Noic “Chicken” Garioud and Karla Gilbert have claimed the 12 Towers ocean race today, with more than 150 paddlers enjoying a firing downwind run along Queensland’s famed Gold Coast to cap off a big weekend at Australia’s premiere paddling event.
Nobody got near Noic–the New Caledonian was in a league of his own. It was a masterclass. A clinic. A dominant performance from a 17-year-old athlete who shows maturity well beyond his years both on and off the water. Noic was reading the bumps so well that he probably took fewer paddle strokes than anyone else in the race.
Speaking of young guns, 19-year-old Ty Judson tackled the towers this weekend and came out looking very strong. He was victorious in the surf race yesterday and runner-up today — he also completed Saturday’s foil muster just for the fun of it. This guy never seems to stop smiling, however that friendly look conceals a hungry competitor. Ty is going to be a big mover on the world rankings this year.
But the most incredible story of the weekend was surely 13-year-old Shuri “Shrimpy” Araki from Japan who finished third, not far behind Ty and ahead of Molokai champ James Casey, defending 12 Towers champ Lincoln Dews and scores of other much older and far more experienced ocean paddlers. Just take a moment to read that again: Shrimpy is 13 years old. He’s thirteen..!? 😳
(On a side note, how good is it that 1st and 3rd are both nicknamed after little animals 😂)
If you want to make yourself feel old, do some quick maths and calculate the average age of the podium: There was a 17-year-old in first, 19 in second and 13 in third. That’s an average age of just 16 years and 4 months. In an international ocean race. Mind, blown.
Shrimpy got to celebrate the moment with his father, Taku, who had a belting race of his own to finish just inside the top 10. Noic also got to share the day with his dad, Olivier, who probably would have been top 10 himself if his 18 foot unlimited didn’t snap clean in half as he surfed a set wave in from out the back towards the finish line 😬
It was also a stellar day for the Sunova team, with the famous balsa wood dugouts scoring three of the top four spots courtesy of Noic, Shrimpy and Jimmy.
But while the men’s race might have been over by halfway courtesy of Noic’s heroics, but the women’s contest went right to the line.
Over the years, Karla Gilbert has won just about every single edition of the 12 Towers. She was the six-time downwind champ going into today’s race and started favourite for a seventh. Despite having long since retired from her professional athletic career (Karla was the undisputed champion of Australia’s famous lifeguard racing pro circuit in the 90s and early 2000s) her competitive streak has clearly never left. Karla won yesterday’s surf race despite being older than the combined age of her two closest rivals. But the 45-year-old mother of two had to seriously earn it today…
Comeback Queen Angie Jackson looked set to end Karla’s reign on top after a lightning-quick start. Still on the road to recovery 18 months after snapping her Achilles, Angie set the early pace and hit the 11km mark still in the lead. The race is only 13km long. But Karla slowly closed the gap and finally overpowered Ang in the closing stages to take a narrow win and earn a seventh 12 Towers title.
It was a cruel end to the race for Angie who is still unable to run on her injured ankle and had to settle for third after ONE teammate Kate Baker surfed past in the final hundred metres. But it was a very good sign that Ang was looking so good in the bumps.
Youngsters Brianna Orams, Ke’ale Dorries and Chloe Walkerdene rounded out the top six, while there was another parent-child top 10 double in the form of Ke’ale and Sue Dorries.
It was also an interesting contrast between the men’s and women’s podiums. The average age of the women was more than double that of the men. There were plenty of junior women battling for line honours – fourth through sixth had an average age of about 20 – but the old guard held strong for at least one more year.
It’s always interesting to see the form guide early in the season, but the best part of this weekend’s event was just seeing everyone out on the water and sharing stories at the finish line. The 12 Towers is a true gathering of the Aussie (and international) SUP community. It was also great to see so many of the regional paddle clubs from around Australia descend on the Gold Coast and support the sport.
Big thanks to the organisers for tirelessly putting this event together, and special mention to Kelly Margetts who held two phones on a tiny little boat in a big, wild ocean to help me make the live stream happen. There’s a full replay below…
LIVE STREAM REPLAY
12 Towers: WOMEN’S RESULTS
|7||Angie Mckee||1:27:27||Masters 40+||14'|
|8||Savannah Fitzsimmons||1:35:03||Masters 40+||14'|
|9||Sue Dorries||1:36:49||Masters 50+||14'|
|10||Tracey Mouque||1:42:20||Masters 40+||14'|
|11||Vanessa Caley||1:42:42||Masters 40+||14'|
|13||Megan Kelly||1:45:32||Masters 40+||14'|
|15||Maria Williams||1:49:40||Masters 50+||14'|
12 Towers: MEN’S RESULTS
|10||Takuji Araki||1:02:40||Masters 40+||14'|
|12||Olivier Garioud||1:03:46||Masters 40+||unlimited|
|13||Paul Jackson||1:04:01||Masters 40+||14'|
|17||Paul Jonesy||1:08:27||Masters 40+||14'|
|18||John Gerlach||1:09:24||Masters 60+||14'|
|20||Wade Carberry||1:10:04||Masters 40+||14'|
|24||Laurie Stephenson||1:13:22||Masters 40+||14'|
|25||Andrew Kerr||1:13:54||Masters 40+||14'|
|29||Tony Strang||1:15:15||Masters 50+||14'|
|31||Dale Gobbe||1:16:31||Masters 50+||14'|
|32||Andy Barker||1:16:54||Masters 40+||14'|
|33||Stephen Morley||1:17:53||Masters 40+||14'|
|34||Chris Cross||1:17:59||Masters 50+||14'|
|35||Wayne Jonhnstone||1:19:57||Masters 50+||14'|
|36||Wayne Garland||1:20:36||Masters 40+||14'|
|38||Quenton Johnston||1:21:18||Masters 40+||14'|
|40||Mark Houghton||1:21:51||Masters 60+||14'|
|41||Dan Miller||1:21:51||Masters 40+||14'|
|42||Paul Stumer||1:22:03||Masters 40+||14'|
|43||Peter Luck||1:22:34||Masters 50+||14'|
|45||Gavin Houghton||1:22:38||Masters 50+||14'|
|47||David Pacheco||1:23:34||Masters 40+||14'|
|48||Peter Dorries||1:24:46||Masters 50+||14'|
|49||Tim Fitzsimmons||1:24:59||Masters 40+||14'|
|50||Justin Gallagher||1:25:19||Masters 40+||14'|
|51||Thierry Danet||1:25:28||Masters 50+||14'|
|52||Dallas Slight||1:26:11||Masters 40+||14'|
|53||Paul Daniel||1:26:19||Masters 40+||14'|
|54||Johan Skarskog||1:27:05||Masters 40+||14'|
|56||Rohan Evans||1:27:06||Masters 40+||14'|
|57||Greg Burton||1:27:32||Masters 60+||14'|
|58||Brett Swann||1:27:37||Masters 50+||14'|
|59||Damon Bailey||1:27:38||Masters 40+||14'|
|60||Nathan Van De Belt||1:27:40||Masters 40+||14'|
|61||Richard Durie||1:28:27||Masters 40+||14'|
|63||Scott Carroll||1:30:12||Masters 50+||14'|
|64||Peter Jackson||1:30:14||Masters 40+||14'|
|65||Rob Hooton||1:30:25||Masters 40+||14'|
|66||Michael Stokes||1:30:51||Masters 60+||14'|
|69||David Mitchell||1:34:08||Masters 50+||14'|
|70||Andy Fermo||1:35:25||Masters 40+||14'|
|72||Juan Cruz||1:41:41||Masters 50+||14'|
|73||Bob Margetts||1:42:37||Masters 60+||14'|
|74||James Mclennan||1:42:46||Masters 40+||14'|
|77||Michael Johnston||1:45:57||Masters 40+||14'|
|78||Leon Dyson||1:49:00||Masters 50+||14'|
|79||Marco Bertossa||1:50:49||Masters 40+||14'|
|80||Blair Casey||1:54:38||Masters 40+||14'|
|81||Robert Eyre||1:55:20||Masters 60+||14'|
|82||Matthew Binns||2:01:39||Masters 40+||14'|
We’re still updating all the tables but the finishing times from all divisions are available on Timing Plus