Kurt Tutt ready for 'The Doctor'
IT’S the famed sea breeze that kicks in of an afternoon and rejuvenates the summer-stressed citizens of Perth and Fremantle.
For veteran Byron Bay paddler Kurt Tutt, he hopes the diagnosis from the Fremantle Doctor on Saturday is good.
Tutt, 33, will compete in the lucrative Surf Ski World Cup event called ‘The Doctor’, held each year from Rottnest Island to Scarborough Beach, a 24km marathon paddle with a host of Olympians and world class paddlers in the mix.
Up for grabs is $30,000 in prizemoney.
Included in the field is a ‘who’s who’ of ocean paddling and elite kayakers such as Beijing Olympic gold medallist Kenny Wallace, Wallace’s Olympic team-mates Tony Schumacher, Jacob Clear and Dave Smith, the event’s 2009 runner-up Jeremy Cotter, South Africans Hank McGregor and brothers Dawid and Jasper Mocke, plus paddlers from New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong and Europe.
Not one to be intimidated, Tutt relishes these events and he can draw inspiration from his own efforts in the race last year when he finished a credible sixth, a minute behind Cotter, this year’s favourite and Tutt’s most recent training partner.
“Competing against Olympians is pretty full-on,” Tutt conceded.
“But it’s good to mix it up with them; it’s a really good sport for that. It’s really quite motivating.
“I was happy to finish anywhere in the top 20 (last year) so to finish in the top 10 ... it just re-enthuses you about the sport.”
Tutt flew home over the closing stages in last year’s race – his first – and he said his preparations for this weekend’s event had been steady.
“I’ve done a fair bit of paddling with Jeremy Cotter, the most dominant paddler at the moment,” Tutt said.
“The training sessions have been up to 15km-20km, plus a lot of interval training, a few big paddles in Byron and some cross-training with gym work.
“Fitness-wise, I’m not too bad this year. I did a race in December in Sydney so Perth will be a good gauge of where I’m at; I might be going all right but you never know on the day.
“Training with Jeremy is a good yardstick. He won every big race in Australia and I’ve previously finished three minutes behind him, then one-and-a-half minutes behind him, so you know if you’re up near him you’re going well.
“But I guess the old secret is hard work. The training as you get older gets harder. I’m 33 but there’s only one other guy under 30 in the top 10. I have good endurance in the sport and a lot of guys in their 30s do well.”
As one of the major events of the new year, Tutt has a ‘big picture’ outlook for The Doctor.
“I want to try and do most of the World Cup-rated races in Australia and a few overseas in Hong Kong and Hawaii in May,” he said.
“After Perth, I will see how I’m going; it’s a long-race aim for Hawaii and Hong Kong, and the big races in Australia later in year.”
Tutt will have a shorter lead-in time for the race than he did last year, and will fly into Perth tomorrow morning.