Older Jewish Man Vying for World #1: Oceanpaddler World Series Rankings

Friday, 24 February 2012 06:23 | Written by  Anonymous (New Yorker)
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Ryan Moffet: "I think anyone would be scared..." Ryan Moffet: "I think anyone would be scared..."

Three races into the 2012 Oceanpaddler World Series, the scoring system designed to select the world's best downwind paddler has yielded surprising results: Though the top 15 spots are littered with big names like Jasper and Dawid Mocke, Bruce Taylor, Brendon Sarson, Ash Nesbit, Dean Gardiner and Ben Allen, they all trail Ryan Moffet, a 32-year-old firefighter from the Gold Coast and Joe Glickman, a 52-year-old journalist from Brooklyn, N.Y.


Insiders say that the sport of ocean kayaking is in turmoil. Moffet finished 48th in last month's Perth Doctor and Glickman, better known for his typing speed than ability to link runs, was the fourth 50+ paddler across the line. But Jeremy Cotter, who finished sixth in Perth, said he saw it coming. For the past three years Cotter has trained on the Gold Coast with the "Moff," a swimmer turned Ironman turned paddler, and the 32-year-old former professional Ironman has also raced with Glickman in Dubai, South Africa, San Francisco and New York.

Jeremy Cotter and friends

Cotter and friends in Hong Kong, 2009

"No. 1" and "No. 2"

On Moffet, Cotter said: "Moff has come up in training over the last few years so to see him as the world number one is very gratifying." Speaking about Glickman, who trails Moffet by a mere 130 points, Cotter's voice cracked with emotion: "Ever since I saw him dominate some harsh shore dumps in South Africa, I knew he had what it takes to be one of the contenders. I even told a few mates that had he done most of the World Cups last year he likely would have been a near-number one." Cotter, who's taken to calling his protégée's "No. 1" and No. 2", paused to collect himself. "It's a privilege to witness the next great talent in the sport [Moff] taking his first shot at the world title...."



"...ever since I saw him dominate some harsh shore dumps in South Africa..."

Although the ninth-ranked Cotter won the Fenn Cup, the first race in the '12 Series, and plans to do three more races to qualify for the overall Series title, he was far more focused on the two thoroughbreds up front: "I liken it to Nadal versus Federer," he said. "If one of those guys were not around, they would have the clear number one title for themselves, but over the last five years they have taken turns smashing each other."

In Sydney, Moffet was 14th; the following day he flew across the country, placing 17th in Mandurah. Just one week later, he finished 48th, 18 minutes behind winner Tim Jacobs. Before you could say, "What's a Moffet?" the mantle of Series leader was his alone.

Tough at the Top

Reached at home in Mermaid Waters on the Gold Coast, Moffet spoke about the pressures of sitting atop the world standings: "I went on a holiday to sunny Perth to visit a mate and to do some downwind paddling and I found myself in a battle for the number one ranking with an old Jewish man!" Pausing to ponder his predicament, he added: "That is quite a scary statement; I think anyone would be scared."

Joe Glickman

Glickman in Mauritius in 2009 expounding on his favourite topic (himself)

Glickman, who is quick to point that that he's the fastest Jewish paddler in Brooklyn and one of the fastest "Red Sea Pedestrians" in North America, was far less humble. "After the New York Giants won the Super Bowl last month, earning yet another World Championship for the USA, I set my sights on a World Title of my own. I knew it was a big ask but with the right attitude, a few breaks and a lot of boat wash, anything is possible."

Hassidic Communities in Shock and Awe

Moments after the World Series Rankings were published, Hassidic communities and Senior Citizen Centers across the U.S. lit up www.surfski.info, prompting Series administrator Dean Gardiner to point out that only four paddlers had competed in all three events. Said Glickman: "Yes, well, right, people have been discounting my people's paddling prowess for millennium." Listing all three standout RSP's in the sport -- Shaun Rubenstein, Rami Zur and Graeme Solomon -- he added: "but look at us now. I just need to finish ahead of the Mocke boys in my next two World Cup events and I will bring the title back to Brooklyn."

Confronted with the fact that in their last head-to-head battle at the Doctor last month, Glickman finished 72 positions behind the Mocke brothers, he channeled his inner Oscar, stating, "I wasn't that fit in Australia. Since my return I've been eating really well and working out nearly every day."

However, when informed that Moffet planned to attend the next race on the tour, The King of the Harbour in Auckland on March 30, Glickman grew quiet.

Moffet turned uncharacteristically brash:  "Glickman will have to do some serious work if he aims to claim my number one spot!"

Stay tuned!


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