Gold Coast, Australia – In it’s seventh year of succession, the 12 Towers 2018 Ocean Paddle Race has carved out an iconic figure of being one of the premier races in Australia for SUP, Ocean Ski, and Prone. Dream Team rider Michael Booth starts the season of with a bang taking winning the Men’s 14′ SUP class in a awesome battle against New Caledonian SUP racer Titouan Puyo. In the Women’s race we witnessed a massive effort by Starboard Japan’s Yuka Sato to dethrone Australia’s top women. We also saw Starboard Team rider from New Caledonia Clement Colmas stepping it up to put an impressive performance on the Ace in flat conditions to finish 6th position on the 14′ category.
Here’s a race recap by Michael Booth
“What a great start to the season, first event and a first win at 12 Towers on the weekend. It was my 4th attempt of the race and my third title which is the first time I have had a trifecta of wins in one race.
There’s always extra nervous energy leading into the first race of the season. As I train mainly solo it’s always hard to really know where I am at physically and mentally leading into the race season. I find that I really need a lead in race especially before the international season begins.
It’s kind of hard to believe, but it had been three months since I had put my foot on the starting line at KOTC. In the mean time I’ve had a great break eating too much food, drinking lots of beers, traveling excessively and trying new things. It’s been a busy time designing boards with Starboard, creating a paddle brand, perfecting my online coaching services, planning out the season, joining the Shaw and Partners Race Team and resigning with many of the great brands support me.
With 4 weeks of solid training under my belt I was apprehensive as to how I would finish the Twelve Towers event. Since I’ve competed in the event since 2015 the conditions have always changed each year. We have either received great downwinds or hot humid grinds like we raced in over the weekend.
A lot goes into planning for particular events starting with training, to equipment, fuel and tactics. Leading into the event I spent a lot of time on the famous ‘City Beach Drumliners Run’ fine tuning my downwind skills as I really wanted to improve myself against the best in the world in those conditions. However the forecast looked flat and held from a week out so I put the Ace in the garage and sticker’d up the Sprint.
In downwinding I usually use a bigger paddle so I can generate more power quickly but with the race being in light winds I went down a size to the M bolt so I can maintain speed and cadence more effectively. My fin choice was a 28 VMG which is a smaller fin which I’ve been working with a lot lately and despite the loss of stability because of the reduced surface area you do get used to it. I feel like the increase in manoeuvrability makes any board more effective in turning and downwinding.
There was actually a lot of talk after the race as to why I didn’t take hydration. I don’t generally use hydration in my training so if I ‘forget’ to take it on race day like I did on Saturday it doesn’t phase me. This is a training technique I’ve used for a long time but I don’t recommend it for racing as I’ve come unstuck a few times especially in races over 90mins.
Tactically I think the biggest decision of the race was either heading way out at the start like the main pack did or staying inside like I did. I used to live on the Gold Coast and I have paddled that stretch of coastline 100s of times, so I was confident backing the inside line to North Burleigh. The conditions were ENE at approximately 6knots for most of the race giving us slight assistance.
Adding to the lack of wind it was hot, humid and actually quite a battle which you may have not been able to see from the broadcast. Despite starting some 500m apart, Titouan and I were basically drag racing down the coast. It wasnt like there was no assistance there was definitely bumps out there but they were what I like to call ‘grind runners’. The more you want the harder you have to go. I snuck away towards the end as the group outside had to come in towards shore costing them a lot of distance. It was great to be out on the water battling it out with all the great athletes in the sport again.
I think one of the biggest positives I saw over the weekend was how healthy the sport is in Australia. With 230 entries from interstate and overseas in a plethora of different categories the 12 Towers has become Australia’s biggest race. The other thing I was excited about is the improvement of the young guys like Ty Judson, Sam McCullough, Harrison Kane, Noic Garioud and Clement Colmas. These guys are the future and I’ll definitely be watching them closely over the coming years.
Thanks everyone for following along, if you’d like more updates from me check out my Instagram @_michaelbooth, Facebook www.facebook.com/mgbooth11 or my website www.michael-booth.com.au.”
Wacth the Live Stream replay by SUPRacer.com
MEN’S TOP 10 RESULTS
1st: Michael Booth (1:30:30) – Starboard Sprint
2nd: Titouan Puyo (1:32:09)
3rd: Lincoln Dews (1:33:00)
4th: Marcus Hansen (1:33:44)
5th: Noic Garioud (1:34:39)
6th: Clement Colmas (1:36:13) – Starboard Ace
7th: Itzel Delgado (1:36:20)
8th: Kelly Margetts (1:37:44)
9th: Nathan Cross (1:37:58)
10th: Ben Riviere (1:38:12)
WOMEN’S TOP 5 RESULTS
1st: Yuka Sato (1:46:05) – Starboard Allstar
2nd: Kate Baker (01:47:03)
3rd: Terrene Black (1:47:24)
4th: Charlotte Spicer (1:53:33)
5th: Chloe Walkerdene (1:55:37)
FULL RESULTS FOR 12 TOWERS 2018:
Pic Credits: Georgia Schofield