Beau O’Brian has just taken out The Doctor downwind race in Perth, Western Australia, beating home Travis Grant in a near photo finish and taking a major win that has been some time in the coming.
Incredibly, after more than 2 hours of ocean paddling, the pair of downwind experts hit the sand at the exact same time. Beau was quicker up the beach though, out-sprinting the former Molokai-2-Oahu champion to the line.
It was a two-horse race for most of the 27km channel crossing from Rottnest Island back to the mainland. Travis had been leading in the closing stages, however Beau took a more inside line and snuck in under Travis’ guard. It was actually even closer than 17 seconds: As soon as Beau started out-sprinting him up the beach and he knew the race was lost, the deflated Travis simply walked over the line.
This is a big scalp for Beau: He’s always shown great potential, especially in the downwind and ocean races, however he’s often found a way to finish 2nd or 3rd instead of 1st. The Gold Coaster and Starboard International team rider has won several races in the past, however to defeat a paddler of Travis’ caliber in the bumps, along with guys like Jake Jensen, Lincoln Dews, Paul Jackson, Sam Parker, etc, would probably make this the biggest win of his career.
To add the sweetness of victory, Beau walked off the beach with the lion’s share of the prize purse. Starboard Australia put up $5,000 for the winner, however 2nd place was just $500. That is, rather agonisingly, $264 dollars-per-second that Trav missed out on.
Though in a sign of the respect Beau has for his fellow Queenslander, here’s what he wrote when I sent him a congrats message on Facebook just now:
“Solid mate. Finally beat the person I have based my paddling on. So happy.”
Meanwhile Travis told me he was feeling good in the latter stages but wasn’t aware Beau was taking a different, and ultimately better line:
“Good race. My new board went great but so did Beau. I was feeling good all day and thought I had a clear lead near the end, however Beau was on a different line and surprised me. He wanted it more and deserved it.”
Beau and Travis also both smashed the previous race record of 2:17:02 by 5 minutes, highlighting just how good today’s conditions were (and just how fast the top guys are paddling these days).
Defending champion (and the former holder of that race record) Jake Jensen – who, interestingly, will also go down in the record books as the 2014 Doctor champion (the race was held twice this year, in January and November, after being brought forward two months in search of better downwind conditions) – finished 3rd today, 8 minutes off the pace of the leaders.
It was another tight finish in the race for 4th, with Paul Jackson finishing just 2 seconds ahead of Sam Parker from Sydney (who was runner-up to Connor Baxter in the 2012 edition of The Doctor). Sam did take out the Over 40’s division rather comfortably though.
There were more smiles for Jacko just 15 minutes later: His wife Angie Jackson completed a stellar downwind run across the strait to take the women’s title. Angie finished her crossing from Rottnest Island to Sorrento in a time of 2:36:43, which was 6 minutes faster than today’s runner-up (and 2013 Molokai-2-Oahu champion) Terrene Black. Angie’s time was also just a few minutes outside the Men’s Top 10.
This is Angie’s second “Doctor” title, while her time this year was also a new race record.
Angie was pretty thrilled with her win, as you can see from her Instagram post below, where she’s posing in the traditional winner’s doctor’s uniform alongside fellow-champ Beau O’Brian. And again, for the board enthusiasts, the Fanatic International team rider was paddling the 2015 production version of the Falcon Ocean board (14′ x 24.75″).
“The Doctor: I felt amazing today and it was just one of those good days :) Congrats to Beau on his 1st place as well. Thanks to all my supporters and sponsors. Time to rest and get ready for next weekend’s King Of the Cut downwind race. Love the 2015 Fanatic Falcon 14ft, amazing board to downwind. Well done to my hubby @supjacko on his 4th place. @koziiswim @fanaticsupaustralia @fanaticsup @jettfitt22”
View this post on Instagram
The Doctors. I felt amazing today and it was just one of those good days :) Congrats to Beau on his 1st place aswell. Thanks to all my supporters and sponsors. Time to rest and get ready for next weekends King Of the Cut downwind race. Love the 2015 Fanatic Falcon 14ft, amazing board to downwind. Well done to my hubby @supjacko on his 4th place. @koziiswim @fanaticsupaustralia @fanaticsup @jettfitt22
RESULTS: The Doctor SUP Race (November 2014)
|1||Beau O'BRIAN||2:11:59||4:53 min/km||Men's 14'||1||17.5|
|2||Travis GRANT||2:12:16||4:53 min/km||Men's 14'||2||13.13|
|3||Jake JENSEN||2:19:59||5:11 min/km||Men's 14'||3||10.50|
|4||Paul JACKSON||2:23:03||5:17 min/km||Men's 14'||4||8.75|
|5||Sam PARKER||2:23:05||5:17 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||1||7.44|
|6||Matt NOTTAGE||2:24:30||5:21 min/km||Men's 14'||5||6.13|
|7||Lincoln DEWS||2:27:31||5:27 min/km||Men's 14'||6||5.25|
|8||Michael HASTIE||2:27:40||5:28 min/km||Men's 14'||7||4.38|
|9||Marcus TARDREW||2:30:52||5:35 min/km||Men's 14'||8||3.94|
|10||Ben TARDREW||2:33:08||5:40 min/km||Men's 14'||9||3.50|
|11||Cameron MCKAY||2:33:43||5:41 min/km||Unlimited||1||-|
|12||Belar DIAZ||2:33:48||5:41 min/km||Men's 14'||10||3.15|
|13||Ryan KECK||2:34:56||5:44 min/km||Men's 14'||11||2.80|
|14||Angela JACKSON||2:36:43||5:48 min/km||Women's 14||1||-|
|15||James CASEY||2:36:50||5:48 min/km||Men's 14'||12||2.63|
|16||Dale CHAPMAN||2:38:33||5:52 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||2||2.45|
|17||Felipe DOS SANTOS||2:40:13||5:56 min/km||Men's 14'||13||2.28|
|18||Terrene BLACK||2:42:56||6:02 min/km||Women's 14||2||-|
|19||Paul SIMMONS||2:45:01||6:06 min/km||Men's 14'||14||2.10|
|20||Peter PRIDMORE||2:45:16||6:07 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||3||1.93|
|21||Wesley FRY||2:47:39||6:12 min/km||Men's 14'||15||1.75|
|22||Roger GOODWIN||2:48:47||6:15 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||4||1.58|
|23||Craig WINNETT||2:51:17||6:20 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||5||1.40|
|24||Michael GALVIN||2:56:08||6:31 min/km||Unlimited||2||-|
|25||Leo BEYERS||3:00:54||6:41 min/km||Men's 14'||16||1.31|
|26||Gordon STIMSON||3:02:26||6:45 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||6||1.23|
|27||Trent JONES||3:02:57||6:46 min/km||Men's 14'||17||1.14|
|28||Belinda STOWELL||3:03:27||6:47 min/km||Women's 14||3||-|
|29||Jackson SHAW||3:06:30||6:54 min/km||Men's 14'||18||1.05|
|30||Peter BALDWIN||3:08:50||6:59 min/km||Men's 14'||19||0.96|
|31||Luke JENKINS||3:09:07||7:00 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||7||0.91|
|32||Mark BUCHANAN||3:11:31||7:05 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||8||0.86|
|33||Craig MCLAREN||3:12:00||7:06 min/km||Men's 14'||20||0.81|
|34||Brad KIDD||3:12:00||7:06 min/km||Unlimited||3||-|
|35||Marie BUCHANAN||3:12:31||7:07 min/km||Women's 14||4||-|
|36||Andy FERMO||3:20:16||7:25 min/km||Men's 14'||21||0.75|
|37||Peter HAYES||3:23:37||7:32 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||9||0.70|
|38||Wes STANSFIELD||3:26:52||7:39 min/km||Unlimited||4||-|
|39||Kent WRIGHT||3:28:20||7:42 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||10||0.67|
|40||Gordon MCKERCHER||3:34:19||7:56 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||11||0.63|
|41||Garth CIVIL||3:36:33||8:01 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||12||0.60|
|42||Joe FRY||3:38:25||8:05 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||13||0.56|
|43||Mark DONALDSON||3:48:29||8:27 min/km||Men's 14' (40+)||14||0.53|
Click here to view the official timing page (click >> ‘All categories’ >> ‘SUP 14’ and press GO)
As an interesting footnote: The Doctor is primarily a surf ski race (250 surf skis vs 50 SUPs) and one of the top performers today was Michael Booth. This guy is a machine on a ski but has actually crossed over into SUP racing this year – he was part of the Aussie crew @ the BOP California last month. Booth finished 6th in the elite surf ski division today, just a minute behind the winner, South Africa’s surf ski hero Jasper Mocke. If this guy takes on SUP racing full time, he could be one to watch in the next couple of years.
Oh and as another random footnote: Seems the competition between Beau and Trav didn’t stop on the water. Here’s a shot from a few moments ago courtesy of Stimo on the ‘Breeze: