Beverley Park paddler Gary Hancock wins gold at 2017 Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships

Top of the podium: Beverley Park paddler Gary Hancock won a gold medal at the Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships last month. Picture: John Mulcair
Top of the podium: Beverley Park paddler Gary Hancock won a gold medal at the Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships last month. Picture: John Mulcair

St George paddler Gary Hancock has returned from the Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships with a gold medal.

The 62-year-old represented Australia in the Masters division at the 2017 edition of the championships held in Hong Kong last month.

Hancock, who lives at Beverley Park, is a member of the Cronulla Sutherland Kayak Club at Grays Point and trains regularly with former Olympian Jimmy Walker's squad at the St George Rowing Club on the Cooks River.

Hancock took out the 22.4-kilometre race by a 32 minute margin from the silver medallist.

After taking up ski paddling through his years of involvement in surf lifesaving with clubs including Cronulla, Hancock graduated to ocean racing two years ago.

"It's quite different to still water racing. [It’s] 18 to 22 kms minimum," he said.

“In Hong Kong it was very windy, the conditions were gnarly and I was blinded by the salt spray. I had to back myself on my fitness. When I was training I knew there couldn't be any half measures, I committed 100 per cent and trained my butt off.

"The team went well. It was nice that most of the crowd seemed to get a bit bored by the number of times Advance Australia Fair got played."

Hancock is a gardener with Calvary. He joined the organisation as a nurse in 1975, following in the foot steps of his mother. There he met his wife, Helen, who was also a nurse.

By 1986 he felt he needed a change and later became the head gardener at the hospital. The team also manages Calvary's extensive hydrotherapy facilities and grounds at properties away from its main Kogarah campus.