Ocean paddle race series joins The Doctor

The finish line of the2018 The Doctor race. Picture: John Sullivan
The finish line of the2018 The Doctor race. Picture: John Sullivan

THE iconic Doctor surf ski race will become a week-long affair with the introduction of a series of five ocean paddle races surrounding the event, creating a prize purse of $100,000.

The Doctor is a 27km paddle race from Rottnest Island to Sorrento Beach, which will be held on Saturday, November 23.

It is expected to attract 450 competitors, most competing on surf skis but there are categories for stand-up paddleboards, outrigger canoes and prone paddleboards.

Competitors are already registered from South Africa, America, England, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Portugal as well as hundreds from interstate.

The start of the 2018 The Doctor race. Picture: John Sullivan

The WA Race Week new initiative will start on Saturday, November 16 with West Coast Downwind followed by the Sunset Surf Ski Series with race one on November 19 and race two on November 21.

There will also be the Dash for Cash on November 22 with a $15,000 prize before The Doctor on November 23, which has a $50,000 prize purse.

There is an additional $35,000 in bonus cash and prizes for points scored across all five events.

Race director, nine-time paddle world champion and Ocean Paddler owner Dean Gardiner said since The Doctor’s inception in 2002 there had never been a bigger field or such a big prize pool.

2018 The Doctor winner Cory Hill. Picture: John Sullivan

“We’ve made it really attractive for competitors to travel to Perth to compete by clustering five events in the space of a week and increasing the prize pool made possible thanks to the support of Shaw and Partners,” he said.

“We believe it’ll be the biggest open water surf ski race in the world by competitor numbers.

“It’s well known that Perth affords prime conditions for paddling and especially downwind racing thanks to the wind, the ‘Fremantle Doctor’, which the main race is named after.”

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