Aussie World Cup Warm Up: SA Cleans Up

Sunday, 19 November 2006 22:17 | Written by 
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ImagePerth, Australia 19 November 2006


As a warm-up to the Australian Surf Ski World Cup race next weekend, South African contenders Oscar Chalupsky (aged 43) and Darryl Bartho lined up with 55 other paddlers at Fremantle Port Beach.


The race, part of the Western Australia Surf Ski Series, was intended to be a downwind run with the Freemantle Doctor to Trigg Point, some 20km down the coast with a check point at City Beach.  (The first World Cup race next Saturday will follow a similar route.)  Competition was bound to be fierce as the Western Australian youngsters lined up with the two South Africans. 


Dean Gardiner pleaded illness and pulled out of the race, lending his ski to Rees Barker, an Olympic paddler from Perth.  Contrary to pre-race banter, the fact that the Freemantle doctor was blowing less than ten knots had nothing to do with it.  (Dean, at a similar advanced age to Oscar, is on record as saying he prefers downwind races these days!)


The conditions were predicted to be downwind with the Doctor blowing at 15 knots.  In fact the wind never rose above 9 knots and at the halfway mark it switched direction to side-on and there weren't any real runs to give the paddlers assistance.


The line-up at Freemantle Port Beach


After the le Mans-style start (no surf), the four Aussie sprinters blasted off to the turning buoy 1000m out, with Darryl and Oscar sitting on their wakes. 


At the turning buoy the two South Africans took charge in the small run and quickly moved to the front of the fleet.  The two split up, Darryl taking a seaward line while Oscar stayed inshore.  At the halfway buoy Oscar had a commanding lead with Ashley Nesbit and another Aussie paddler.


Oscar - leading at the half-way point


Darryl made a strong push and nearly caught Oscar but Oscar kept his cool and won by about 15 seconds with Ashley in 3rd place, two minutes behind.


Oscar said after the race, "This was very tough.  I only arrived from SA yesterday so I had my doubts how I would go. Daryl was closing fast but I just held on. This was an excellent warm-up for next week's world cup. One thing is I hope the wind blows hard and from the correct direction."


[Editor: Oscar's GPS trace is here.  Note the average speed - 15.1km/h on essentially flat water...]


Oscar's inshore route, courtesy of Google Earth


"I was on a good line," Darryl said, "but then saw Oscar close in shore and realised too late that it was a faster line. I tried hard to catch and was closing fast but the race was just too short. I am happy with my result as Ash Nesbit tied with Dean Gardener in a race about 2 weeks ago and we beat Ash convincingly."


Oscar's father Paul Chalupsky (at age 69) also competed in the race, coming in 40th overall.  


Next weekend's World Cup includes two races: a 25km route from Fremantle Harbour to Sorrento beach on Saturday, followed by a 30km downwind race (if the weather co-operates) from Rottnest Island to Hillary's Marina at Scarborough outside Perth.




Oscar Chalupsky (SA): 1:14:42

Darryl Bartho (SA): 1:14:58

Ashley Nesbitt (Aus): 1:16:40


I couldn't find any info on the race - if someone can send me the URL I'll add it to the story. 


For more on the Australian Surf Ski World Cup, click here. 


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