Dragon Run 2007 - Live Coverage

Friday, 23 November 2007 23:25 | Written by 
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Welcome to Surfski.info's live coverage of the inaugural Dragon Run Surf Ski race in Hong Kong!  According to Windguru, conditions are ideal: 19-20C with a steady NE wind of 11-16kts (20-30km/h).

We'll be doing our normal format - the latest update will appear at the top of this page - and you need to keep refreshing.  (We've been looking into special modules called "shout boxes" but haven't yet found a good one for this kind of application).

Times are Hong Kong local time



Well, I guess that about wraps it up...  I'm all inspired to go do some paddling myself right now!  Thanks to all in HK who gave us the commentary - legend Billy Harker and the unidentified lady who took all the cameraphone images...!  It was a blast.... 

Lewis Laughlin
Tahitian Lewis Laughlin - 2nd in the 2007 Dragon Run

Dawid Mocke
Dawid - smiling! Winner of the 2007 Dragon Run

Unofficial Results:

  1. Dawid Mocke (SA) Fenn Mako6
  2. Lewis Laughlin (Tahiti) Fenn Mako6
  3. Oscar Chalupsky (SA) V10 Super Elite
  4. Dean Gardiner (Aus) Fenn Millennium (to be confirmed)
  5. Ken Wallace (Aus)
  6. Bevan Manson (SA) V10 Ultra
  7. Michael Baker (Aus) Honcho Oceans Pro
  8. Dave Provan (Aus)
  9. Ken Collins (SA)
  10. Rene Appel (HK)
  11. Paul Etherington (HK)
  12. Jon Dingley (HK)
  13. Andy Orr (HK)


  1. Dan Fedoruk
  2. Brian Ho
  3. Andrew Cummings

Dawid Mocke winner of the Dragon Run
Dawid Mocke being interviewed...

Dragon Run finishers
The first bunch cooling down at the finish.


3rd OC1 across the line - Andrew Cummings 

"A couple of bracingly cold Carlsberg beers" have just been delivered to the race boat...!  Billy's well pleased. 


Dan Fedoruk, first OC1 across the line.

2nd OC1 - Brian Ho


Lewis said it was a hard race...

"Dawid was strong the whole way, Oscar was strong too.  I want to congratulate Oscar and Dean, I just tried to hang on.  Congratulations to Dawid - he really deserved this win." 


Rob Wall just came in, wearing headphones... Billy's ripping him "can't hear a thing we say!  What should we say... love the black top!!!!" 


Dawid just spoke to us:

"I had a distinct plan for the race. I wanted to get out ahead from the start - I knew Ken Wallace would go fast from the beach so I planned to hang on to him.  There was rebound chop on the way out - conditions that I love. Very similar to the Millers Run at home when the conditions are easterly."

(Rene Appel just came in in 10th place, Paul Etherington next in 11th.  Jon Dingley in 12th.)

Dawid: "On the downwind section my aim was to be well out in mid-channel, where I knew the fastest water would be from my pre-race recce.  I wanted a lead on Lewis coming into the flat.  The last two km were really tough, I kept looking over my shoulder to see Lewis coming up!"

"I reckon if it had been a few more km, it might have been a second place!"

"It's such a privilege to be here and to be able to tour the world - I just want to thank God that I can use my talents like this."

(Andrew Orr just crossing the line in 13th 21 minutes after Dawid.)

"I'm dedicating this race to Nikki - she lost one of her sponsors for the Olympics and this prize money with the Fenn Hotspot $1000 will make up for it - we're putting the cash towards her trip." 


Dave Proven in 8th; 

Ken Collins coming in 9th?

"I have got to paddle this race!" says Billy.  "Honest slog into the end here." 


I can hear something of what's going on - Billy's put the phone down on the deck...! 

Dawid:"I'm stoked"  (He's being photographed...)

Dawid: "what makes it really nice (the course) is that the downwind is not everything - you've got to hold it together at the end." 


Huge difference between the lead group and the rest of the paddlers.


In 5th place: Ken Wallace (Aus).

6th Bevan Manson (SA); 7th Michael Baker (Aus). 


Dean Gardiner in 4th... 


Oscar next in 3rd place, 1:53 behind Dawid


Lewis in 2nd - 52 seconds behind...  


Dawid has won the inaugural Dragon Race! 


Dawid coming in...

Race for 2nd between Lewis, Dean, Oscar.


In Deep Water Bay now.  The guys are going to paddle into a light headwind on flat water.

Beautiful protected beach about 400m long.  There are permanent shark nets off the beach here.  The VRC (oldest club in HK, 150 years old.)  The bay's surrounded by green, hilly mountains - tropical vegetations with the occasional 50 story building!  In the bay there are massive multi-million dollar yachts...  $1,500 to join the VRC - "old school, quite rustic, wonderful place to be".

Beers are good!  About US$1.30 each - San Miguel beers!  The coffee is more expensive than beer!  

Expensive food though - $100 for a steak & a glass of wine... 

(Waiting for the paddlers...) 


Can't hear a thing save boat & wind noises now - I expect it'll be a few minutes until they're in a position to talk again.  The photos seem to have dried up too...


Daw is now about 1:15 ahead.  Flat water now.  Lewis is 10m ahead of Dean; Oscar on Dean's slip right now.

Ken Wallace next, Bevan Manson, Mike Baker next.

Dawid told Billy that he had a plan, wouldn't say what the codeword was...  Billy says Daw was feeling very relaxed last night...

The escort boat is pushing around the last island to get to the finish in Deep  Water Bay which is a "no-wake" zone...

Looks like it's in the bag - but it's not over till fat lady... etc.

On the last section right now


Looks like Daw has it in the bag.  The next three guys are paddling hard... Another mini "China walls" where the swells are running along the side...


Lewis has left the other guys, has made some ground on Dawid, but Daw is still "at least a minute ahead". 


Boat's moving again - Billy's directing it wide so that it doesn't interfere with the paddlers... boat noise; wind noise, less than 30 minutes to the finish...


Mini China wall vibe here.  The only thing that could stop Daw now is if he gets lost.  Lewis is now in second place.  

Lewis has taken Oscar... 

Dawid is  1:20 ahead, Dean just behind Lewis, Oscar at 1:40, looks as though he's saving something.  Lewis going like a train.

Amazing how the older guys are coming through.

Oscar is working the wall, just caught a good few meters on the other guys, he really knows what he's doing.  Ken Wallace 2:33 



The crew is eating Cadburys Picnic bars while waiting for the skis... Billy just gave me an impromptu advert - seems they're good...

Dawid is still ahead, has maintained his lead, Oscar hasn't made up any time at all.

600m cliff face that you paddle along as you come into the bay.

Actually looks as though Daw has made ground on the rest of the fleet. 


It's about 7km from here to the finish...  The first paddler is coming... 

Perfect downwind conditions here.  Some swell, but more of a wind chop... 

'Satellite Bay'


"The wind is puffing, no error" - 12-15kts now.  Little white horses around.  Very "accessible" race - some confused sea, make no mistake, but not Cape Point.  Very nice downwind race...

The bay is full of boats "I can see about 30 boats - on a Saturday morning"!

Lead boat is coming - they've been great, giving the guys great direction. 


Boat's in position now...  can hear Billy giving directions, a lot of wind noise! 


Oscar has caught level with Dean, Dawid is 150-200m ahead and is looking comfortable.  Looks as though Dean's line wasn't as good.  We're going to get split times at the entrance to Satellite Bay where the runs are flattening out.  Oscar is putting in major effort...


Now on the best downwind section...

Dawid is still ahead, on a great line.  Oscar is on Daw's line, flying.

Dean is on an inside line on flatter water.

Now got: Daw, Dean, Oscar, Lewis, Ken Wallace, Bevan Manson, Mike Baker

If Daw gets to the flatter water ahead of the other two, he should be in good shape.  Going past Satellite Bay now (30 massive satellites on a hill). 

Escort crew

Who's that?

The ship that came through, delaying Oscar


The boat's moving position again - I can hear Billy talking and positioning the boat for the photographer...  He's saying that Oscar's being delayed by the ship (photo coming) may work in his favour - Oscar will be furious and will be putting even more effort. 


Bevan is well ahead of Dave Proven now.  Kenny Collins doing a bit better now.

Conditions are fantastic, wind has picked up a bit, white caps coming up.  Long swells with wind chop on top.  Proper downwind conditions.

(Aside: Billy says there are amazing big buildings here - they're staying on the 50th floor of an apartment block. The building has a huge gap in it - 20 stories - for the dragons to fly through the building from the mountain... Feng Shui...)

Proper South African-style downwind conditions now... 


Drama! Big boat is moving through the race field - Oscar is having to wait for it...  Oscar & Dean are stopped for about ten seconds...  

Dawid is well clear - Dawid was well ahead on the outside line.

Dean had got ahead of Oscar;

Dawid is well ahead - 300m

Oscar & Dean are together

Ken Wallace is further back.  Then Lewis, Mike Baker (on a Honcho ski), Bevan Manson looking better in 6th place  looking very comfortable.


Calling escort boat...

Looks like that might be Dawid...

Bumpy conditions!


Note the bumpy water in the photo of Dawid going around the hotspot buoy... 


Rene Appel, Paul Etherington, Rob Wall and Jon Dingley just went past... the race officials are haring up the course after the leaders now, back in five minutes... 

Dawid winning the hotspot

Traffic going past the paddlers!


Ninth place looks like Ken Collins at the moment...


Looks as though Daw may have taken a good line - the water is slightly less confused where he is... 

Definitely a vibe where some of the guys are taking specific lines either close in or further out.  Waiting for the next three guys.  They're moving incredibly quickly.


Very confused seas, "having to exercise the quads to stay upright," says Billy.  Very bumpy, but runs available.  Dave Proven up near the top guys. 


Bevan Manson is after Mike Baker.

Dawid, Ken, Oscar, Dean, Lewis, Mike Baker, Bevan Manson, another of the Aussies. 

Lewis is in 4th place now; Mike Baker just behind 


Oscar's taking a straighter line 

Dawid won the hotspot comfortable - but Oscar's going very very well on the inside in the runs.

Ken Wallace has fallen back

Dean is pulling up to Oscar - they're together on the inside.

Ken's on one of the new elites.

Daw is going on a wider line - Oscar's about 300m closer to shore.  Oscar's going well. 





Sea's quite lumpy, side on, Dawid is looking comfortable though.  The escort boat has straightened up on the right line now... 


Here they come, looks like Dawid up front - it's a white cap...

The field's quite well spread out already... Daw's got a good gap

2nd paddler -  Ken Wallace 15m back

Oscar 3rd

Dawid taking a wider line downwind. 

Drama - the big escort boat is taking them too wide.  they're chasing

Dean Gardiner, Mike Baker, Lewis following.

Daw taking a very wide line. 


Just got some nice photos of the briefing, etc, stand by 


Billy says there's just enough wind that there's "the hint of a whitecap" on the water... 


Quite a bit of swell, quite confused at the moment - swell direction & wind are perfect.  Visibility is good - nice clear day here.

There are ten ships - from cargo ships to fishing boats to junks around the bay - "may be a factor" says Billy.

The race hired a number of "junks" more like luxury cruise liners, to escort the paddlers.

Billy says there are so many islands here, it's "properly confusing"... 

The race boat is at the Fenn Hotspot now - too far to see who's in the lead so I guess we'll have to wait until the skis get there in 10-15 minutes time.

Billy said that even though the swells are confused, the guys should be getting runs to work all the way out to the buoy...


The boat is going to the Fenn Hotspot - the skis will be there in ten-fifteen minutes...

(The noise from the boat is really bad - I'm not sure that we're going to get great commentary!) 


Race just started.  Just set off.  Heading towards them.  It's beautiful here, conditions perfect.  Amazing setting here, islands everywhere.  Dawid's in the lead off the start.

Here's a photo taken from above the beach where they are right now.  To the right centre, behind the branch is Steep Island.  I'm guessing the guys go to the right of that, around the Fenn Hotspot buoy before turning right downwind...

Dragon Run Map
Dragon Run course map updated


They should be starting round about now - the phone's not being answered right now so I guess they're in the middle of it.


Just spoke to an out of breath Billy Harker!  The race briefing is done - but the race will only start in ten minutes or so...  We'll be talking to Billy's wife, Tracy, for our coverage - they're moving (running!) around to where the escort boat is moored...

Be back in ten!


Race briefing under way.  From what I can gather, the race course now looks like this:

Steep Island - the skis go to the right of it...

Long, fast swells, sounds like ideal conditions for the downwind specialists...  Will we see an upset by the young 19yr old Dave Provan?  Will the oldsters (big O, Dean G) do it again?   


Just spoke to Billy Harker, the Dragon Run race director.  He confirmed that conditions are looking good, the wind perhaps not quite as strong as the forecast, but still 15-20kph with a moderate long swell.  The Fenn Hotspot has been moved a little further out to a point 3.5km and this will be used as a turning mark for the guys to turn downwind .

Right now the paddlers are warming up and will be coming ashore for a briefing in about ten minutes time.

He estimates that the start will be at around 10h35 local time!


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