Written by Dave Macleod|Gameplan Media
Fish Hoek surfski star Jasper Mocké is eagerly preparing for the first Title Race of the Surfski World Series, the Investec Mauritius Ocean Classic which takes place this weekend with a very strong field of some of the world’s best surfski racers gathering for the clash.
The Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks star will be eager to make an impact on the event and is inspired by the forecast of strong winds and manageable ocean conditions that will clearly favour the seasoned surfski experts, unlike the recent Maui Jim Molokai Challenge that was left without any downwind assistance.
“At this stage the conditions look really fantastic!” Mocké enthused from his base at the Tamassa Resort. “It looks like a howling downwind with not too much swell, so pretty much the same as it has been for the last four years – absolutely cranking!
“The winds look like they will peak in time for the race, which will be great for the pros,” he added. “For the guys that aren’t too confident, it might be quite tricky.”
Mocké is hunting for a second title in the race that is into its eighth edition, with the remaining six titles having been shared three apiece by his older brother, Dawid and Hank McGregor.
“I count myself privileged to be amongst the previous winners of this race and the other two winners are both here again this year. Both Daw (Mocké) and Hank (McGregor) know how to win here and they know their way around, so that is where I think the strongest competition will come from.
“It is really cool to see a strong Aussie contingent out as well. Michael Booth and Cory Hill are here and they were second and third last year.
“There is no shortage in terms of the depth of field of the pros. This is going to be one of the most closely contested Mauritius Ocean Classics that I have been to,” said Mocké.
After grinding his way onto the podium in hot and flat racing conditions at the Maui Jim Molokai Challenge, Mocké was struck down with a virus – aggravated by jet-lag – on his way back from his extended stay in Hawaii that forced him out of the recent Prescient SA Marathon Championships in his own back yard in Cape Town.
The break seems to have done him a lot of good though and while some of his arch rivals will come into the event off a hectic programme of racing in recent weeks, Mocké has the advantage or rest on his side.
“I recovered well from that illness,” he says. “It hit me for a bit of a six. I remember my first paddle back after the illness and I was shocked how much it took out of me.
“The Mauritius Ocean Classic being a downwind event is big bonus though because although you still paddle hard, you can fall back on the skill factor as well.
“All the top guys are equally as skilled though, so it is going to be a tough race!” he added.
The 2016 Mauritius Ocean Classic is the first Title Race of the 2016 World Surfski Series. Current predictions are looking great and a battle of titanic proportions is set to emerge from a star studded field which includes previous winners Dawid Mocke and Hank McGregor, to name but a few.