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Mocke takes King of Harbour crown

Oily flat, steamy, hot conditions greeted the 95 competitors, lining up pensively off Birkenhead Wharf, Auckland. The tide would be turning nose-on shortly, and the 1 knot south westerly breezes would make it feel like we were paddling in a vaccum. The 24km stretch to Waiheke Island's Matiatia Bay

Mocke takes King of Harbour crown

Oily flat, steamy, hot conditions greeted the 95 competitors, lining up pensively off Birkenhead Wharf, Auckland. The tide would be turning nose-on shortly, and the 1 knot south westerly breezes would make it feel like we were paddling in a vaccum. The 24km stretch to Waiheke Island's Matiatia Bay

Article thanks to Garth Spencer

Oily flat, steamy, hot conditions greeted the 95 competitors, lining up pensively off Birkenhead Wharf, Auckland. The tide would be turning nose-on shortly, and the 1 knot south westerly breezes would make it feel like we were paddling in a vaccum. The 24km stretch to Waiheke Island's Matiatia Bay was going to be one of my longer recorded times, ever, even though I paddle this stretch of water weekly! Dawid Mocke (current Worldseries no. 2) was hemmed in on the left, and Cory Hill (current Worldseries no. 3) and Mark 'Ando' Andersson were on the favoured extreme right, as the armada began the slow drifting across the imaginary start line anticipating Darcy Price's "Get set.... GO!"

A jubilant Dawid Mocke rests his paddles at the finish line at Matiatia, Waiheke Island, once again claiming the Auckland King Of The Harbour crown for 2014!
A jubilant Dawid Mocke at the finish line at  Waiheke Island
The premier surfski event of New Zealand is also the New Zealand Canoe Racing Ocean Ski Champs, this year attracting 18 international paddlers from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Russian Federation, South Africa. The ladies race was going to be a battle of tenacity, with Rachel Clark (last years Queen Of The Harbour) on form for Molokai, Teneale Hatton training hard but committed to the NZ ladies K4 team, 'Evergreen-Dene' Simpson, young up and coming star Rebecca Cole, Aussie Tracey Wilson, and Maria Plyashechko from the Melbourne-based Russian Federation all aiming for a spot on the podium.  With the SUP's and Double Ski's a few minutes ahead, the confused harbour waters were whipped to a frenzy as the swarm of ski paddlers charged towards the 1st upright stancheon of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, staying well right of the rusted metal and twisted concrete fouled waters on the left, where both Dawid and I had damaged our rudders in days leading into the race searching for a clear passage on a variety of tides.

Mocke, a former King Of The Harbour had done his homework, and favoured a left hand line heading past North Head. With the front-pack doing 16km/h pace in the infamous chop, he darted off to the left on some tiny, almost impercievable runners just before the navy base. Cory, Ando, 18 year old Kenny Rice (younger brother of Fish Hoek's 'Shaun the Prawn' Rice), myself, the two Tahitians, Leopold Tepa and Hiromana Flores, and local North Shore paddler Brendon 'Doon' Davies had to reform or chase. I saw Cory and Ando looking over their right shoulders at the stream of yachts and pleasure craft exiting the harbour over to the right, and they broke off, heading hard right to take advantage of this boat wash.

King of the Harbour 2014
L-R: Cory Hill,Leopold Tepa, Dawid Mocke, Garth Spencer and Kenny Rice

Dawid quickly put up a growing lead, but the Aussies Cory and Ando, working together with the aid of the last of the centre-channel currents, started to close up. Up ahead I saw Dawid looking over his shoulder from his extreme left hand course, closest to Rangitoto Island, with its textbook volcanic skyline, and make a set a direct course towards the centre of the channel.

"I was watching the speed dropping on my Garmin, and when this got below 13 km/h I knew I was out of the main current. I looked over my shoulder, saw Cory hunting me down, and I made a conscious course change to get back into the running current, the first of a few conscious course changes!".

The long, flat grind ensued through the Motuihe Channel, normally the hunting ground of the big ocean swell, driven into the Hauraki Gulf by the cyclonic summer north easterlies. this would take its toll on a number of paddlers, especially those favouring themselves on the downwind courses. Digging deep for all hidden reserves, and sucking feverishly on empty juice bladders for those last remaining drops, the scattered armada ground its way into the shelter of Matiatia inlet, on fair Waiheke Island. Dawid Mocke held onto his lead to finish comfortably in first place in a time of 1:42:04, almost 2 minutes ahead of Cory Hill, still a good 2 plus minutes ahead of Mark Anderson. Local boy Simon Longdil, fighting fit on his workup for Molokai, had an incredibly strong finish, peeling past most of the rest of the front runners, to finish fourth and first Kiwi paddler home, passing young Kenny Rice in the last few hundred meters, and fellow Royal Akarana clubmate Tim 'Rooster' Grammer just before this. Seventh and eighth place went to the Tahitians Hiromana Flores and Leopold Tepa who had worked well together for much of the hard grind, with ninth and tenth place going to myself and another Royal Akarana clubmate, Andy Mowlem

In a perhaps unexpected twist, the womans race unfolded with the same top three result as last year. Rachel Clarke took out the womens race in fine form, securing the Queen Of the Harbour title. Silver went to young Becs Cole, and former Olympian and evergreen Dene Simpson took the bronze, with Teneale Hatton using the race as a training session, refusing to comprimise on her K4 team training the same morning. 

King of the Harbour 2014


Full report
thanks to Garth Spencer.

Results

Women:

Name
TimeClassCountry
Rachel Clarke1.54.48OWNZ
Rebecca Cole1.59.07OWNZ
Dene Smpson2.00.44OWNZ
Teneale Hatton2.02.07OWNZ
Tracy Wilson2.06.58OWAustralia
Maria Plyashenchko2.08.27OWRussian   Federation
Heidei Carlyle2.18.17OWAustralia
Jackie Dring2.43.39OWNZ

 

Men:

Name
TimeClassCountry
Dawid   Mocke1.42.04OMSouth Africa
Cory Hill1.43.56OMAustralia
Mark   Anderson1.46.42OMAustralia
Simon Longdill1.47.45OMNZ
Kenny Rice1.48.03OMSouth   Africa
Tim Grammer1.48.25MMNZ
Hiromana Flores1.48.37OMTahiti
Tepa Leopold1.48.39MMTahiti
Garth Spencer1.49.46MMNZ
Andrew Mowlem1.50.44OMNZ
Andrew Newick and Nickoli Gordon1.51.09DoubleNZ
Tim McLaren1.51.13OMNZ
Zac Franich1.51.59OMNZ
Oskar Stielau1.52.24MMNZ
Brendon Davey1.52.35MMNZ
Craig Jones1.53.21OMNZ
Samuel Clark1.53.30OMNZ
Grant Heim1.54.07VMNZ
Jeremy Kuggeleijn1.54.29OMNZ
Tamas Pinter1.54.40MMNZ
Gerry Callebaut1.54.43MMNZ
Ian Mercer1.56.06MMNZ
Chris Borchardt1.57.04MMNZ
Sven Hansen1.57.13VMNZ
Robert Askew1.57.28VMNZ
Sam Newlands1.58.15OMNZ
Robbie Ford1.58.20OMNZ
Bruce Dailey1.58.40MMUSA
Simon McLarin1.59.03VMNZ
Kim Harker1.59.13VMNZ
Lance Roozendaal1.59.20MMNZ
Rod Russell1.59.34MMNZ
Tapu King1.59.25OC1NZ
Sean Murphy1.59.52MMNZ
John Sokolich1.59.58VMNZ
Max Riley & partner.2.00.09DoubleAustralia
Mark Van Den Anker2.00.14VMNZ
Andrew Czar2.01.25MMNZ
Vaughan Reid2.02.11OMNZ
Graeme Edwards2.03.50MMNZ
Serge Kurov2.03.37OMRussian   Federation
Bruce Hamilton2.04.12MMNZ
Anton Reiman2.04.20OMNZ
Peter Dallimore2.05.17VMNZ
Thomas Cole2.05.40JuniorNZ
Roy Warren2.06.00MMNZ
Garth Civil2.07.11MMAustralia
John Barker2.07.26OMNZ
Cam Scott2.07.39MMNZ
Rich Baty2.07.51MMNZ
Craig McLeod2.08.40MMNZ
Reuben Hansen2.08.42OMNZ
Sam Mayhew2.09.26OMNZ
David Blackford2.10.53MMNZ
Jordan McLarin2.11.54JuniorNZ
Allan Davey2.12.29MMNZ
Warwick Smith2.12.52VMNZ
Allan Williscroft2.12.55VMNZ
Dave Chambers2.14.08VMNZ
Neil Carlyle2.14.17VMAustralia
Derek Stewart2.16.43VMNZ
Richard Baker2.17.25MMNZ
Pierre Chemaly & Doc Godfrey2.19.00DoubleNZ
Pat Langley2.19.12OMAustralia
Tony Hillson2.24.49MMNZ
Martin Knocke2.24.59VMGermany
Michael Famularo2.35.45VMNZ
 Adrian Taylor
 2.43.40
 VM
 NZ

 

 


Mocke takes King of Harbour crown

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