Experience came to the front in tough, technical conditions at the 2022 James Moore-morial Race on Saturday, with Garth Spencer and Rachel Clarke taking the wins in the Mount to Makatu surfski race.
It felt like a true ocean adventure for the nearly 100 surfski and waka paddlers, as they headed out of Tauranga Harbour against an incoming tide and headwind, then turned right and paddled down the Bay of Plenty coast.
Marathon Masters World Champion Garth Spencer led around the Mount and never looked back, extending to a nearly 7 minute lead over 2nd place getter Luke McNish. He relished the conditions, completing the 32km course in an impressive time of 2.26.14.
“It was as technical as it gets, with the side on sea making for some tricky lines” said Garth. “It was so good to be on the start line again for an iconic event like the Bhutty Moore. Big shoutout to Paul Roozendaal and the organising team for navigating the uncertainty around covid to put on the really great paddlesports events that we love.”
It was a close battle between Garth and the doubleski pair of Max Riley and Vaughan Reed, with the double just squeezing in ahead for overall line honours, in a time of 2hours 25.31.
Sprint paddler turned marathon paddler and now ocean ski paddler Liam Lace rounded out the mens podium, finishing third in just his first ocean ski race. “Ocean ski is a whole other ball game to what I’m used to, but I loved every second. I’ll definitely be attending more ski events in future” mused Liam.
In the womens ski, pre-race favourite and current National Champion Rachel Clarke lead the field from start to finish, not just winning the women but finishing fourth overall in a time of 2.36.32. Last year’s winner Danika Mowlem was in 2nd place followed by Nelson’s Tara Smith in third.
Tupuria King took out the Waka ama OC1 in a spectacular time of 2.32.26, ahead of Kacey Ngataki and the youngster Ash Roozendaal. Tupu won this race last year, but in the ocean ski, showing what a true waterman he is and a champion in all craft.
Anne Cairns, Tokyo Olympian in the kayak and another successful code switcher, won the womens OC1 in the time of 3.06.36, followed by Tui McCaull and Amy Renall.
It was another great and challenging Bhutty Moore, a race dedicated to remembering James Moore, who lost his life on paddling on this stretch of water. It is a good reminder to us all to take safety seriously- wear a PFD and leash, and ensure make smart decisions about conditions we go paddling in.
Check out the full results and event photos https://www.facebook.com/JamesMooreMorialRace/?ref=page_internal
The James Moore-morial Race was event #3 in the 2022 Darcy Price Ocean Racing Series. The next event in the Queen and King of the Bay in Nelson on 26th February, which is also the NZ Ocean Ski National Championships.