experienced competitor. This was undoubtedly one of the toughest women’s fields ever seen in this race, and for Lauren to take it out is a huge credit to her improvement in the ocean ski over the last year. Lauren now has her sights set on the surf lifesaving and sprint kayaking seasons. When I asked her about using the Lifestyle Financial Services ticket to Molokai 2011, she gave me a nervous grin and explained that whilst she can’t wait to travel to a race, Molokai may be a bit daunting for her first overseas surfski experience. Fortunately, the ticket allows her to any major international race of her choice, so watch out ladies – Lauren will definitely be on the global scene in 2011.

Northern domination

The 2010 race had a solid field of 211 finishers. It was great to see a big team of Queenslanders coming down for the race, as well as trailer loads from Wollongong and the Central Coast. In the end, the two paddlers who dominated the series took out the final race, both with Queenslanders a minute behind! The boys from up North took out six of the top ten places, with two of the others being from the South of Sydney (Nathan and David Smith). Tim and Murray were representing the Northern Beaches on the podium.

All in all it was a great ending to what has been an exciting and competitive series. Next big race in Australia is the Doctor in Perth in early 2011.

Rambo's Video

Another great vid from the aquatic video-phenomenon...

Epic Kayaks 20 Beaches 2010 from Ocean Sports Media on Vimeo.

More Pics

Available here: http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/photos/gallery/20-beaches-ski-race/

Summary Results


1 Tim JACOBS 1:33:36 53
2 Jeremy COTTER 1:34:38
3 Murray STEWART 1:34:53
4 Bruce TAYLOR 1:35:16
5 David RHODES 1:36:03
6 Nathan SMITH 1:36:22
7 David SMITH 1:36:57
8 Kurt TUTT 1:37:29
9 Dan COLLINS 1:38:07
10 Brad RODGERS 1:38:07
11 Tim BIRD 1:38:09
12 Jacob CLEAR 1:38:20
13 Tate SMITH 1:38:28
14 Cade BARNES 1:38:30
15 Kirk JARROTT 1:38:40
16 Michael CLUES 1:38:56
17 Mark ANDERSON 1:39:28
18 Matt REES 1:39:34
19 Dane SLOSS 1:39:47
20 Michael LOCKE 1:40:20


1 (77 Overall) Lauren SMITH 1:51:2
2 (81) Kirsty HOLMES 1:52:3
3 (95) Bernadette WALLACE 1:55:0
4 (108) Katie POCOCK 1:58:1
5 (114) Kate MCGRATH 1:58:5

For more info and full results, see: http://www.oceanseries.com.au.sponsor-ed.com.au/

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