The Dubai Shamaal is the richest competitve Surfski Race in the world. Open water specialist Tim Jacobs (AUS) took out the prestigious 2008 race in a time of 1:42:39.71, leading home a bevy of paddlers from Australia and South Africa, with Olympic gold medallist Kenny Wallace finishing 18th in a time of 1:51.05.25.
Wallace, who leapt to fame at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after winning gold in the K1 500m and bronze in the men’s K1 1000m, was overshadowed by Australia’s open water contingent and by young gunflatwater paddler & Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder Murray Stewart (NSW), who is expected to make a large impact on the Australian flatwater team in years to come.
Current NSWIS and senior team member, Murray Stewart, finished 6th in a time of 1:46:41.64 amongst a field of world class ocean paddlers overnight to claim $4000 in prize-money at the Dubai Shamaal. Stewart, 22, paddles out of the Manly Warringah club in Sydney and has shown himself to be a huge prospect for Australia’s senior flatwater team in the future. He debuted for the senior team this year after overcoming a horrific 12 months of injury that included him breaking two vertebrae. As part of the Australia U23 team in 2008, Stewart won gold in the K1 1000m and three silver medals and he also won gold at RESCUE 2008, the World Championship for surf lifesaving that was held in Germany. Stewart, who was competing in his first Dubai event, says it has been an incredible year.
After all the injury problems I have had, to finish off 2008 in this fashion makes all the hard work worth it, Stewart said. Ocean racing is something completely different and to have pushed the top guys over 25km’s is pretty satisfying. I have the domestic flatwater season coming up now and the main goal is to make the senior team again. 2008 was a great year for kayaking in Australia and I want to be part of the ongoing success next year. Stewart pocketed US$4000 from the event, while Wallace settled for US$800.
Article Courtesy of: Lauren Fitzsimons, Wednesday, 3 December 2008, Australian Canoeing Online