January 12, 2012: You wouldn’t blame Gold Coast-based ski paddler
Bruce Taylor if he still had nightmares of Tim Jacobs coming from the
clouds to claim victory in last year’s dramatic finish to “The Doctor “–
Australia’s biggest and most successful ocean ski paddling event.
The pair will re-kindle their rivalry when over 400 paddlers from Australia and around the world, converge on Perth next weekend for the 10th anniversary of ‘The $30,000 Doctor Ocean Paddling Event’ on Saturday and Sunday, January 21 and 22.
Saturday will feature the Ocean Skis, surf skis (traditional surf lifesaving skis), Plastic skis and kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards and Paddleboards while Sunday will see the Finn Kayaks Coastal Challenge – a teams and relay race from Fremantle to Sorrento – involving most of Saturday’s competitors.
Taylor, one of Australia’s most celebrated surf lifesaving board paddlers, had dominated the downwind 27.5km ski paddling course from Rottnest Island to Sorrento Beach and looked set to claim his first major ocean ski race victory.
But Jacobs – a 10 year veteran of ocean ski paddling from Freshwater in Sydney, is a man who is never beaten.
The 34-year-old experienced ski man kept grinding away, working every swell and every runner to draw level with Taylor as the pair went stroke for stroke in the paddle towards the Sorrento shore.
It was Jacobs who edged out Taylor in a heart-stopping sprint finish when the pair jumped off their skis and ran towards the finish for Jacobs to claim the race named after the famed sea breeze “The Fremantle Doctor”.
Taylor admitted last year’s heart-breaking second place has made him just as determined to reverse the result in 2012, despite his indifferent recent form.
“Thoughts of what happened last year certainly does make you determined to go back and win the thing and I will be looking to make every post a winner again,” said Taylor, who will head to Sydney this weekend for Saturday’s Fenn Cup race on Sydney’s North Beaches.
“I certainly revel in the downwind, choppy surf conditions rather than the flat conditions and I’ll be looking towards The Doctor as a race to get some confidence back into my paddling.
“It is a race that tests your surf skills and that is something that I certainly pride myself in as an ocean ski paddler after achieving all my goals in surf lifesaving.
“I also enjoy racing in Sydney and will use Saturday’s Fenn Cup as a perfect hit out before heading over to Perth next week.”
Taylor will be joined in Sydney by his Currumbin-based training partner, former Queenscliff and Northcliffe ironman Jeremy Cotter, who will return to his home beaches looking for a similar warm-up for his tilt on The Doctor.
Cotter, 32, a two-time winner of the 20 Beaches Ocean Ski event, admitted he will be much fresher for his assault on this year’s Doctor after a “disastrous race” in 2011.
Like Taylor, Cotter has been the bridesmaid in 2009 to Olympic legend Clint Robinson and in 2010 to South African world champion Dawid Mocke.
“I was burnt out last year and in hindsight probably shouldn’t have raced but this year I feel like I’m rejuvenated and ready to give it a shot,” said Cotter.
“I had a good hit out last week in a race at Currumbin and it feels like I’m just starting out again which is a good feeling.”
This year’s ocean ski event has attracted eight of last year’s top ten - Jacobs, Taylor, Dawid Mocke, his brother Jasper Mocke, Dean Gardiner, another famed South African Matthew Bouman, WA’s Reece Baker and former Cronulla ironman Nathan Smith.
The Starboard sponsored Stand Up Paddle division will see Hawaiian teenager, Molokai Channel winner Connor Baxter, Australia’s noted waterman and Molokai paddle board legend Jamie Mitchell and Currumbin’s outstanding SUP and OC1 paddler Travis Grant head an all-star cast of SUP competitors as they chase the $10,000 prize pool.
ALL INTERVIEW REQUESTS: Ian Hanson (0407) 385 160