The Doctor 2014, from Luke O’Garey’s seat

on Jan 28 in Uncategorized by

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The Doctor 2014, from Luke O’Garey’s seat.

After having the first half of 2013 off after recovering from shoulder surgery, and trying to get back paddling pain free, I decided I wanted to race in the Doctor 2014. I had heard from many people how much a great race it is and if the winds line up it is an awesome trip back to Sorrento from Rottnest. I had a chat with a mate and training partner Jarred Wiseman, and we decided we would head over and see what all the fuss was about. We ended up with another couple mates deciding they would give it a crack ,Brent Machen and Troy Seen.

I would have loved to be over there all week and do all the races but don’t like spending time away from 19 month old daughter Lily , every day she does something new and miss being apart from her and my wife Bec.

I was up at 4am Thursday morning to head off and meet the guys for our flights the Perth. We arrived about midday and grabbed our hire car and went in search of our accommodation, clarion suites at Mullaloo Beach. Rather impressive and I recommend staying there. We didn’t have much time to relax as we had the Sunset series final, an 11km ski race that afternoon, and had to meet Adam Fahey from Think Kayak WA to set our skis up and get organised for the next few days. The race that afternoon was a good hit out and glad I did it even after the long travel from Tassie that morning and feeling like I just wanted to snooze. I had a pretty ordinary start and was left standing still. After a couple of kms I started to find my feet and starting having fun and passing a few guys. I ended up making the top 20 which was good for me and ended up having great fun and got to check out the coast line a bit. The next day we just relaxed and went swimming and did the tourist thing . It is a great place WA and I love the beaches . Mind you the heat took some adjusting to coming from Tas. That night I just made sure everything was in place for the big race on Saturday.

Saturday morning came and we were lucky enough that Adam from Think Kayak WA had put on the red carpet service for us and many other paddlers. He was picking us up at Sorrento SLSC (finish line) and taking us down to Freemantle to catch the charted Think Kayak boat which had all our skis already loaded. We had food ,refreshments and the bonus was we got to leave later in the morning and didn’t have to lay around in the sun on Rottnest. After the 45 min trip we pulled up 200m from the start line and started unloading the skis.
Once everyone was sorted we made our way to the beach to wait for the briefing and catch up with some fellow paddlers and make sure the skis , hydration and safety gear was all ready to go. The race was to start at 2pm so once 1:20 pm came myself, Jared, Brent, Troy and my cousin Matt O’Garey, who we met over at Rottnest, all headed out for a warmup. I wasn’t sure what the conditions would be like because I had never raced here let alone been here. I was praying for some good wind, and after a quick chat with Mark Anderson, who said the runs will be good, I started to relax and just looked forward to getting out there and having some fun.

I managed to get an okay spot on the front line for the start and before I knew we were off and racing. I managed to stay just at the back of the front group which was rather big and got a good lift out towards the hotspot. Once I turned there was runs to be chased and I pushed pretty hard for while keeping the front guys insight. I was in 2 minds in what direction I should take as some guys kept left and some out wide on my right. In the end I just went my own direction , I was having a ball and enjoying the great runs just trying to link them up as best I could. Oh, and dodge all the weed, as I didn’t feel like jumping off my ski in this stretch of water ,especially after Dean talked about sharks in the briefing. But at about the 8-10 km mark I thought I’d made a huge blue as for the next 20-30 min I didn’t see one person and thought I’d blown my line. After losing focus from just trying to spot another paddler which in turn dropped my pace for a while , I located Observation City and I tried to get the pace back up and aimed to keep it at my 1 O’Clock, as per what Dean Gardiner had said. Approaching the marker I looked over to my right and spotted my training partner Jared, I had a bit of a laugh as I had not seen him all race and here we meet at the turn. We did have a side race/bet going amongst us 4 guys which was on a handicapped basis. Jared and I were off scratch, Brent had 10 mins and Yroy 37 mins . Winner gets all drinks and meals paid for by the other 3. With 5 km to go I had a couple paddlers in front and just chased and managed to pass a few on the homeward stretch. I ran across the line and was glad to finish feeling strong and had great fun. I wasn’t sure what place I had finished but was hoping top 30 . After going getting changed I had a message from Gavin Clarke saying awesome job I’d got 18th overall and 15th in opens ,I was pretty stoked with that result for my first time . I was about 2min off top 10 and felt happy ,the guys up front are amazing paddlers and hats off to them, big congrats to the Mocke boys 1 & 2 ,they are champion paddlers and humble along with it.
Well with the main race (our personal race) I managed to pip Jared, who got 22nd, so we were watching out and hoping I had got Brent , as we didn’t want him to win because anyone who knows him will know he doesn’t mind an ale. With just over a minute to spare Brent ran up the beach 44th, along with some cursed words from Jared, Brent looked to have taking the bet out but we had Troy to come so we waited and hoped. Troy has pretty much just taken up paddling this last year and this was to be his first ever race, not a bad one and a challenging race to start with. Troy had a great race and got in the top half of the field which is a great effort as he does all his training on the flat and spends very little time in the ocean, and had never been in conditions like the Doctor let alone over that distance. In the wash down Brent had won the bet and we were in for a long night, but it is all part if the experience and had a great time.

We all are coming back for the next doctor which I believe has been changed to November this year. It is a great race and super fun with so many people racing.

Huge thanks goes to Adam Fahey from Think Kayak for what he did for everyone and sorting me out with my Uno Max .

Can’t wait for the next race!


Luke O’Garey