Hill and Laird win in Close Racing in Perth

Friday, 22 November 2019 01:28 | Written by 
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Cory Hill wins the second Sunset Surfski Series Race in Perth, stretching his lead in the overall Shaw and Partners WA Race Week standings Cory Hill wins the second Sunset Surfski Series Race in Perth, stretching his lead in the overall Shaw and Partners WA Race Week standings Credits: Alese Watson

In a thrilling display showing just how competitive the men’s surfski field has become, the first five places were separated by just 30 seconds…  And in the women’s race, a tight finish saw the newly arrived defending champion, Georgia Laird, take the win.


The 15-20kt SSW wind had made for easy to use conditions, creating a chop more aligned with the coastline than on Tuesday evening.

At briefing the paddlers were warned that the shore break at City Beach was a little friskier than it had been on Tuesday.

Late Arrivals

Several athletes made their debuts on the Shaw & Partners WA Race Week stage, including last year’s Doctor winner, Georgia Laird, and Kenny Rice, runner up at the 2018 ICF Ocean Racing World Championships who joins current World Champion Sean Rice.

Hot favorite for the Doctor, Danielle McKenzie, also flew in but chose not to race.


In spite of there being 323 craft on the start line, over 100 more than on Tuesday, the paddlers got away cleanly at the start, straight through a set of waves that arrived on cue as the horn sounded.

Like a surfski magnet, the turn buoy seemed to suck in a massive group, paddles clashing, the air turning blue with cursing, but eventually everyone managed to get past, turning right and onto the runs.


A race of two halves

While there were runs (Aussies call them “runners” or “skates”) all the way, the chop jacked up in the second half, offering faster splits. 

I took a line much closer to the beach this time, and had a blast, finding it easier to put sequences together than on Tuesday.  My time was over a minute quicker and I achieved my overall goal of overtaking at least some of the other paddlers.

Women’s Race

Jordan Mercer and Georgia Laird blasted off the start and got to the turn buoy first, with Teneale Hatton on their outside.

Mercer and Laird traded wave for wave down the course, with Nixon slightly further out while Jemma Smith was on a line closer to the beach.  Close to the finish, Laird caught a run on the outside that gave her a slight gap on Mercer.

Georgia Laird

Georgia Laird

“By then the boys had caught up,” said Mercer, “which always complicates things.”

The race then became a dice for third place and Mercer rounded the groyne just in front of Nixon who took third place.

“You don’t often get a second shot at a race,” said Mercer, “but that’s what this race was, and I was pleased to be able to work on a few mistakes that I made on Tuesday. 

“I took confidence from this race,” she said, “I felt I was working with the ocean a lot better.”

jordan hayley

Jordan Mercer finished 10 seconds in front of Hayley Nixon after a close dice to the beach

Nixon’s third position extended her lead in the women’s points table for the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week.

“I had a great race," she said. "I knew what I needed to do, very happy with the result."

Men’s Race

Just three seconds separated the top three finishers in the men’s race with the next two finishing less than 30 seconds later.

In a virtual repeat of Tuesday’s race, Cory Hill, Tom Norton and Jackson Collins diced wave for wave the entire 11km from Port Beach to City Beach.  Hill shot around the groyne in first place and sprinted up to take his third victory this week.

Just behind him, Norton arrived on the beach in second position, but the younger Collins legs were too strong and he surged past Norton to take second.

“I hate running,” laughed Norton.  “Jackson was just too fast.”  The two men were separated by less than a second.

South African Nicholas Notten arrived in fourth, a nose in front of Sean Rice. 

“I was much happier with that,” said Sean Rice.  “I had a great race.  Very happy.”  Rice, now living the UK, is the current ICF Ocean Racing World Champion.

sean rice

Sean Rice

Travis England surf

Travis England was one of many paddlers to make a less than perfect landing at City Beach!


Shaw and Partners WA Race Week


The race was the second event in the Shaw and Partners Race Week in Perth, Western Australia.

The week-long festival comprises:

  • Sunday, 17 Nov: Fenn West Coast Downwinder
  • Tuesday, 19 Nov: Ben Hewitt Sunset Surfski Series Race
  • Thursday, 21 Nov: Ben Hewitt Sunset Surfski Series Race
  • Friday, 22 Nov: The Shaw and Partners Dash for Cash
  • Saturday, 23 Nov: The Shaw and Partners “The Doctor”

The $100,000 prize pool comprises:

  • Shaw and Partners Dash for Cash: $15,000
  • Shaw and Partners “The Doctor”: $50,000
  • Shaw and Partners WA Race Week series overall: $35,000

Click here for the latest series points scores

Summary Results

(Click here for the full results)


PosNameTimeCategoryCat PosTime Behind CatStateCountryPointsPace
1 Cory HILL 40:06.4 Ski Open 1   Queensland AUS 500 3:38 min/km
2 Jackson COLLINS 40:09.1 Ski Open 2 00:02.7 New South Wales AUS 490 3:39 min/km
3 Tom NORTON 40:09.4 Ski Open 3 00:03.0 Queensland AUS 482 3:39 min/km
4 Nicholas NOTTEN 40:37.8 Ski Open 4 00:31.4 Western Cape RSA 476 3:41 min/km
5 Sean RICE 40:38.4 Ski Open 5 00:32.0 Middlesex GBR 472 3:41 min/km
6 Michael BOOTH 41:11.3 Ski Open 6 01:04.9 Western Australia AUS 471 3:44 min/km
7 Kendrick LOUIS 41:18.7 Ski Open 7 01:12.3 New South Wales AUS 470 3:45 min/km
8 Brendan RICE 41:29.1 Ski Open 8


Western Australia AUS 469 3:46 min/km
9 Shannon ECKSTEIN 41:39.5 Ski Open 9 01:33.1 Queensland AUS 468 3:47 min/km
10 Noah HAVARD 41:42.8 Ski Under 19 1   New South Wales AUS 500 3:47 min/km


Pos Name Time Category Cat Pos Time Behind Cat State Country Points Pace
45 Georgia LAIRD 45:26.1 Ski Open 1   Queensland AUS 500 4:07 min/km
50 Jordan MERCER 45:51.7 Ski Open 2 00:25.6     490 4:10 min/km
51 Hayley-Jo NIXON 46:01.8 Ski Open 3 00:35.7 KwaZulu-Natal RSA 482 4:11 min/km
52 Jemma SMITH 46:14.4 Ski Open 4 00:48.3 New South Wales AUS 476 4:12 min/km
55 Teneale HATTON 46:34.0 Ski Open 5 01:07.9 Auckland NZL 472 4:14 min/km
59 Rachel CLARKE 46:49.3 Ski Open 6 01:23.2 Auckland NZL 471 4:15 min/km
70 Ana SWETISH 48:11.5 Ski Under 19 1   Washington USA 500 4:22 min/km
74 Bonnie HANCOCK 48:28.6 Ski Open 7 03:02.5 Queensland AUS 470 4:24 min/km
101 Aya OKANO 50:39.5 Ski Open 8 05:13.4 Western Australia AUS 469 4:36 min/km
114 Shannon REYNOLDS 51:25.0 Ski Open 9 05:58.9 Western Australia AUS 468 4:40 min/km

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