Olympian Ken Wallace for Perth Doctor (but that's not all!)

Monday, 04 January 2010 13:25 | Written by 
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Olympic champion Ken Wallace will headline the field when some of the planet’s best surf ski and kayak paddlers converge on Perth for two days of intense racing later this month.

Paddlers from South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong and Europe will take on Australia’s best in ‘The Doctor’ Surf Ski World Cup on Saturday January 16 before they back up the next day for the Finn Kayaks Coastal Challenge Teams Relay.

Richest Race in Australia

With more than $30,000 on offer ‘The Doctor’, as the 24 kilometre marathon downwind paddle from Rottnest Island to the Scarborough Beach Auditorium is known, is the richest ocean paddling race in Australia, while the teams relay event is suitable for all types of paddlers, from the elite to the everyday social paddler.

Aussie Stars

The men’s world cup event will feature a host of Australian stars hoping to keep the title on our shores after another Olympic gold medallist, Clint Robinson, dominated the competition to win last year’s event.

Included in this year’s field alongside Wallace is the 2009 Doctor runner-up Jeremy Cotter, 2012 Olympic kayak hopeful Murray Stewart, veteran world ranked paddler Tim Jacobs and 2008 Olympians Tony Schumacher and Dave Smith.

Saffa Competition

Australia’s elite will shape against a raft of international stars including leading South Africans Hank McGregor and brothers Dawid (who came third in 2009) and Jasper Mocke as well as paddlers from New Zealand, Hawaii, Asia and Europe.

Women’s Race

The women’s race is shaping up as a showdown between former Australian Ironwoman champion Kirsty Holmes, in form local Perth competitor Ruth Highman and South African star Michelle Eray who won every race she entered in 2009.

Holmes, having finished in second place last year may be the favourite but is not expected to have things all her own way with local Highman in wonderful form, having finished second in the recent World Cup round in Hong Kong.


The event, the brainchild of Perth born nine-time Molokai to Oahu winner Dean Gardiner, is part of the surf ski world cup series and also features categories for outrigger canoes and the growing discipline of stand up surfboard paddling.

The outrigger canoe field will be headed by Hong Kong’s James Shortis, while the arduous stand up surfboard paddling race will feature prolific American star Ernest ‘EJ’ Johnson.

World’s Best Pure Downwind Race?

Gardiner has been at the top of ocean paddling both as a competitor and a race promoter and organiser for almost two decades and the veteran believes ‘The Doctor’, now in its sixth year, is the world’s best pure downwind race.

“This race has earned a reputation as the most exciting downwind race on the international ocean paddling calendar,” Gardiner said.

“With the race being a crossing, from Rottnest to the mainland, leaving just the paddlers and the open ocean and all the elements makes it such a pure test of the paddler and nature.

“We have the best paddlers in the world coming to Western Australia’s summer playground and I know all of the guys that have been here before say it is their favourite stop on the international circuit. They all love getting over to Rottnest Island”

Gardiner was second to Cotter in a race in Sydney on the first weekend in January and may just use his experience to cause an upset in his own race.

...Team Relay has social paddlers excited...

While ‘The Doctor’ continues to grow in status, it is the Finn Kayaks Coastal Challenge Teams Relay that Gardiner says has captured the imagination of the social paddler.

“We have had lots of interest in the teams relay, right the way from the elite world cup calibre paddler to the everyday social paddler,” Gardiner said.

“Teams of two or four can enter so experience is not as crucial and each team races from Fremantle to Sorrento with transitions at North Cottesloe, City Beach and Scarborough.

“It’s a lot of fun and a great community event for Perth and Western Australia.”

For more info:

Entries and event information can be found at http://www.oceanpaddler.com/ .

For all media enquiries please contact David Lyall on 0403 777 026 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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