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20th Running of Legendary “The Doctor” Race Headlines Epic Finale of Shaw and Partners Financial Services WA Race Week 2023

Chapter One Advisors 3 mins read

Key points:

  • The 20th edition of “The Doctor” race from Rottnest Island to Sorrento Beach is set to get underway this Saturday, 25th November,
  • Start time, subject to conditions, will be approx. 1pm, with first competitors arriving at Sorrento Beach approx. 2.30pm
  • Race is considered the “holy grail” of ocean paddling attracting some of the world’s best athletes
  • This year’s race features a field of 700 competitors, the largest ever assembled in the event’s history 
  • “The Doctor” is the culmination of Shaw and Partners Financial Services WA Race Week which is one of the most lucrative ski series in the world, with a total prize pool of +$180,000 
  • The total prize pool for “The Doctor” is $50,000

700 of the world’s best ski paddlers are flocking to the Western Australian coastline this Saturday to complete in the legendary “The Doctor” race, which sees competitors brave 27km of open ocean from Rottnest Island to Sorrento Beach in Perth’s northern suburbs. 

The race is expected to start at ~ 1pm am, with first competitors expected to arrive at Sorrento Beach at around 2.30pm pm.

The iconic race is widely considered the “holy grail” amongst the world’s top paddlers, attracting athletes including current world champion and last year’s winner Kenny Rice, four-time winner Cory Hill and two-time Australian Life Saving Championship Female Competitor of the Carnival Jenna Smith in the women’s category.

The 20th running of the race has attracted its largest ever number of participants, skyrocketing to 700 paddlers, up from 500 athletes who competed in 2022. 

“The Doctor” is the headline event of Shaw and Partners Financial Services WA Race Week and represents the culmination of an action-packed week of surf races attracting the discipline’s peak athletes from countries as far and wide as South Africa, the UK, the USA, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Shaw and Partners Financial Services WA Race Week is renowned amongst the global surf lifesaving community as one of the richest events on the sporting calendar with a prize pool of $180,000 and “The Doctor” is the crown jewel in this trove of riches with a total prize pool of $50,000 (see

Ahead of the launch of this year’s race, event organiser and previous winner, Dean Gardiner, said, 

“While us Western Australians may occasionally take it for granted, we really are blessed with some of the world’s best beaches and this allows us to showcase events like The Doctor which attract some of the globe’s top lifesaving competitors. 

The event was based around a well-known Hawaiian race between the islands of Molokai and Oahu, with the idea that athletes would want to compete in a similar high-octane event which takes advantage of our raking sea breeze, allowing competitors to hit top-speed.

That said, this year’s edition is set to be one of the toughest we have ever seen in our 20 years running the race, not just because of the massive field, but also because we’ve had a howling Easterly all week which will make the race even more gruelling and could really split-up the field early.

We’re expecting the athletes to grind their way through the ocean pass for roughly an hour and a half before hitting the Centaur Marker at Scarborough Beach which signifies a final 6km push up the coast to Sorrento. 

Whether you’re a keen paddler, are raising young nippers or are just a fan of watching the best athletes compete in their chosen sport, I encourage all Western Australians to get down to Sorrento on Saturday. Seeing the best-of-the-best duking it out to the finish-line will be a sight to behold.”

Notable paddlers to feature in “The Doctor” will include:

  • Kenny Rice - South Africa - current world champ 2022 and Doctor 2022 winner
  • Danielle Richards (MacKenzie) - New Zealand - 2019 and 2022 Doctor champ and WA Race Week champ
  • Jemma Smith - Current World Champion 2022 and runner up Doctor 2022
  • Hank McGregor - South Africa - 2nd World Championships 2022 
  • Cory Hill - SA -  2017, 2018 and 2019 Doctor winner and WA race week winner 2022
  • Tim Jacob - NSW - returning to competitors after a big break - 2011 and 2012 winner
  • Tom Norton - TAS - current leader of AORS
  • Michael Booth - local - SUP champion
  • James Tomkins - Awesome foursome 
  • Riley Fitzsimmons - Olympian Kayaker
  • Dual Paralympian John Maclean (see:
  • Triple amputee Jon White (see:


  • Georgia Miller 
  • Cory Taylor
  • Emily Doyle
  • Hannah Sculley
  • Kendrick Louis
  • Zach and Jake Morris

Other - oldest competitors

  • David Norton - doing Fenn West Coast Downwinder & The Doctor - oldest competitor at 75
  • Bill Ridderhof - Qld oldest competitors - doing all the races at 73

NOTE: B-roll of event and interviews will be available post race. 


Contact details:

For further information please contact:

David Tasker
Chapter One Advisors 
T: 0433 112 936

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