Hill rules waves in epic Doctor race

Cory Hill on his way to winning the race from Rottnest Island to Sorrento last Saturday. Picture: Nick Thake
Cory Hill on his way to winning the race from Rottnest Island to Sorrento last Saturday. Picture: Nick Thake

ABOUT 350 competitors lined up on skis, stand-up paddleboards (SUP), outriggers, sea kayaks and doubles to take on the 26.5km 2015 Epic Kayaks Doctor race last Saturday.

Paddling from Rottnest Island to Sorrento on November 28, athletes and punters alike were greeted with perfect downwind conditions with 20-plus knots of south to south-west wind blowing through from 11am.

In the elite men’s ocean ski event, Cory Hill, from the Gold Coast, cemented his position as Paddler of the Year after taking the $3000 first prize by 17 seconds.

By doing so, he added the Doctor title to a host of others he has won this season, including the Molokai World Championships, the ICF World Championships and 2015 World Series crown.

“This year has been unbelievable,” Hill said. “Never did I think I could win one of the big races.

“I am so humbled and lucky to have won so many races this year. Everything just clicked.”

The South African Mocke brothers, Jasper and Dawid, looked to be battling for first and second for much of the way taking a more direct line to the Centaur Marker off Trigg point, 6km from the finish.

Hill took a longer and less effective south route into the Scarborough, but climbed and clawed his way back to the front, paddling past the Mockes in the dying stages getting his average speeds up to 20km/h.

By defeating three-time champion Jasper Mocke and 2010 champion Dawid Mocke he became the first Australian to win the race in four years.

Despite being in the mix at halfway, Queenslander Michael Booth faded to hold on for a fourth and Perth’s Reece Baker finished fifth.

In the hotly contested women’s ocean ski event, Kiwi Teneale Hatton dominated the race.

She was threatened early by South African Michele Burn but paddled away to emerge the winner by 90 seconds.

Since her win at the recent ICF World Championships, Hatton has been back in the kayak aiming to qualify for the 2016 Kiwi Olympic team for Rio.

“I went out hard and took the hotspot early on,” she said. “From there I focused on my GPS tracking to the centaur mark and focused on not missing a runner.

“The race was great and the conditions were perfect– it’s a great way to end a jam-packed year of racing.”

In an all-overseas podium, Kiwi Rachel Clarke finished in third. First Australian across the line was Tash Leaversuch. In the elite SUP category, Sunshine Coaster Matt Nottage was a surprise winner in the men’s 14ft division. He beat the more experienced duo of Gold Coaster Beau O’Brain and Hawaii-based Travis Grant in a tightly fought battle.

“I can’t believe I won,” Nottage said.

“The other boys were so strong however I held my line further to the south and managed to sneak past them coming into the centaur mark.”

From there Nottage was able to hold off the fast finishing Grant to take his first cloak and the race record in 2:08:20.

In the women’s division, Central Coaster Terrene Black dominated in winning the event by 11 minutes from Belinda Stowell-Brett.

Director of the event and paddling enthusiast Dean Gardiner said he couldn’t have been happier with the event.

“Everything just ran so smoothly; there was an awesome vibe and the wind was unreal,” he said.

The Doctor is held annually in November.