2017 World Champs - Dragon Run - your thoughts?

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  • Brett McDonald previous forum name :Pilbaralad
6 years 2 weeks ago #30377 by AR_convert
Interested to hear everyone's thoughts on the Champs?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the social media updates from friends and official pages in the leadup and the coverage has taken another step up. Was especially impressed with the range of the drones during the womens race. The paddlers interviews through the race were also great although there were technical issues with volume not matching the broadcast. The tracking was also a fantastic tool to be used with the video footage.

I thought the choice of course was an interesting one for a World Champs.
The term "Downwind" is synonymous with surfski yet this course was a true test of ocean racing. (Almost like sailing with 3 distinct legs off different directions)

As Cory highlighted, they ( ski paddlers in his part of Australia) do a lot of upwind paddling.
Does the ICF stick with using historical event courses that in some years favor some of the worlds paddlers and other years favor others, or come up with a formula for conditions?

I wouldn't be surprised to hear a lot more talk around what is the best type of course for a World Champs and some introspection (as if there isn't already around governance) on what the future should look like.

Both Mens and Womens starts looked to be a shambles. Ocean skis just don't lend themselves to jumping into given the need for leg leashes and their extremely light layups at the elite end.

I bet there were a few women marathon paddlers around the world watching the coverage yesterday and wondering if they should have tried to qualify (maybe that's a good thing for the growth of the sport)?

Always looking for the next boat :)

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6 years 2 weeks ago #30379 by [email protected]
The starts are a never-ending challenge for surfski racing.

I have no idea what Kenny Rice's problem was except that it appears that his race was ruined by a bad start. Given his outstanding performance in spite of that, it seems clear to me that he'd have been a contender for the title if he'd had a clean go.

The only consistently good starts that I've seen in any kind of rough water/windy conditions have been wet starts - i.e. on the water, in a constrained area between buoys, heading into wind. The top seeds are put in the front row with everyone else behind.

That way there's no problem with leashes, falling off, non-seeds knocking into seeds, etc.

But I guess the ICF still has to learn some of these things. (And even the best, most experienced event organisers still cock it up on occasion.)

Other thoughts?
  • The video and commentary were great. Compelling stuff.
  • I agree that the course was great - different, testing conditions on each leg. I don't see the ICF doing anything else than leveraging off existing races for the foreseeable future - but I think they need to do their best to ensure that racing continues to be open ocean/rough water events with, but not limited to downwind conditions for at least a sizeable chunk of the course.


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6 years 2 weeks ago #30383 by Cryder
I was there, just got back. The course is a neat course, and conditions were nothing short of testing on what is already considered a technical course. Day of race: wind 25 gusting to 35, 6 to 10' wind waves on top of 6' to 8' swell... at 8 seconds period. Very few white horses, but step jelly water all around. White knuckle conditions that kept every paddler I talked to honest; from the elites, locals to novice related they were paddling all out (either to keep speed or keep upright) and that it was huge. Even Oscar said similar.

The start was a total cluster f$3k, and it ruined my race as well (took a shot to the footwell from a paddle that severed my rudder cable!). From what I hear, that is not what the race organizer wanted to do - but it was a predetermined decision from the ICF that had to be seen through - no matter what.

Otherwise, the race was well run. The location is mind bending, Hong Kong is just hard to fathom... especially for a guy who's allergic to cities. but it does grow on you.

In terms of race starts, I have to say that the system Carter used at the Gorge is just ideal (if you are there!): A rolling start at 5mph with two support boats on each side of the line. You jump that line, you are DQ'd or severely fined.

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6 years 2 weeks ago #30386 by Scode
Overall a great event for the Asian region. Some of the young Hong Kong kids that have pretty much only paddled K1s are super keen to get into Ocean Paddling after taking part last weekend. They are already inquiring about buying ocean skis.

The sport is growing at a steady pace in China who sent down a big contingent and they have a surf ski series up there now to grow the sport.

We had a team of six sent over from Chinese Taipei who had never paddled in the ocean before and are super keen to try more. Incidentally Taiwan has some serious wind pretty much all year round and if we can get some skis in their hands they have proper downwind conditions to paddle in all year round.

To the races.

Sadly for the ladies it was hot, flat long grind however the mens race threw up some amazing conditions that tested your all around capabilities.

No, it wasn't all downwind like Tahiti but you you couldn't have a weakness in any part of your game. In the end the cream rose to the top. The Top 10 men have been the best ocean paddlers going around for a while now and this race was no different.

Cory and Hank seem to duke it out at every race they meet at. Jasper showed he is back close to his best and Kenny Rice is knocking on the door and is certainly a chance of winning any race he enters from here on in.

Oscar C at 54 continues to amaze to finish 15th overall but for the first time, probably ever, was not the first Oscar to cross the line. A 17 yo Aussie kid by the name of Oscar Jones showed maturity and speed beyond his years to cross the line 12th overall. For me that was the paddle of the day. This lad has a massive future as do the top five or six Under 18s.

The rise of the Euro nations is growing with many of the top 20 from these nations. Olympic flat water paddlers turning their attention to ocean racing and doing well will give this sport more exposure than its had previously. Every little bit helps.

As has been stated prior - Race starts are the biggest headache for organisers. It was unfortunate that it was high tide at the race start as it left not much beach to work with but I still cant work out why they didn't have a deep water start. Clearwater Bay lends itself perfectly for what Rob described above. Its an into the wind start. Go figure!

The Trac Trac while good needs improvement with the signals dropping out regularly. I know the organisers were not happy with how spotty their coverage was.

The live pictures were great and I hope it just keeps on getting better. With the advancement in drones Im sure we will see an even better coverage at the next WC.

Overall a very successful event to promote surf ski to the World.

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