Neale and Sinclair in Australian Ocean Racing team

Paddlers: Georgia Sinclair and Nathan Neale are off to compete in the 2019 Ocean Racing World Championships. Picture: John Veage
Paddlers: Georgia Sinclair and Nathan Neale are off to compete in the 2019 Ocean Racing World Championships. Picture: John Veage

Paddle Australia has announced their team for the 2019 ICF Ocean Racing World Championships with two Sutherland Shire paddlers qualifying.

The team will compete at the championships to be held in Saint-Pierre De Quiberon, Brittany in the north west of France from September 9 to 15.

Elouera SLSC paddler Nathan Neale has made his first representative team competing in the under-23 men's race while Wanda's Georgia Sinclair has stepped up to the open event after winning a silver medal in the under-18 women's competition in Hong Kong in 2017.

The surf lifesaver ski paddlers qualified through the Australian Ocean Racing Series whichis a national ocean racing series attracting competitors across a number of disciplines including ocean skis, surf skis, stand up paddleboards, prone paddleboards and outrigger canoes.

There are five major events in which to qualify including the Charles Stewart Memorial Cup, the Fenn Westcoast Downwind, The Doctor, the 20 Beaches Ocean Classic and Manly Wharf Bridge to Beach.

To obtain maximum point scores athletes must compete in three majors and three series events.Canoe ocean racing is the first discipline within the ICF to have mandatory prize money, a world ranking for the World Championships participants and an official Masters World Championships.

Off to France: The South Africans and the Australians will be expected to perform along with the French team at home. Picture: John Veage

Off to France: The South Africans and the Australians will be expected to perform along with the French team at home. Picture: John Veage

Canoe ocean racing is done with long distance ocean surf ski and sea kayaks which are longer and faster than conventional surf club surf skis.

Winning a silver medal as an under-18 at the last world titles, Sinclair said surf lifesaving ski races were sprints and these races are 27 times longer.

"The women's field has grown in strength since I competed last as a junior. Now I'm a young paddler in a new category and I don't know what to really expect," she said.

"I'd like to finish on the podium but we will see what happens."

Neale, who is going to his first world titles, said he was aiming for the podium in the under-23s after a third place in the open male even at the Sydney Bridge to Beach race in February.

"I hope the winds will be kind when we are racing," he said.

"I'm better in the bumps then the dead flat as the course is always raced down wind."

The paddlers leave on September 7 for the championships being held in France for the first time. It will also signal a return to Europe, after the previous two World Championships were held in Hong Kong (2017) and Tahiti (2015).

Once again the South Africans and the Australians will be expected to perform well, especially if the conditions are challenging, but the French paddlers at home will have an added advantage.

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