2012 Steelcase Dragon Run: Tim Jacobs Retains Title, Naomi Flood wins

Sunday, 11 November 2012 05:16 | Written by 
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Tim Jacobs Tim Jacobs Credits: Barbara Yendell, Michaela Mocke

Yeah, it was alright mate!” said Tim Jacobs.  “I relaxed until Nine Pins and then seem to find a nice rhythm.  I got ahead of the rest of the guys and never saw them again.”  He looked as though he'd just been for a quiet walk in the park - not as if he'd just won a 23km race on flat water against the best surfski paddlers in the world...

Hot, Calm, Grueling

At home in South Africa I’d been watching the Accuweather website, and, two weeks ahead of the race they’d called a calm day for the Steelcase Dragon Run.  Entreaties to various wind gods finally resulted in a gentle easterly that at least cooled us down on the way out to the turning point at Nine Pins Island.

Clearwater Bay to Nine Pins

It wasn’t a false start – but the adrenalin fuelled paddlers crept over the start line and slowly cruised out of sight…  and had to be called back to try again.  But the start was clean, on flat water in the shelter of Clearwater Bay, and the front group of Mocke, Mocke, Hill, McGregor, Jacobs, et al rocketed off towards the Hong Kong Paddler hotspot at the Nine Pins.

Dragon Run Race Start

The front group pass by Steep Island on the way to Nine Pins

“The races these days are all like that,” said Jasper Mocke.  “The guys kill themselves for the first 8km and then it’s a question of who can keep going for the rest of the race.”

Fishermen and Barges

As I approached Steep Island, I heard yelling and spotted a tiny fishing boat – and an upturned surfski.  The yelling was coming from the paddler, who’d caught a fishing line on his rudder.

It was a funny scene actually – the bemused fisherman was sat there, helpless, surrounded by passing surfskis, at least six of which hooked themselves up on his anchor rope…

Two km further on, and a massive lump of rusty crane barge appeared, travelling deceptively quickly from left to right across the course.  Some race officials in an escort boat were waving flags and directing us left.  Any thought of trying to sprint between the barge and its tug was erased by sight of the towing cable as it emerged, dripping, from the water.  Get hooked up on that, and it would spoil your whole day. 

The barge crosses the course

The race leaders cross in front of the tug

The barge


The barge heaves into view - there was a massive set of cables connecting the two vessels

One of the victims of the hiatus was Michele Eray: Naomi Flood had been just far ahead enough not to be affected by the barge; and by the time Eray had negotiated her way past, Flood had an unassailable lead.

Naomi Flood

Naomi Flood 

Nine Pins to the Kissing Whales

Approaching Nine Pins I paddled across to a media boat.  “Cory Hill took the hotspot,” someone yelled. 

Cory Hill

Cory Hill takes the Hong Kong Paddler Hotspot at the Nine Pins

As I went through the gap, the cooling headwind disappeared and a blanket of smothering heat took its place.  My heart sank at the thought of the next 10km; in this heat I’d melt…

At the front of the race, already half way to the Kissing Whales rocks at Cape D’Aguilar, Tim Jacobs had made his move.  His strategy of conserving energy had paid off and, putting a sequence of runs together, he broke away into a substantial lead.

“I lost concentration for a moment,” said Dawid Mocke.  “One second he was right there to one side of me; the next I looked up and he was way out in front.

“I ran out of energy,” he went on.  “Cory Hill passed me, then Grant, then Hank.”

Tim Jacobs

Tim Jacobs strokes past Cape D'Aguilar with an unassailable lead

Hank McGregor overtakes Dawid Mocke

Hank McGregor overtakes Dawid Mocke

Matt Bouman and Sean Rice

Matt Bouman and Sean Rice power past Cape D'Aguilar

Bad Visibilty

For the first few km from Nine Pins, there wasn’t much help from the waves. The watchers on the escort boats said the paddlers visibly wilted as they contemplated the hot grind in front of them. 

I saw a line of paddlers ahead, veering right towards the harbor – I’d put the coordinates for the Kissing Whales into my GPS and followed the pointer to the left.  Visibility was down to about 4km so it was some time before the distinctive shape of the Kissing Whales loomed out of the murk.

I was watching my GPS winding down the distance – after each km I’d dip my cap in the sea and scoop some cooling water over my head.  But as we got further down the course, sets of small runs started to come through; they were at just the right speed that if you put in a small effort you could catch them and if you kept ticking over, you could keep boat speed up and link from wave to wave.  One or two of those, and you’d drop the paddlers around you.

By the time we reached the Kissing Whales, I was feeling much better – there’s nothing like catching other paddlers for upping morale…

Naomi Flood

Naomi Flood makes her way past the Kissing Whales rocks

Michele Eray

Michele Eray came second

First double ski

Oscar Chalupsky raffled a place in his double - and won the race with Shaky Kumta!

Karel Tresnak jr


Hawaiian Karel Tresnak jr won the OC1 race

Kissing Whales to Stanley

The last leg from the Kissing Whales to the finish was a killer – flat and hot.  A ski came past, and I made the beginner’s mistake of not immediately hooking on to his slipstream as he put in an interval to catch up to the group in front.  Then I watched as they worked together, taking turns to pull towards the finish.  Paddling on your own is much more tiring!

At the front of the race, Tim Jacobs had maintained his easy, powerful rhythm to take the race by 30 seconds.  A furious dice for second and third had developed however, with Grant van der Walt and Hank McGregor pushing past a tiring Cory Hill who ended up fourth.  Dawid Mocke cemented his position at the top of the Oceanpaddler World Rankings with his fifth position.

Although Michele Eray made up some of the lost ground, Naomi Flood was never really threatened and finished some 52 seconds ahead of the South African.  Ruth Highman came third.

“I had a great race,” said Highman.  “I was so stoked to be as close as I was to Michele.”

Great Organisation - great race

As for me - I ended up having a ball.  At times, admittedly I was in a whole world of pain, but the course being what it is, there's almost always a distraction - whether it's the frequent landmarks (Sharp Island, Nine Pins, Kissing Whales) or the changing sea state, there's always something happening.

The race organisation was impecable - as always.  From the logistic nightmare of moving 200 paddlers and their craft to the start to the delicious food courtesy of the sponsors (one of the advantages of having a restaurant chain as a sponsor!), it all seemed to work like clockwork.  

"This race, along with the Doctor," said Jeremy Cotter, "are without doubt the races to come to.  The competition is just outrageous."

A hearty thanks to organisers - and the friendly Hong Kong paddlers who always show their vistors such warm hospitality. Rock on!

Full Results

NameCountryDivisionOverall PlaceTimeModelCategory Place
Tim Jacobs AUS SS1-MALE 1 01:34:01 Nelo - OceanSki 1st SS1-M
Grant van der Walt ZAF SS1-MALE 2 01:34:30 Epic-V14 2nd SS1-M
Hank McGregor ZAF SS1-MALE 3 01:35:00 Fenn-Elite-SL 3rd SS1-M
Cory Hill AUS SS1-MALE 4 01:35:24 Epic-V14 4th SS1-M
Dawid Mocke ZAF SS1-MALE 5 01:36:21 Fenn-Elite 5th SS1-M
Sean Rice ZAF SS1-MALE 6 01:36:26 Think - Uno Max 6th SS1-M
Jeremy Cotter AUS SS1-MALE 7 01:36:58 Fenn-Elite SL 7th SS1-M
Matthew Bouman ZAF SS1-MALE 8 01:37:23 Epic-V14 8th SS1-M
Jasper Mocke ZAF SS1-MALE 9 01:40:20 Fenn-Elite SL 9th SS1-M
Michael Booth AUS SS1-MALE 10 01:41:13 Think - Uno Max 10th SS1-M
Greg Tobin AUS SS1-MALE 11 01:41:45 Think - Uno Max 11th SS1-M
Walter Bouzan Sanchez SPN SS1-MALE 12 01:42:53 Nelo - OceanSki 12th SS1-M
Sam Fuller AUS SS1-MALE 13 01:43:37 Fenn-Elite SL 13th SS1-M
Andre Santos POR SS1-MALE 14 01:44:56 Nelo - OceanSki 14th SS1-M
Dean Little AUS SS1-MALE 15 01:45:09 Fenn-Swordfish 15th SS1-M
Dane Sloss AUS SS1-MALE 16 01:46:27 Other 16th SS1-M
Dean Beament AUS SS1-MALE 17 01:47:35 Fenn-Elite SL 17th SS1-M
Ryan Lysaught AUS SS1-MALE 18 01:48:59 Epic-V10 18th SS1-M
Stewart O'Regan AUS SS1-MALE 19 01:51:36 Think - Uno Max 19th SS1-M
Naomi Flood AUS SS1-FEMALE 20 01:51:46 Fenn-Elite SL 1st SS1-F
Rene Appel HKG SS1-MALE 21 01:52:33 Epic-V12 20th SS1-M
Michele Eray ZAF SS1-FEMALE 22 01:52:38 Nelo - OceanSki 2nd SS1-F
Steve Taylor HKG SS1-MALE 23 01:53:09 Fenn-Swordfish 21st SS1-M
Ruth Highman AUS SS1-FEMALE 24 01:53:15 Epic-V10 3rd SS1-F
Shaky Kumta/Oscar Chalupsky ZAF SS2-OPEN 25 01:53:53 Epic-V10 Double 1st SS2-O
Bill Barff TAH SS1-MALE 26 01:54:11 Epic-V12 22nd SS1-M
Hitomu Onizuka JPN SS1-MALE 27 01:54:17 Think - Uno Max 23rd SS1-M
Robert Kawai HKG SS1-MALE 28 01:54:22 Fenn-Elite SL 24th SS1-M
Jarryd McDonnell AUS SS1-MALE 29 01:55:33 Epic-V12 25th SS1-M
Karel Tresnak USA OC1-MALE 30 01:56:18 Other 1st OC1-M
Fung Wan Him HKG SS1-MALE 31 01:56:47 Epic-V10 26th SS1-M
Jason Cunningham AUS SS1-MALE 32 01:57:15 Fenn-Elite SL 27th SS1-M
Jon Dingley/Paul Dingley HKG SS2-OPEN 33 01:57:24 Epic-V10 Double 2nd SS2-O
Shun Shirahata JPN SS1-MALE 34 01:57:40 Think - Uno Max 28th SS1-M
Futoshi Kikuchi JPN SS1-MALE 35 01:57:43 Think - Evo 29th SS1-M
Graham Groeneveld AUS OC1-MALE 36 01:57:53 OC - Pueo 2nd OC1-M
Richard Eadie AUS SS1-MALE 37 01:58:24 Epic-V10 30th SS1-M
Boris Manzewski HKG SS1-MALE 38 01:59:05 Fenn-Elite SL 31st SS1-M
Jake Hamstra HKG SS1-MALE 39 01:59:17 Fenn-Swordfish 32nd SS1-M
Takuya Akiyama JPN SS1-MALE 40 02:00:01 Think - Evo 33rd SS1-M
Gerg Wood HKG SS1-MALE 41 02:00:39 Epic-V12 34th SS1-M
Andrew Lawson HKG SS1-MALE 42 02:00:53 Think - Legend 35th SS1-M
Andrew Watts HKG SS1-MALE 43 02:01:10 Epic-V10 36th SS1-M
Chan Man Chun/Li Yin HKG SS2-OPEN 44 02:01:42 Epic-V10 Double 3rd SS2-O
Kenny Kaneko JPN OC1-MALE 45 02:02:33 OC - Pueo 3rd OC1-M
Mouden Angie FRA SS1-FEMALE 46 02:03:27 Custom Kayaks 4th SS1-F
Nathan Purll AUS OC1-MALE 47 02:03:36 OC- Fuse 4th OC1-M
Matt Bennet HKG SS1-MALE 48 02:03:49 Epic-V10 Sport 37th SS1-M
Simon Zeng/Douglas Woodring HKG OC2-OPEN 49 02:04:34 Other 1st OC2-O
Uli Gwinner HKG SS1-MALE 50 02:04:53 Epic-V10 38th SS1-M
Kim Bingham AUS SS1-MALE 51 02:04:57 Epic-V10 39th SS1-M
Neil Smith HKG SS1-MALE 52 02:05:00 Fenn-Swordfish 40th SS1-M
Xen Gladstone HKG SS1-MALE 53 02:05:06 Think - Evo 41st SS1-M
Yusuke Goseki JPN SS1-MALE 54 02:05:30 Think - Evo 42nd SS1-M
Anna Mathisen HKG SS1-FEMALE 55 02:05:43 Think - Evo 5th SS1-F
Rob Mousley ZAF SS1-MALE 56 02:06:09 Think - Evo 43rd SS1-M
Nick Barnes HKG SS1-MALE 57 02:06:35 Epic-V10 44th SS1-M
Pat Cody AUS SS1-MALE 58 02:06:38 Epic-V10 45th SS1-M
Trevor Groeneveld AUS OC1-MALE 59 02:06:55 OC - Pueo 5th OC1-M
Derek Mabbott AUS OC1-MALE 60 02:07:08 OC - Hurricane 6th OC1-M
Camille De Carmejane HKG SS1-FEMALE 61 02:07:11 Nelo - OceanSki 6th SS1-F
Connell Weston HKG SS1-MALE 62 02:07:15 Fenn-Elite SL 46th SS1-M
Rob Schlipper HKG SS1-MALE 63 02:07:19 Epic-V10 Sport 47th SS1-M
Tematuanui Thierry Delamare HKG OC1-MALE 64 02:07:44 OC - Fusion 7th OC1-M
Kerry Davenport/Linda Ng AUS SS2-OPEN 65 02:07:52 Epic-V10 Double 4th SS2-O
Kenta Shimizu JPN SS1-MALE 66 02:08:33 Think - Evo 48th SS1-M
John LaGrassa AUS SS1-MALE 67 02:08:43 Fenn-Swordfish 49th SS1-M
Jeremy Woodall HKG SS1-MALE 68 02:08:56 Think - Evo 50th SS1-M
Nick Jaffe HKG SS1-MALE 69 02:09:07 Think - Evo 51st SS1-M
John Violett HKG SS1-MALE 70 02:09:24 Epic-V10L 52nd SS1-M
Michael Giblin USA OC1-MALE 71 02:09:56 OC - Storm 8th OC1-M
Lara Wozniak HKG SS1-FEMALE 72 02:10:20 Epic-V10 7th SS1-F
Adrian Zuber SGP SS1-MALE 73 02:10:50 Epic-V10L 53rd SS1-M
Robert Buckley SGP SS1-MALE 74 02:10:54 Epic-V12 54th SS1-M
John Meagher AUS SS1-MALE 75 02:11:12 Epic-V12 55th SS1-M
Craig Nortje HKG SS1-MALE 76 02:11:52 Epic-V10 56th SS1-M
Derek Callow NZL OC1-MALE 77 02:11:55 OC - Pueo 9th OC1-M
Toukan Sergei RUS OC1-MALE 78 02:12:03 OC - Pegasus 10th OC1-M
Henry Ludemann HKG OC1-MALE 79 02:12:07 OC - Pueo 11th OC1-M
Jason Henchman HKG SS1-MALE 80 02:12:43 Fenn-Elite SL 57th SS1-M
Kristen Marin HKG SS1-MALE 81 02:12:50 Epic-V12 58th SS1-M
Scott Dale/Vincent Vauicelle HKG OC2-OPEN 82 02:12:59 OC- Huki 2nd OC2-O
Adam Giles HKG OC1-MALE 83 02:13:43 OC - Pueo 12th OC1-M
Bruce Seymour HKG SS1-MALE 84 02:14:52 Think - Ezy 59th SS1-M
Lee Ngo Yin/Tso Him Leong HKG SS2-OPEN 85 02:15:45 Epic-V10 Double 5th SS2-O
Ashford Kerr HKG SS1-MALE 86 02:15:50 Fenn-Swordfish 60th SS1-M
Steve Dyer SGP SS1-MALE 87 02:15:57 Epic-V12 61st SS1-M
Igor Gavrilov RUS OC1-MALE 88 02:16:56 OC - Hurricane 13th OC1-M
Mandy Shannon AUS OC1-FEMALE 89 02:17:15 OC - Hurricane 1st OC1-F
Kevin Kelly HKG OC1-MALE 90 02:17:32 OC - Pueo 14th OC1-M
Joe Zhou CHN SS1-MALE 91 02:17:53 Epic-V8 62nd SS1-M
David Taylor HKG SS1-MALE 92 02:18:04 Think - Evo 63rd SS1-M
Robert Palmer SGP OC1-MALE 93 02:18:07 OC- Huki 15th OC1-M
Greg Farls HKG SS1-MALE 94 02:18:10 Epic-V10 Sport 64th SS1-M
Euan Beer SGP OC1-MALE 95 02:18:27 OC - Pueo 16th OC1-M
Marcelo Rosas HKG OC1-MALE 96 02:18:36 OC - Pegasus 17th OC1-M
Jonathan Rakes SGP SS1-MALE 97 02:18:59 Epic-V10 Sport 65th SS1-M
Christian Brun HKG OC1-MALE 98 02:19:10 OC - Pueo 18th OC1-M
Shawn Bruins HKG OC1-MALE 99 02:19:20 OC - Pueo 19th OC1-M
Robert Stevenson HKG SS1-MALE 100 02:19:28 Epic-V10 Sport 66th SS1-M
Petra Schuler SGP OC1-FEMALE 101 02:19:52 OC - Pueo 2nd OC1-F
Petc Arkadii RUS OC1-MALE 102 02:20:24 OC - Pueo 20th OC1-M
Lydia Ronnenkamp AUS OC1-FEMALE 103 02:20:30 OC - Pueo 3rd OC1-F
Dominic Froehli CHE OC1-MALE 104 02:20:48 OC - Pegasus 21st OC1-M
Hiroto Makiguchi JPN SS1-MALE 105 02:21:18 Epic-V10 67th SS1-M
Alexander Radchenko RUS OC1-MALE 106 02:22:03 OC - Camanu 22nd OC1-M
Phil Rowland HKG SS1-MALE 107 02:22:15 Epic-V10 Sport 68th SS1-M
Laura Ediger HKG OC1-FEMALE 108 02:22:19 OC - Pueo 4th OC1-F
Kauhisa Tanaka JPN SS1-MALE 109 02:22:32 Think - Ezy 69th SS1-M
Justin Crawford HKG SS1-MALE 110 02:22:45 Think - Evo 70th SS1-M
Sam Head AUS SS1-MALE 111 02:24:25 Fenn-Elite SL 71st SS1-M
Jonathan Odell HKG SS1-MALE 112 02:24:30 Epic-V12 72nd SS1-M
Gina Miller HKG SS1-FEMALE 113 02:24:33 Epic-V10 Sport 8th SS1-F
Satoshi Tamura JPN SS1-MALE 114 02:24:53 Think - Ezy 73rd SS1-M
Denes Szaszak HUN OC1-MALE 115 02:25:18 OC - Kaolele 23rd OC1-M
Marek Michalewicz SGP SS1-MALE 116 02:26:08 Fenn-Mako XT 74th SS1-M
Vichou Katerina HKG OC1-FEMALE 117 02:26:14 OC - Hurricane 5th OC1-F
Masaru Tamura JPN SS1-MALE 118 02:26:19 Fenn-Mako XT 75th SS1-M
Jiebin Mao CHN SS1-MALE 119 02:26:41 Epic-V10 76th SS1-M
David Murray HKG SS1-MALE 120 02:27:01 Epic-V10 Sport 77th SS1-M
Jeff Winterkom HKG OC1-MALE 121 02:27:12 OC- Huki 24th OC1-M
Laborie Yannick HKG OC1-MALE 122 02:27:58 Other 25th OC1-M
Elita Seow/Tera Glenn HKG OC2-OPEN 123 02:28:05 OC- Huki 3rd OC2-O
Neenajdatt Soman HKG SS1-MALE 124 02:28:46 Epic-V8 78th SS1-M
R.C.A. Peverelle HKG SS1-MALE 125 02:28:56 Epic-V12 79th SS1-M
Pete Grout HKG SS1-MALE 126 02:29:04 Epic-V10 80th SS1-M
Daryn Steains AUS SS1-MALE 127 02:29:49 Epic-V12 81st SS1-M
Clarissa Becker HKG OC1-FEMALE 128 02:29:52 OC - Pueo 6th OC1-F
Lister Woo HKG OC1-MALE 129 02:30:41 OC - Storm 26th OC1-M
David Mccann HKG SS1-MALE 130 02:31:00 Epic-V8 82nd SS1-M
Pun Ka Leung HKG SS1-MALE 131 02:31:07 Epic-V10 83rd SS1-M
Naomi Kobara JPN OC1-FEMALE 132 02:31:30 OC - Sting Ray 7th OC1-F
Jason Taper HKG SS1-MALE 133 02:32:02 Epic-V8 84th SS1-M
Manfred Albrecht SGP OC1-MALE 134 02:32:24 OC - Storm 27th OC1-M
Toby Lawson HKG SS1-MALE 135 02:32:34 Think - Evo 85th SS1-M
Tony Simpson HKG SS1-MALE 136 02:33:07 Epic-V10 Sport 86th SS1-M
Adam Lavis HKG SS1-MALE 137 02:33:10 Think - Evo 87th SS1-M
Brandon Walker Viuhkola HKG OC1-MALE 138 02:33:20 OC - Hurricane 28th OC1-M
January Krish Briones Migalbin SGP OC1-FEMALE 139 02:34:10 OC - Hurricane 8th OC1-F
Sara Jordan HKG OC1-FEMALE 140 02:35:53 OC - Storm 9th OC1-F
Yukiko Yasumoto JPN OC1-FEMALE 141 02:36:20 OC- Huki 10th OC1-F
Hongtao Li CHN SS1-MALE 142 02:36:45 Epic-V8 88th SS1-M
Rybinin Yrii RUS OC1-MALE 143 02:37:46 OC - Zephyr 29th OC1-M
Alexander Melvichenko RUS OC1-MALE 144 02:38:08 OC - Pueo 30th OC1-M
Martha Levin HKG OC1-FEMALE 145 02:38:11 OC - Hurricane 11th OC1-F
Janice Lim/Rebecca Dempster SGP OC2-OPEN 146 02:40:28 OC - Sting Ray 4th OC2-O
Machiko Kageyama SGP OC1-FEMALE 147 02:42:36 OC - Scorpion 12th OC1-F
Alasdair Grant AUS OC1-MALE 148 02:44:28 OC - Storm 31st OC1-M
Leslie Shaffer SGP OC1-FEMALE 149 02:44:38 OC - Hurricane 13th OC1-F
Anthony Steains HKG SS1-MALE 150 02:44:38 Epic-V10 Sport 89th SS1-M
Murray Mackenzie ZAF SS1-MALE 151 02:44:38 Fenn-Mako XT 90th SS1-M
Andrew van Hasselt HKG SS1-MALE 152 02:44:38 Epic-V8 91st SS1-M
153 02:44:38 #N/A
Adam Fahey AUS SS1-MALE DNF DNF Think - Uno Max DNF
Patrick Maloney HKG SS1-MALE DNF DNF Epic-V12 DNF
Dean Gardiner AUS SS1-MALE DNF DNF Fenn-Elite SL DNF
Robin Tedder AUS SS1-MALE DNF DNF Epic-V10 DNF
Pazych Maxim RUS SS1-MALE DNF DNF Epic-V12 DNF
Ushakov Sergei RUS OC1-MALE DNF DNF OC - Osprey DNF
Wayne Adams AUS SS1-MALE DNF DNF Epic-V12 DNF

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