“Doctor” Robinson Smashes the Field (** Updated: Pics **)

Saturday, 17 January 2009 06:08 | Written by 
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The resurgence of Australian surfski paddling continued today in Perth as Aussies took first and second place in near perfect racing conditions.  Three time Olympic medalist Clint Robinson won by an extraordinary distance with Jeremy Cotter (Aus) and Dawid Mocke (SA) dicing for second and third.

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Tense Commentary

Surfski.info was there virtually and posted continuous live updates on live.surfski.info.   The race was fascinating to follow and it seemed anyone's game up to the mid-point when Robinson finally blew the rest of the field out of the water and into the stratosphere...

The Fenn Hotspot

The $1,000 Fenn Hotspot buoy was situated some 400m from the start.  Hank McGregor (SA) and Dawid Mocke (SA) shot off the line - but Aussies Jeremy Cotter and Clint Robinson were close behind.  By the time they reached the buoy, Robinson was in front with Cotter and Reece Baker (Aus) in second and third place.

Into the Runs - the First Half

The weather wasn't quite as good as had been predicted - but a healthy 10-15kt southerly wind, combined with a 1m SW ocean swell made for fabulous racing conditions.  With the race course in and ESE direction, the paddlers had the wind at around 45 degrees over their right shoulders and had to focus hard on working all the time to the right so as not to be blown off course.

A buoy was set in mid-channel and all the paddlers had to go around it before heading across to the finish at Scarborough.

Almost immediately Anton Erasmus, our spotter on the escort boat yelled, "Dawid has gone way south - he's on the right line; Clint Robinson is on a terrible line - he's too far north."

Robinson was leading a big bunch of other paddlers - including Hank McGregor, Tim Jacobs and Jeremy Cotter.

"We were going alright," Robinson said afterwards. "We were doing about a Molokai pace though and when I saw that I was on the wrong line, I did an interval to make sure I got to the buoy before Dawid."

Hank McGregor and Tim Jacobs were so focused on marking each other meanwhile, that they didn't immediately notice when Robinson veered south.  By the time they realized what was happening they had to paddle almost directly into the wind to get to the buoy - game over.

Sprint to the Finish

Robinson passed the buoy about 200m in front of Mocke.  Jeremy Cotter, having followed Robinson, found himself 100m further back. 

"I caught Dawid just after the buoy," he said, "and we had a great dice from there to the finish."

Robinson meanwhile found the increased pace "quite easy" and kept his foot down for another fifteen minutes or so, building a massive lead on the other paddlers.  "When it was obvious that no-one was near me," he said, "I relaxed and just had fun the rest of the way."

The escort boat followed Robinson for a while and cameraman Greg Kitto took what promises to be some great video footage of Robinson catching the runs.

"It's incredible," enthused Anton Erasmus.  "He's just so efficient on the waves.  Just a regular stroke, one, two, three and the speed that he's doing!  You will love this footage!" 

Looking back the escort boat could see no other skis - it was game, set and match to Robinson and he won the race by an astounding 3:19 in a time of 1:24:43.

Meanwhile Cotter and Mocke were trading the lead as they caught consecutive runs.  Cotter made no mistake at the beach and took second place in 1:28:02 with Mocke nine seconds behind.

Dawid Mocke's Take on the race

"Clint was unbelievable," said Dawid Mocke.  "He was on completely the wrong line at the beginning and yet still pulled it out of the hat!

"My race went really well," he continued.  "This is my fourth time here and I'm really happy to be on the podium for South Africa. 

"It just shows how paddling is becoming so much more competitive - there's no clear dominance at the moment, the quality of the whole field has improved immensely.  It's a pity though that there weren't more South African paddlers here today.  Clint Pretorius would have loved these conditions!

"Conditions were very technical: you had to catch a run and immediately pull right.  It was very difficult to get a rhythm going.  The line was absolutely critical and because of the smog you couldn't see the Observation City building which most guys use to get their bearings.  So the use of the GPS was critical."

He went on to praise the race organization.  "Superb - very much on a par with what we do in SA - there were banners everywhere; the start was perfect; the briefing was excellent; great product sponsors and the Western Australian Government involvement was great.  Without doubt this is one of the premier events in the series."

Women's Race

Katie Pocock (NZ) left the starting blocks like a rocket with Kirsty Holmes (Aus) in hot pursuit.  They diced the whole way across, Katie eventually taking the race by just over half a minute in a time of 1:46:12.

Last Word

Clint Robinson has been back in a ski for only five weeks, following a long layoff after the Beijing Olympics - and the arrival of a newborn!

"My next goal is Molokai," said Robinson.  "I know it won't be so easy - there will be Lightee (Clint Pretorius) for one thing and that ugly fellow Chalupsky!" 


Photos & Video

Here are some pics - hoping for some video in the not too distant future!

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Full Results courtesy of BlueChip Timing


Latest Forum Topics

Tips to increase paddling angle? (11 Posts)

2 days 15 hours ago

Pos

Name

Time

Cat Pos

Gender

From

km/h

1

Clint ROBINSON

01:24:43

1

Male

Australia

16.3

2

Jeremy COTTER

01:28:02

2

Male

Australia

15.7

3

Dawid MOCKE

01:28:11

3

Male

South Africa

15.7

4

Murray STEWART

01:28:37

4

Male

Australia

15.6

5

Reece BAKER

01:28:37

5

Male

Australia

15.6

6

Kurt TUTT

01:29:03

6

Male

Australia

15.5

7

Matt REES

01:29:17

7

Male

Australia

15.5

8

Dean GARDINER

01:29:42

8

Male

Australia

15.4

9

Tim JACOBS

01:30:05

9

Male

Australia

15.3

10

Caine ECKSTEIN

01:30:24

10

Male

Australia

15.3

11

Hank MCGREGOR

01:31:17

11

Male

South Africa

15.1

12

Ben ALLEN

01:31:56

12

Male

Australia

15

13

Dave KISSANE

01:32:00

13

Male

Australia

15

14

Ashley NESBIT

01:32:13

14

Male

Australia

15

15

Mark MINCHIN

01:33:20

15

Male

Australia

14.8

16