Man Dragon Run Lead up...

Friday, 21 November 2008 11:53 | Written by  Karl Treacher
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[Editor: Our man on the ground, Aussie Karl ‘Jackal' Treacher gives us a heads-up on tomorrow's race in Hong Kong...]

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Greeted by a good weather forecast, a top field and a sound organizing committee & team, tomorrow's Man Dragon Run has the makings of a fine event. The top 8 places are sewn up. The only question remaining is ‘in what order?'.  The eight I speak of is: Deano, Cotter, Ando, Tyack, Beament (Australia) & Light-wash (Pretorius), Oscar, Dawid and Woody (South Africa).

Yesterday I paddled with Dawid and Oscar, today with Dean ‘the silverback' Gardiner and the Aussie crew. Expectations are high from both camps...and from both Manufacturers. From the eight names above, all but one (and you know which one) are padding Fenn Elites, and it seems that tomorrow's competition is fiercely alive on a few levels:

  • The obvious - Australia Vs South Africa [Editor: in a display of gung ho, the Aussie skis are apparently all sporting the Australian flags! Go boys!]
  • Fenn Vs Epic
  • Warhorse Vs Warhorse

Course & conditions

...but first a little about the course and conditions...

The course is simple...7 km from the start is the Fenn Hotspot. This 7km is paddling across a 20knot side wind with 2.2m swell.  After the Fenn Hotspot, we turn a buoy next to an island and run downwind for 10km. The last 5km are in very small - flat water. Surprisingly, the conditions are somewhat challenging. There is so much traffic and wave refraction / backwash that the word ‘wobbly' is being used often and in a few languages. There are runs going in every direction and the course favours the stronger and more skilled paddler. The paddler who sees the sneaky, semi-invisible runs will prevail tomorrow. The last 5km will also be an advantage to the ‘harder' men in the field. (N.B. Before you start yelling ‘sexist Aussie pig' at your screen, be aware that there is only 1 female surf ski in tomorrow's race.)

Aus V SA

It is anyone's call.  [Editor - but see the poll results below!]

Fenn V Epic

The laws of probability are stacked in Fenn's favour

Warhorse V Warhorse

I am of course referring to Oscar and Dean. It is the battle of the barbarians...yet again. Both are recognised as the best ever downwind paddlers (in some instances even self-proclaimed...regularly), and both lay legitimate title to being surf ski hall of fame founders.

Dean is in shape, as seen by a solid performance in Sydney a few weeks back, when he finished 2nd to Tim Jacobs and dusted a form field. I know for a fact that he did a 20km paddle into a 30knot head wind a week before the race. I expect a very good result from the Man who is commonly heard singing Neil Diamond (badly...think injured, tone deaf gorilla) as he tears up a downwind effort.

Oscar also looks fit. I don't know if the big fella is on weight watchers, or if he hasn't eaten a carb in 3 months, but whatever the story, he is looking chiselled and strong.

The countdown...

As we all head off to sleep tonight, a certain 8 guys are all wondering if tomorrow they will be the one to beat the dragon...give me a break, everyone loves a Hollywood ending. Cheese is the apparently the new cool, so ‘chillax' and stay tuned...

The poll

We ran a poll (and being surfski.info, it was at the last minute!).

Dawid Mocke is the favourite to win the race by far...  here are the results as at 17h30 South African time.  We'll see if things change at all over night.

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Bearing in mind that the poll has only been running since this morning South Africa time:

Dawid Mocke is the overwhelming favourite with 73% of readers predicting that he'll win.  The next four places are anyone's guess with Oscar Chalupsky, Clint Pretorius, Jeremy Cotter, Dean Gardiner and Steve Woods all in the mix.

Click here for the up to date poll results

Tune in tomorrow - 03h30 South African time (aaaaargh!).  We'll have live commentary going...  along with lots of coffee!


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