Dawid Mocke wins Man Dragon Run - Commentary

Saturday, 22 November 2008 03:12 | Written by 
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Here's the transcript of our live commentary of the 2008 Man Dragon Run in Hong Kong this morning.  Our commentator in the escort boat was Mark Dahl.

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Preamble

10:33:03 Good morning world!

10:34:59 Picking up with our commentator Mark Dahl

10:36:49 Stronger wind than last year - crosswind for the first 7 km

10:37:24 temp is 21C, humidity 66% - sounds ideal

10:37:43 They're unloading the boats now & getting ready...

10:38:46 It's going to be very interesting to watch what happens during the first ten minutes of the race; Dawid told me that the first 7km are going to be crucial - and he expects the race to be set in that time.

10:46:43 Mark Dahl and James Shortis are our contacts in Hong Kong this morning.

10:50:56 The skis are all off the trailer; the start boat has arrived; the guys are all checking their last minute settings.

10:52:07 The guys will have to manoeuvre past the shark nets to get to the start - in 1995, there were 4 attacks by Zambezi Sharks...

10:52:40 On the RHS, there are golfers playing on the nearby course. It's overcast, the guys are warming up

10:53:28 Oscar: 20kts on Wang Lee Pt. Swell is 2.1m. 200m of flat water then there are runs. The conditions are fantastic

10:54:42 Dean Gardiner: looks pretty good... Cotter is the form paddler, definitely take the hotspot.

10:55:12 Briefing is starting.

10:56:04 There's a 45ft Chinese junk marking the Fenn hotspot at nine pins Island

10:56:33 Force 6 strong wind offshore; force 5 inshore. Hazy out to sea.

10:57:18 There will be bumps all the way

10:57:59 88 paddlers counted so far; check out with Andy Orr or you won't get a finish!

10:58:38 Hong Kong windsurfer champs going on - their buoys are cylindrical; ours are square!

10:59:05 Don't go into the windsurfer area - you'll get killed!

10:59:40 Start in fifteen minutes...

11:00:23 Commentator is off around to the boat as well now - we'll be live in fifteen; that's at ten past the hour

11:01:10 So... Oscar is very confident - he had a training session with Dawid two days ago. Daw said O is going very well

11:02:06 The poll we did on surfski.info shows Dawid to be the firm favourite - over 60% of people said they thought he'd win

11:02:18 Oscar is favourite to come second.

11:02:56 On the other hand, the Aussies all reckon Jeremy 'Jazza' Cotter is the man to beat from their point of view

11:03:59 Next week is going to be fascinating though - both Tim Jacobs and Hank McGregor are focussing on Dubai and neither wanted to come to HK... we'll be running another poll (competition in fact) to predict the winners in Dubai

11:04:48 But today's conditions sound ideal for Oscar & Dean... any chance they'll come through? Dean has been very near the front in the recent races in Oz...

11:10:48 The big photographer's rubber duck is there, photogs getting ready.

11:11:27 Ooops... commentator is having difficulties getting hold of the escort boat! "Tension Building" he says!

11:12:32 All the skis are on the water now - making their way out beyond the shark nets to the start (you can see the shark nets in the photo...)

11:13:15 Not like South African or Aus shark nets - these ones are held up by a floating pipe - you can't paddle over them

11:13:54 Any predictions for the Fenn hotspot? My money on Dawid Mocke

11:14:24 OK, we're calling our man on the water...

11:14:44 (You can even see the shark nets on google earth.)

11:16:05 Hm... there seems to be a slight hitch with the escort boat; looks as though there may be a slight delay with the start...

11:17:07 They're walking through a fisherman's village... looking for the boat. Just been smiled at by a woman wearing silver teeth and not much else...

11:20:01 The other boat is on its way - will be a few minutes

11:20:49 Graham Uden, the photographer said that last year the guys were all getting seasick on the escort boat - said he had more vomit than spray on his lenses...

11:22:41 Mark says he reckons the start will be at 10h30 - 10 to 15 mins time

11:25:34 We're looking at Oscar's training run on the course a couple of days ago - on google earth.

11:26:30 check it out - the link is coming up. O said he wasn't sure where he was in the haze - you can see where he was going off course! No doubt he was chasing runs too.

11:28:27 Mark is sounding a little frustrated - the press boat is leaving but the escort boat hasn't arrived yet!

11:32:59 The escort boat has arrived and the guys will be boarding in the next few minutes. Then it's around the headland to the start. They reckon the race will start at about 10h35

11:37:44 So, interesting conditions for the first 7km out to the nine pins - side wind but runs going with the course.

11:38:45 Paddlers moving towards the line

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Start

11:39:34 they're off

11:40:25 (Just calling Mark back)

11:40:50 Field is spreading out quickly into two groups.

11:41:59 Escort is too far to identify paddlers at this point, but they are in two groups, the stronger paddlers in a big bunch

11:42:50 boat going ahead of the field to get into a better pos

11:43:09 6 paddlers in a break-away on the right; 3 on the left

11:43:16 SA v Aus?

11:44:10 Eight paddlers in front; two further back

11:44:26 Dawid, Clint, Aus paddler in the front group

11:45:41 Oscar is on the left in his black bomber

11:47:33 One clear leader out in front, one behind, three boats, Oscar is at the back of teh lead pack of 7; then 8th & 9th boats, then big gap to teh rest of the field

11:50:13 The escort is battling to identify the paddlers

11:50:34 Dawid is leading at the moment.

11:51:05 Clint Pretorius, 30m behind Dawid. Dawid is behind someone else

11:51:23 Oscar is now 50m behind the leader

11:51:37 Tom Schilper behind Oscar

11:52:08 Probably Jeremy Cotter in front -no 7

11:52:37 Conditions - getting more rough; they're going past the first island, wind much stronger

11:52:57 Roughly 15kt of wind

11:53:08 Some good swell, the downwind will be great.

11:53:29 Dawid is now in the lead by half a boat length

11:54:00 Aus boat in second place - must be Jeremy Cotter - neck & neck with Dawid

11:54:34 Escort is moving ahead

11:54:49 Daw plus Jazza 40m ahead

11:55:24 then a group of paddlers, catching runs, some guys dropping their paddles on teh runs

11:55:48 Cotter (definitely) is ahead of Daw now - they're really battling it out

11:56:25 Conditions superb - wind coming from left front, but they are catching runs

11:56:49 They're just past the first island in teh photo there

11:57:04 Jeremy & Dawid neck & neck, Daw now ahead

11:57:59 Second group has about 4 boats then a space, 2 more boats, Oscar is taking a different line - he's lying about third at the moment. He's on his own on the right hand side.

11:58:20 you can see nine pins in the photo - that's where the turn is

11:58:31 lost contact with the boat...

11:58:56 They're getting closer to nine pins

11:59:41 Jeremy back in lead, then Daw, then Oscar has dropped off a bit

11:59:58 About 1.5km from ninepins island

12:00:48 Brett tyack (aus) in 3rd, Clint 4th, then Oscar, Mark Anderson, Tom Schilperoort

12:01:01 Daw a boat length behind Cotter

12:01:35 Jeremy opening a lead, but Daw is coming back on a run

12:01:52 No sign of Dean at this point

12:03:11 Dawid is now leading, Cotter with him, not much in it

12:03:42 50-60m to the next bunch of Brett & Clint, then Mark A, then Oscar

12:04:03 Steve Woods, then Tom S.

12:04:34 Dean Beament is there; then Dean Gardiner

12:04:59 Dean also taking a wide line like Oscar. Oscar making ground on the other paddlers still in 5th place

12:05:30 Wind a little stronger, not so much in the way of runs now, just grinding into the wind

12:06:09 Tom S, Steve Woods together

12:06:46 Oscar has fallen back a little bit. The front two are opening up a sizeable lead

12:07:50 Escort is moving to the front again to get to the Fenn hotspot - couple of minutes away

12:08:47 Dawid and Jeremy going flat out for the hotspot. Jeremy is in the lead at the moment by 2 boat lengths

Fenn Hotspot

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12:09:07 Jeremy Cotter takes the Fenn hotspot

12:09:17 Dawid second around the buoy

12:09:45 The two front runners are well ahead of the following pack

12:10:29 Next three paddlers: Clint P, Brett Tyack one length behind, 5 lengths, Mark Anderson, 1.5 lengths Oscar Chalupsky

12:10:33 Dawid and Jeremy have split up, they're 150m apart, Jeremy on the right. Taking different lines

12:10:43 Lots of big swell and bumps to ride.

12:11:19 Next up, 25m behind, Steve Woods (SA), Tom Schilperoort (SA); Tom looking comfortable

12:11:37 Then Dean beament, 15 boat lenghts, Dean Gardiner

12:12:15 Now there's a significant gap of 400m or so to the next 3 or 4 paddlers

12:12:56 Escort moving up to find the leaders, we'll call them back in a few minutes

12:13:26 So, does Jeremy Cotter have the skill to stay up there in the runs?

12:14:01 And what about Oscar and Dean now - in the past they'd be the favourites in these conditions, but these days, there are so many guys good in all conditions.

12:15:46 The race is about 23km long; they've covered a third of the distance.

12:16:08 Back to the escort...

12:17:27 The guys are now into the runs, heading with the wind down towards the finish...

12:18:58 Dawid said the first 7km were key to this race - it'll be interesting to hear afterwards if he was right.

12:20:07 200m back are the rest of the fleet. jeremy's paddles are down, he's on a great run, riding it.

12:20:59 Two boats in sight behind the leaders. The swell is quite big - 2-3m, wow, great conditions.

12:21:30 The two leaders are neck & neck; Jeremy is a little ahead at this point.

12:22:17 Dawid has been paddling this route for the last couple of days, may be going left to catch the current. Jeremy must be careful not to have to go left to get around the cape.

12:22:46 Oscar plus one other 100-150m back on the right hand side.

12:23:24 Top 4 as we have them: Dawid & Jeremy in 1st & 2nd, apart so can't tell who's in front.

12:23:58 Oscar and Brett Tyack next

12:24:51 So top 5 are: Dawid, Jeremy, Oscar, Clint, Mark Anderson

12:25:06 Oscar enjoying the runs - putting his paddles down to conserve energy.

12:26:03 30m behind Oscar is Steve Woods. Oscar & Steve are on the right. Dean Beament and Deano also on the right.

12:26:45 Cape D'aguillar ahead - big headland.

12:27:15 Dawid on the left of Jeremy; Oscar and the rest more to the right.

12:28:24 Oscar on another run, paddles down - Oscar is a master at conserving energy in downwind conditions.

12:28:46 Going back to the leaders

12:29:01 Field is widely spread out now

12:29:27 Container ship just went past - oscar was nowhere near it this year...!

12:29:54 Dawid is still to the left of Jeremy

12:30:45 The escort can see jeremy now - where's dawid?

12:30:58 Daw & Jeremy 250m apart. Jeremy on a runner; difficult to say who's leading

12:32:13 Oscar is now in 3rd place clear - and he's gaining ground

12:32:53 The escort is going out to Dawid

12:33:53 jeremy is now ahead by some 4-5 boat lengths

12:34:57 Clint has come back into the race - back is on a much wider line

12:35:33 Oscar and Clint neck & neck but about 300m apart.

12:36:18 Clint is on the same line as Dawid on the right, may be 10 lengths back. Higher stroke rate

12:36:42 About 1.5km from Cape D'Aguilar

12:37:12 Jeremy is still ahead - it all comes down to the approach to Cape D'Ag

12:37:25 Dawid looks a bit tired?

12:37:39 Maybe saving energy for the last section?

12:38:01 Brett Tyack is quite far back from the leaders now

12:38:38 The field is very fragmented; Oscar on his own now to the right; Oscar's made up more ground on the leaders

12:39:04 Steve Woods also on the right about 15lengths behind Oscar

12:39:33 Dean Gardiner about 20 lengths behind steve woods also on the right.

12:40:30 Mark Anderson and Dean Beament about 15 lengths behind Dean G

12:41:11 From Cape D'Aguila to the finish is about 5km - on smaller bumps

12:42:17 We'll have contact with the escort boat again in about 3 minutes. Have Oscar & Lightee still got time to reel in the leaders?

12:43:39 At this point it looks like: Jeremy Cotter, Dawid, Oscar, Clint, Steve Woods, Dean G, Mark A, Dean B

12:44:37 Billy H is not there this year

12:44:55 Calling the escort...

12:45:37 The leaders are getting closer to Cape D'Ag... will Dawid's line pay off?

12:46:46 We can hear the whoops as the escort boat goes over the waves "damn, that's the work phone just got wet!"

12:46:58 They're going to call us from Cape D'Ag when they get there - and will talk us through the top places.

12:49:14 Jez to Oscar: 100-150m

Cape D'Aguila to the Finish

12:51:13 Skis are about 400m from Cape D'AG; paddlers coming towards the escort

12:51:41 Two skis approaching

12:52:14 Dawid is leading

12:52:41 Jeremy is definitely in second

12:52:55 Then Clint P, 15 boat lengths behind Dawid, 5 behind Jeremy

12:53:33 Conditions are flatter around the corner

12:54:01 Dawid is about ten lengths ahead now.

12:54:55 Dawid, Jeremy, Clint, Oscar, Steve Woods 6 lengths back from O, Brett Tyack 4 lengths back

12:55:55 Lost comms... aaargh

12:56:28 Mark A next, then Dean Beament

12:57:30 Leaders are now into the flatter conditions on the way to the finish, straight run towards the big satellite dishes.

12:58:05 Flatter, but there are still small bumps, the wind is still good

12:58:41 On the RHS, Dean G, Dean B, Mark A

12:59:26 Still Dawid, Jeremy, Clint, Oscar, Steve Woods, Brett Tyack

13:00:21 Clint right up now - now it's a three horse race

13:00:37 Now it's Dawid and Clint neck & neck, then Jeremy Cotter

13:00:46 Oscar seems too far behind

13:01:09 Jeremy seems to have dropped back about 20 boat lengths behind now

13:01:47 Clint and Daw are about 50m apart, both riding the runs

13:02:26 Dawid & Clint, then Jeremy, then Oscar, Steve Woods, Brett,

13:02:47 About 4km to go

13:02:59 Hectic paddling at the front; Daw on a run, paddles down

13:04:52 Looks like Jeremy is on a tighter line; Dawid & Clint about 300m from the buoy in Stanley Harbour entrance

13:05:57 Skis are coming towards the escort, Jeremy has caught up to Clint & Daw

13:06:34 Looks like they're about 50m apart in a triangle formation, they're getting closer

13:07:30 Dawid is 5-6 lengths ahead of Clint; Jeremy blown completey off now - 20 lengths behind. Daw paddles down coming up to the buoy, now turning towards the finish about 3km away

13:08:10 Clint about 20 lengths behind Daw; Jeremy another 20 lengths back

13:08:30 Jeremy having problems with his rudder 

13:09:08 Escort moving up front

13:10:20 About 2km to go, Dawid is well in front now

13:10:25 Well done Daw, Clint, Jeremy, Oscar

13:10:50 Now Steve Woods - in 5th spot

13:10:52 finish is on main Stanley Beach

13:11:47 Lot of people on the beach watching wind surfing

13:12:35 Photographers want to get on shore to film the finish. No puking this year, well done guys

13:13:40 The finish is between a buoy and the pier

13:14:55 Dawid was looking "so strong"

13:15:09 The two front skis are coming closer

13:15:35 Still one paddler clearly out in front - it's Dawid, looking very good.

13:16:33 Dawid has won!

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13:16:54 Clint 8 lengths back...

13:17:03 Dawid first, Clint Pretorius second

13:17:20 Jeremy now in third

13:17:33 Jeremy very frustrated

13:18:56 Oscar Chalupsky in 4th spot

13:20:37 Next paddler: Brett Tyack in 6th place

13:21:59 Daw says it's the closest race he's had since 2004 - Clint was only 15sec back

13:22:11 Dean Beament now in

13:22:39 Daw said he was finished at the last buoy, but caught a couple of small runs and got ahead

13:22:58 Oscar: left myself too much to catch up

13:24:10 Oscar: probably took not the greatest line. Hard work the whole way; went too easy in the middle section.

13:25:11 Dean Beament was in 7th

13:25:30 8th boat coming in now - Tom Schilperoort

13:27:47 Trying to get to talk to Dawid again

13:34:15 Jeremy says his rudder jammed with 30min to go. "Really sucks, because I was winning at that point"

13:36:26 Clint: Awesome race, very technical downwind paddling

13:37:39 Daw, Clint, Cotter, Oscar, Steve W, Brett T, Mark A, Dean Beament, Dean G, Tom S,

13:37:51 Michele Eray just finished

13:38:16 11th Karl Treacher

13:38:58 12 Oliver Burn, 13 Jackson English, Rene Appel, Jon Dingley, Rob Wall

13:39:11 Richard Eadie

13:39:32 Michele Eder coming in - second woman

13:40:08 Karel Tresnack Jr won the OC-1 race

13:40:30 Paul Etherington (HK) just finished

13:41:12 Dawid said the runs were quite slow & difficult - clearly required huge skill to ride.

13:41:59 Scott Callender just finished, long break now to the next group

13:42:26 Dawid said his left hand line paid off

13:42:52 Jeremy Cotter's rudder jammed 30 mins before the end and he could only turn one way.

13:44:16 Michelle Eray finished in 22nd place in 2 hours flat

13:45:22 Dawid finished 1:37

13:52:29 Michelle: it was a really tough race

13:52:58 Michelle: It didn't feel as though there was any wind in the channel at all - catching big ocean swells, hard work.

13:53:59 Michelle: think I was tired from the travelling

13:54:48 Michelle: conditions were challenging - lost of refracted waves, messing things up. Probably would have been a better line out to sea

13:56:22 Michelle: I was cramping quite badly; wasn't as hard as last week's race though (Michelle thumped the other women in the 35km SA Champs last Sunday).

Provisional results

  1. Dawid Mocke (SA) 1:37
  2. Clint Pretorius (SA)
  3. Jeremy Cotter (Aus)
  4. Oscar Chalupsky (SA)
  5. Steve Woods (SA)
  6. Brett Tyack (Aus)
  7. Mark Anderson (Aus)
  8. Dean Beament (Aus)
  9. Dean Gardiner (Aus)
  10. Tom Schilperoort (SA)
  11. Karl Treacher (Aus)
  12. Oliver Burn (SA)
  13. Jackson English (Singapore)
  14. Rene Appel (HK)
  15. Jon Dingley (HK)
  16. Rob Wall (HK)

Michelle Eray (SA) won the women's race, followed by Michelle Eder (SA).

We'll have photos, audio interviews and video up later... Stay tuned!


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