Dean Gardener wins Hekili Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 15:45 | Written by 
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Dean Gardener cruises to victory in last year's Hekili Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge Dean Gardener cruises to victory in last year's Hekili Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge Credits: Justyna Polanska

Palm Cove, Cairns. Dean Gardener, fresh from his incredible 4th placing in this year’s Moloka’i Challenge took line honors in Sunday’s 40km downwind epic between Northern Queensland’s Palm Cove and Port Douglas, in sweet South Easterly downwind conditions.

Dean takes Line Honours...

In speaking with Dean this week, it seems there is no stopping the master. Having just returned from Molokai, the founding force behind the 2012 Oceanpaddler Worldcup Series clearly has no time for jetlag:

Dean: “This race is actually a really good course. There was a moderate SE, and the water is quite shallow, so everything stands up really nicely.”

Dean's time of 2:45:55 shows an average speed of over 14.5km/h over the course, which emphasis just how fast the conditions were on Sunday.

Dean Gardiner

Dean surfs to victory to take the 2012 title at Port Douglas, Northern Queensland

Good cross-section of paddlers!

The field of 202 paddlers, comprising OC1, OC2 and OC6 as well as single and double surfski paddlers, enjoyed a 17-20 knot downwind run, with about 3km of side-wind and crosswind which is sheltered in the lee of Double Island and Haycock Reef.

Charlie Wilkie

Charlie Wilkie showing some good form as he brings the Hayden home in primo conditions in the second annual Hekili Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge.

This event looks likely to cement its place on the Aussie surf ski calendar in coming years, and thrives on a close association with the 10 day long Cairns Airport Adventure Festival, including the Coral Coast Triathlon, RRR Mountain Bike Challenge, Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge, Quicksilver Reef Swim – Green Island, The Cairns Post Run for Cairns and Challenge Junior kids triathlon, entertainment and community concerts. 

Peter Dorries

Peter Dorries (1st OC1 Men) rails it for maximum speed on the home wave.

One of the things that is special about paddling in any of the Pacific nations is the cultural connection that is evident everywher you look. Outrigger caneoing especially is a way of life, and in times begotten was a matter of survival. Whether you live in Australia, New Zealand, Hawai or Tahiti you will find outrigger canoe clubs one every major beach, and most of the minor ones! There is a wonderful crossover at most races, which is extending now into Stand Up Paddling. Each sport brings it's own unique flavour, and often prizegivings are where most of the cross-polination is evident, with ski-paddlers winning OC paddles and accesories, and OC paddlers winning skis or accessories.It is something really special to see a big OC6 charging downwind, the crew firing on all cylinders, spray flying everywhere and it's prow dipping right under the waves.

Logistics and Northern Queensland

Sue Lockwood, Event Manager for Hekili Outrigger Canoe Club in Cairns was very positive about the explosion in numbers with the race now in it's second year of operation.

"The numbers have pretty much doubled since last year, and we expect similar growth next year.The logistics associated with some of these large OC6's are crazy!" Think about that when you are next tying your 11kg carbon ski on the roof of your car!

John Hammond

John Hammond from Brisbane River Dragons OCC surfs home to finish a long day in the saddle, at 3:47:23 on the clock.

The 10 day long Cairns Airport Adventure Festival culminates in the Cairns Iron Man, which will see 10 time NZ Iron Man champion and hot favourite for the race Cameron Brown competing against a strong field.

Sue Dorries

Sue Dorries, First Woman home in the Ocean Ski category surfs into Port Douglas with the following seas.


2012 Hekili Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge Results

Ocean Ski Master MenCompetitorsTime
NSW Dean Gardiner 2:45:55
Ocean Ski Open Men

North Cottesloe SLSC Tim Bird 2:56:19
Ocean Ski Master Women

Outrigger Australia OCC Sue Dorries 3:25:41
Spec Ski Open Men

Sunset Bay OCC Steve Bird 3:11:30
Spec Ski Master Men

Outrigger Whitsunday OCC Charles Wilkie 3:14:22
OC6 Open Mixed

Five Island OCC Manii Verzosa  
"Aloha Nui" Tara St John Cox  
  Daniel Ratapu 3:46:32
  Sherilee Moulds  
  John Hannah  
  Carmen Koller  
OC2 Open Women

Hekili OCC Janelle DeBoom 3:50:15
  Linda Davies  
OC2 Master Women

Hekili OCC Sue Lockwood 3:26:48
  Emma Morgan  
OC2 Master Men

Hekili OCC Keith Vis 3:18:29
  Ralph Seed  
OC2 Open Mixed

Coral Sea OCC Mark McPherson 3:40:43
  Samantha Peck  
OC2 Master Mixed  
Northcliffe OCC Lyn Muffett 3:45:35
  Hoani Peke  
OC1 Open Men

Outrigger Australia OCC Peter Dorries 3:02:10
OC1 Open Women

Mooloolaba OCC Amanda Ozolins 3:28:16
OC1 Master Men
Hervey Bay OCC William Jarvis 3:31:27
OC1 Master Women

Port Douglas OCC Ingrid Juchem 4:52:46
OC1 Senior Master Men

Brisbane River Dragons OCC John Hammond 3:47:23
OC1 Senior Master Women

Cairns Beaches OCC Nadine Hickling 5:20:46

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