Tim Jacobs the Winner of the 2008 Dubai Shamaal
Credit – www.surfski.info
Where to start.. well what a race! This is a highly highly competitive sport! One mistake as many of the top guys will testify and you are in trouble. The competition was fierce! Tim Jacobs is a highly regarded ski paddler who has a handy 2k time trial PB in the K1 of around 7.29! So thats the level. I was happy enough with my race to come in 24th position. Just a few minutes outside of the Top 20 prize money.
The photo of Tim Jacobs coming into the finish is in the marina – but out on the course there was a swell. It was definitely hard going out into the upwind leg for the flat water guys, very choppy. 15km of runners on the way home and the ski specialists dished it out to the flat water boys in a big way. As for the after party for most people it was a pretty tame evening as the days racing in the heat took its toll.
The general vibe amongst all the flat water paddlers is that it is a fun event, something different from the grind in Europe. Great sun and sand, food that you can recognize what it is, beers, barbeques and totally world class racing! The total prize purse was $130k USD. For once the paddlers who train just as hard and are as elite as any other athletes in the world get the rewards and recognition that they deserve.
How the race came about – Basically there are a group of ex pat paddlers in Dubai who know how to get things done and not get caught up in the bureaucracy. Next year if the rumors are true there will be considerably more money involved in a real big way. From what we are told the financial backers are very impressed and want more!! So with the right forward thinking people it just goes to show what can be done. There are plans for flat water racing here too!
The cool thing is the surf ski people are doing events all over the world now that are financially rewarding. There have been world class races for years but now with the professional side coming into it it means that Athletes will be able to make a good living out of it and the sport will attract a greater media interest which in turn will help help grow the participation of the sport which is what we all want.
Thanks to the guys at Epic who have been behind all of this and keep pushing the bar.. in the same way that Nelo has done in flat water. Thanks guys! We are lucky to have you in our sport.
Also if youre not doing so already you can track the sport through the guys at www.surfski.info who are also doing a great job of promoting the sport online.