Well respected ocean racing and surf lifesaving veteran Don Marsh is making the trek from Tasmania to Western Australia for the 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships.
An outstanding paddler, Marsh has had a year to remember, taking out the 70-74 SS-1 category title at the 2022 ICF Ocean Racing Masters World Championships and being named an Award of Merit recipient at the 2023 Paddle Australia Awards.
With his passion for the sport of paddling as strong now as it has ever been, Marsh is thrilled that the 2023 edition of the ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships will take place in Perth on home waters.
“I’m certainly looking forward to coming across to Perth and being part of what I’m absolutely certain will be a wonderful event,” began Marsh.
“I had the opportunity to compete at the World Championships in Portugal last year and that was an absolute buzz, so I made a commitment to back up with this year’s event being in Australia.
“Perth is a great place to run these events and from what I’m seeing I think there’s going to be record numbers, so I think it’s going to be a pretty fun week.
“Paddling with people of similar minds and similar abilities is really quite important, so I can’t wait to catch up with all the paddlers in my age group from around the world both on and off the water,” he said.
Having started in surf life saving at 16 years of age, Marsh admits that he wasn’t initially a paddler, more often than not taking part as a swimmer.
“Over the years I gradually worked on my skills on the board and ski, even though ocean swimming was the sport I was initially attracted to,” he said.
“As you get older, I think endurance events are potentially more suitable than those that involve running hilter-skilter into the water, hence the fact I’ve been doing more ocean paddling and long ocean swims over the last 15 years or so.
“Ocean racing has just taken off all around the world, and I’ve been really enjoying ocean ski’s and the downwind paddles,” said Marsh.
A proud member of the Tasmanian paddling community, Marsh is excited to see the small state make such a large impact on the Australian and international paddling scene.
“We have a very, very strong paddling community in Tasmania, and I’m very proud that our state produces some of the best paddling talent in Australia. Tassie is quite geographically diverse as well as diverse in its population, and so we have numerous paddling events and races held year round.
“There’s never a lack of good paddling conditions in Tasmania. Obviously being at 42 degrees south, it blows, and it blows from all directions. Summer time it’s more of the south-easterly sea breezes.
“The conditions in Tassie can sometimes be quite varied, but if you remember to stay on your ski, it really is quite warm. That’s all part of it though, you assess the conditions and the risks, and it’s just a matter of people paddling to their capability and enjoying themselves.
Long time organiser of the successful Surf Safari event, Marsh notes that one of the best parts of paddling and being so connected to the elements is sharing the space with local wildlife.
“One of my regular paddling spots is not far from home, and in the last five years there’s been a seal that inhabits one particular spot called the pigeon holes. He’s usually around there keeping an eye on me and me on him, and we both give each other plenty of room to move, but just sharing that space with him is very special.
“On other occasions I’ve been out there with whales less than 200m away making a fair old splash. I’m excited to see what Perth has to offer!”
The 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships will take place in Perth from November 27-December 3. For more information, visit the event website here.