Shaw and Partners Brand Ambassador Jemma Smith dominates the Shaw and Partners Forster Race Weekend News24 Apr 2023

Shaw and Partners Forster Ocean Classic Race Report (Sunday 23 April 2023)


Double trouble was the order of the weekend for gun Australian paddlers, Tom Norton and Shaw and Partners Brand Ambassador Jemma Smith, with both clean sweeping the double-header in the Shaw and Partners Forster Race Weekend.   They kicked off the weekend of Barrington Coast ocean paddle racing with victory Saturday in the Nine Mile Cup from Forster to Black Head beach; and backed it up Sunday taking the flag in the big one -  Sunday’s 20km open-ocean Forster Ocean Classic from Elizabeth Beach to Forster.


In challenging conditions, the field had to conquer a tricky shore break off Elizabeth Beach before setting paddle for Forster, a 12 km leg in the open-ocean to the turn of Cape Hawke, and then 8km through to the finish line at Forster Beach.


It was neck-and-neck the entire way for Australia’s two leading endurance paddlers, Tom Norton and last years’ Forster winner Cory Hill, with 30-year-old Norton winning the last wave of the day and running up the beach to cross in 1h19.16s, with Hill just 7 seconds behind for 2nd.  Third place went to Manly’s Oscar Jones who came in more than three minutes behind in 1h22.33s.


“Well that was fun.  We had great conditions the whole way, with the wind behind us.  It picked up after we rounded Cape Hawke with some great swell wrapped right around into Forster,” said Norton whose launched his 2023 season with three wins from three races. 


“We pushed each other all the way but I managed to get a slight break in the final stage. But then Cory caught a great wave and we were actually on the same wave into the beach.  Cory was probably more aggressive I guess, and came off his ski.  I played it safe and, this time, it landed in my favour.


“I’m happy with my fitness.   We head to Hawaii next for Molokai in May.  That’s a 53 km race, so I think my training is on track for that epic.”


For 2022’s world ocean-ski champion Jemma Smith from the Central Coast, it was far from an easy Sunday afternoon paddle, but victory for the 24-year-old star, was within her reach from the get-go.  She won the start, mastering the shore dump with her exceptional skill, and left her female competition in her wake.  She took the victory in 1h33m03s, a true endurance effort, and more than four minutes ahead of Sascha Taurins (1h37m.06) and Northcliffe ironwoman, Emily Doyle (1h38m0s).    Sunday’s female podium replicated Saturday’s Nine Mile finish. 


“It was tricky start off the beach, but I managed to get a good start.   The wind and swell came from behind, and I got some awesome runs off Cape Hawke.  It was exhilarating, it was really fun with so many runners to ride,” said Smith. 




Men’s Forster Ocean Classic – Elizabeth Beach to Forster Beach  (23 April 2023)

1             Tom Norton                       1h 19m16s

2             Cory Hill                             1h 19m23s

3             Oscar Jones                       1h 22m33s


Women’s Forster Ocean Classic – Elizabeth Beach to Forster Beach  (23 April 2023)

  1. Jemma Smith                    1h 33m03s
  2. Sascha Taurins                   1h 37m06s
  3. Emily Doyle                       1h 38m6s


Shaw and Partners Nine Mile Race Report (Saturday 22 April 2023)


Saturday delivered sunny conditions with a 12 knot SE cross-wind for the Barrington Coast opener in the Shaw and Partners Forster Race Weekend,  the Nine Mile Cup, with the field having to negotiate a shore dump off the start, before they set out on the 13 km journey to Black Head Beach. 

In men’s racing, new dad Tom Norton took the win, with two-time world champion Cory Hill second and Newport’s Mitchell Trim in third.   

Norton’s arch-rival, Hill got a good jump start, and led to the first turning point.  

“And from there, we took our own line,” said 30-year-old Norton, post-race.  “I decided to go out wide.  I did not want to get stuck on the inside of the bombie near Black Head like last year.

“It was a tricky race as the south easterly was crossing our path, but there was always something to chase in the small chop.  The south easterly was blowing across our path so it was at times tricky,  but there was always something to chase in the small chop.   It was quite tight between Cory and I until the closing couple of minutes.  I managed to link a few good runs together, got lucky and got the win,” said Norton who has had a perfect start to the season, winning the Bridge to Beach on Sydney Harbour in February and now the first of the Forster races, the Nine Mile.

For current women’s world champion, the Central Coast’s Jemma Smith, it was a return to her happy hunting ground on the Barrington Coast.  She led from the start and stitched up a convincing victory in the Nine Mile.   She crossed the finish line at Black Head Beach in 1h33s; with Sascha Taurins from Sydney’s northern beaches in 2nd with a time of 1h3m04s, more than 2.5 mins behind Smith, and Northcliffe ironwoman, Emily Doyle, third. 

“It was a bit tricky getting off the beach with the shore dump but I managed to get in my ski and away cleanly which I was happy with,” said Smith post-race.    “It was quite a technical race, the wind was coming from the side but the last few kms were fun. Looking forward to the big one tomorrow!”



Men’s Nine Mile Cup – Forster to Black Head Beach   (22 April 2023)

1             Tom Norton      51m55s

2             Cory Hill              52m15s

3             Mitchell Trim      54m22s


Women’s Nine Mile Cup   - Forster to Black Head Beach    (22 April 2023)

  1. Jemma Smith     1h33s
  2. Sascha Taurins    1h3m04s
  3. Emily Doyle        1h3m39s
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