Sean Rice beats Dawid Mocke in Cape Town Opener

Sunday, 17 October 2010 18:39 | Written by 
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Sean Rice wins... Sean Rice wins... Credits: John Hishin, Cassie Carstens

My heart sank a few days ago when I saw the forecast...  and sure enough, for the first time in six years, the opening race in the Discovery Sunglass Hut series was held on a flat sea, with barely a whisper of wind to help the paddlers.  

Testing Race

The course was run over 2 laps, just over 12km in total, in False Bay from Long Beach, Simonstown.  Short course paddlers (and about 30 SUPs) were sent off first to a single lap; the doubles hit the water five minutes later and the singles in a mass start another five minutes after that.

(This was the grading race – all paddlers are graded according to their results and batch starts are used for the rest of the series...  See for details.)

Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series

Awesome line-up of singles - the doubles and short course paddlers already on the course

I paddled doubles with my training partner Dale Lippstreu – we had a good race considering Dale was feeling the effects of flu and I was suffering from a surfeit of training (thanks Nikki Mocke!)...  Still we overtook several of the other boats and were not overtaken by anyone else...  Haven’t seen the results yet but we came about tenth out thirty-odd doubles.  We can only go up from here!

Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series

Stuffed - after the final 800m interval!

There were some small bumps on the other side of the harbour wall which were rewarding when we were coming back “downwind” – you had to work hard to get onto them, but once the boat was up to speed you could surge from one to the next.  Much more difficult to catch on singles though.

Sean Rice and Dawid Mocke

We were half way back on the second lap when we were overtaken by the lead pair: Dawid Mocke in front, flying at about 15kph, with Sean Rice hanging onto his tail.  Both paddlers looked in phenomenal form and they’d left third-place Graeme Solomon several hundred metres behind (Graeme also passed us before the finish).

In the final sprint to the finish, Rice popped past Mocke and won by a boat length...  a great result for the 21 year old.

The Show

Race organizer Billy Harker puts on a magnificent show at these events – the flags, the marquees, music, the Powerade girls handing out the oh-so-welcome ice-cold bottles at the finish.  The prize-giving was held at the nearby Southern Right Hotel and apart from all the category prizes saw a ton of product being given away (my ticket didn’t come up as usual!).

But the Discovery Sunglass Hut circus has come to town – what a great summer it’s going to be...

Official Race Report

Here’s the official race report courtesy of Gameplan Media...

Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series

And they're away... (blue boat with extinct sponsor stickers... how bad.)

Sean Rice shades world champ in surfski series opener

Cape Town - Sean Rice upstaged world champion Dawid Mocké in a thrilling finish to win the first race of the summer Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series raced in hot flat conditions at Simonstown on Sunday.

Rice went toe-to-toe with Mocké over the two lap race from Long Beach which ended in a thrilling endsprint into the finish which ended with Rice digging deep to snatch victory away from Mocké by less than a ski-length.

Series veteran Graeme Solomon, back home from his world marathon championships campaign with Ant Stott, finished third, having been a distant witness to the final lap dog-fight at the front for the overall honours.

Stoked (super-stoked even!)

"I am super stoked with this win!" enthused Rice, who earlier in the year hit global headlines with a victory at the US Nationals in New York. "Any win over Dawid Mocké is special, so I'll take it gladly."

"I knew that I had to get my nose ahead of him as we turned into the flatwater into the finish," Rice added. "I was thrilled to be able to get ahead and stay there."

"It is a massive confidence booster for me ahead of the Hong Kong Dragon Run and the Dubai Shamaal next month," said Rice.

Lead Group

A fast paced five boat group broke away early on in the race, led by Mocké, Rice and Solomon, with Durban paddler Barry Lewin and local stalwart Tom Schilperoort, as they raced out to the turn at Noah's Ark rock.

Mocké lead a fast paced break which whittled the front group down to three, with Lewin and Schilperoort dropping back into a chasing bunch.

Dawid Mocke and Sean Rice

Dawid Mocke & Sean Rice diced the entire race

"I tried my hardest to get away on the second lap, but Sean Rice stayed with me all the way, and we managed to drop Solomon," said Mocké. "In the last kilometer we were giving each other gears, and he managed to get into the finish ahead of me," he added.

Sean Rice

Sean Rice comes into the finish just ahead of Dawid Mocke.

Women’s Race

Nikki Mocké showed that she has returned to her top form, winning the women's title from Bianca Beavitt, and bringing some consolation to the Mocké household.

Nikki Mocke

Nikki Mocke at the finish - miles in front of the next woman paddler

"That was a proper test of fitness!" said Nikki Mocké. "It was flat and hot, honest and hard. I got a cracker of a start and basically settled onto a bunch with some other guys."

"I feel like I am getting back to where I want to be in terms of fitness," added the Olympian who took a year off to raise their first child in 2009.

A massive field of paddlers took part in the race, raced in mirror like flat conditions and in energy sapping 28 degree heat, most of them eager to secure their grading for the ten race series that lies ahead between now and the end of the year.

The series shifts to Langebaan next weekend for the Driftwoods Lagoon Dash. More information can be found at

Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series



  1. Sean Rice 53:47
  2. Dawid Mocké 53:50
  3. Graeme Solomon 54:38
  4. Barry Lewin 55:40
  5. Tom Schilperoort 56:09
  6. Gary Cromie 56:28
  7. Brandon van der Walt 56:42 (1st Junior)
  8. Alasdair Glass 57:33
  9. Jean Austin 57:38
  10. Ian Trautmann 57:58


  1. Nikki Mocké 1:01:53
  2. Jackie Barnes 1:04:26
  3. Bianca Beavitt 1:04:57




  • Race 2 - 23 Oct - Driftwoods Lagoon Dash
  • Race 3 - 31 Oct - New Balance Fish Hoek Surf Challenge
  • Race 4 - 7 Nov - Discovery Downwind
  • Race 5 - 13 & 14 Nov - KIA SA Ski Champs in East London
  • Race 6 - 21 Nov - Powerade Oceana Race & CPC Qualifier
  • Race 7 & 8 -  27 & 28 Nov - Peninsula Marathon
  • Race 9 - 4 Dec - Peter Creese Lighthouse Race
  • Race 10 - 18 Dec - FENN Cape Point Challenge

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