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Strong British performances at 2023 Ocean Racing World Championships

The Great Britain team served up a silver medal and a host of top-10 finishes as the ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships got under way in Australia.

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After completing a successful warm-up at the Western Australia Race Week, an 11-strong British contingent took the start line off the coast of Perth for junior, U23, senior, masters, and para events on Thursday.

Classic downwind conditions, with a strong south westerly wind, created big waves and swell, making for a fast and technical race.

They were impressive results from all of the British ocean racing team, paddling against the world’s best in amazing, but challenging downwind conditions.

– Nick Hibberd

Jon White relished the ‘near-perfect’ conditions to win silver overall in the para singles class and gold in the KL2 class with a time of 1hr 54min 52.2secs.

“I felt really good out there and I was able to push pretty hard,” he said. 

I’m chuffed with the performance and the result.

– Jon White

Young athletes Grace Young and Rosie Edwards completed top-10 finishes, as did Roy Fieldus in the 60-64 yrs masters.

However, perhaps the outstanding British performance in the day of single Surf-ski racing belonged to Terry Miller who came agonisingly close to a medal with fourth place in the junior men race.

It was a fantastic race in good conditions, but strong competition put me in fourth and missing the podium. I must train harder.

– Terry Miller

The 17-year-old paddler was the quickest Brit to cover the 21km course from Fremantle to Scarborough Beach, clocking 1hr 21min 11.2secs - the day’s 58th-best time overall of 435 finishers.

In a 24-man field, Terry averaged 3:51min/km pace and finished just 83 seconds behind bronze medallist Heath Clarke, of South Africa. France claimed the title as Mathis Roudat took gold in 1.18.11.5.

Rosie Edwards followed her encouraging pre-championship form with an eighth-place finish in a 19-strong field in the under 23 women category.

Stopping the clock in 1hr 31min 33.2secs, Rosie, 19, registered the 15th-quickest time of all 113 women paddlers on the day.

She finished four-and-a-half minutes outside the medals and less than seven minutes down on South African winner Kira Bester, who lived up to her name.

Rosie’s British team-mate Grace Young, 18, also made the top 10, finishing ninth in the junior women category in a time of 1hr 43min 24.7secs.

Having overcome an injury which she once feared would end her competitive career, Lena Kraus completed the British women’s team in Perth. 

The North Berwick paddler lined up in the senior women race and stopped the clock in 1hr 44min 52.2secs for a solid 13th place.

There were no Brits in the senior men field, but two lined up in the U23 men category.

Piran Phillips followed a brace of top-five finishes in the WA Race Week with 17th spot, averaging 4min/km pace to clock 1hr 24min 02.4secs.

Drew Howells was just three-and-a-half minutes adrift of his team-mate, recording 1:27:32.2 for 22nd spot as Matthew Fenn, of South Africa, was crowned world champion.

Roy Fieldus, a World Championship silver medallist last year, led the way for GB in the masters category, with an excellent seventh spot in the masters 60-64 men.

Crossing the line in 1hr 32min 05.2secs, Roy was only four minutes off medal pace as Australia completed a podium clean sweep, topped by winner Shaun Rice.

Team-mate John Boutelop clocked a time of 1:41:44.4 for 22nd place among the 39 finishers, while Scott Wood, who won world bronze in 2022, did not record a time.

Nick Hibberd was the sole Brit in the masters 50-54 men class which attracted one of the day’s biggest fields with 58 entered.

Completing the course at an average pace of 4:43min/km, Nick came home 38th in 1hr 39min 16.5secs. Australian paddler Jamie Beavis took the honours.

The championship programme will be completed on Saturday with the turn of the double Surf-ski races which currently have no British interest.

All the results from the day can be found here