Mark Anderson training
Who is seeded and who is not? Learn about our Auzzie team here, and who their competition will be at the scenic Vila do Conde worlds venue.
5am Friday morning and still no sign of the promised wind. it's misty outside and nothing to blow the mist away. This is a spectacular place for an event. The finish is at a medieval fort and this base camp is humming with activity. Accents from all over. Apart from the Portuguese, there are South Africans, Aussies, all sorts of Europeans and many South Americans.
The Aussie team trained yesterday guided by Jimmy Walker and another group went out with Timmy Jacobs. We are all aware of the start system where the paddles are locked and only available to be grabbed once the starting gun goes off so there will be no false starts here. Some of the paddlers have been trying out their on water gear which was supplied by Pat Langley of Vaikobi Paddling Gear. It has the seal of approval of all I've spoken to.
The opening ceremony will be at 5.45 pm today followed by the race briefing and then a dinner. The actual race is scheduled for 4pm Saturday. All the boats will be strapped to trailers by 10am tomorrow and we will all make our way up the 22 kilometres to Ofir Beach at Esposende where the start takes place. There will be two doubles races on Sunday, one for men and the other mixed doubles. There are not enough double skis to do the lot in one race, but there is a lot of talk about the mixed doubles because the top contenders will be a pairing of Tim Jacobs and South African Michelle Eray pitted against Dawid Mocke and his wife Nicki.
The race seedings are out and appear good for the Aussies. There does seem to be an advantage for the front runners because they are directly in front of the hot spot markerbuoy which is about one km out to sea. All our Open Men are in this group: Tim Jacobs, Cory Hill, Mark Anderson, Sam Norton and Greg Tobin. The strongest opposition will come from the South Africans of course. The odd thing is that the top Saffers are not seeded. Dawid and Jasper Mocke and Hank McGregor are in the melting pot with the 400 odd other paddlers. Their seeded paddlers still include hot shots like Sean Rice, Matt Bouman and Grant van der Walt. I will be paddling in this start but I'm more keen to see how the start pans out. It will be fascinating!
The other hot story about this race will be our Under 23s and Juniors. We are really strong here with Micheal Booth, Mckenzie Hynard, Nick Wagner and Tom Norton all in the picture. They have all been seeded to start together really near the front so they will be great to see and we hope they can work together. I'm expecting they will be up there at the end. I don't know if any other country has so strong a Junior side. Lets wait and see!
Our only open seeded girl is Hannah Minogue. She is looking strong and it will be interesting to see how she goes against the South African greats like Michelle Eray and Nicki Mocke.
We don't know what the opposition is like in the Men's Veterans 40-44 is like but our reps, Jimmy Walker, Tommy Woodriff and Dave Tudor-Jones are strong contenders. They have been training well and they each exude a quiet determination. There have been difficulties for some paddlers getting the right boats. Tommy was getting desperate but at last I saw yesterday he had the right Fenn boat and he sounded really happy to have it.
We are really excited about our Juniors, Joey Hall, Craig Graham and Jamie Brinkworth. They are training strongly. It's hard to know what their opposition will be like, but Jamie says she is one of about 6 paddlers so she will find out soon enough!
The light is now creeping through my 10th floor hotel window and the mist clings to the water. There is a nice beach along here with little rocky outcrops. I can see about one km out to sea. The water is a nice cool temperature, its clear and you can see the rocky sea bed below. Lots of seagulls and there must be fish because there are commercial fishing boats around us as we paddle.
Follow the link below to watch the race LIVE!