As the anticipation builds for the upcoming 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships, one name that stands out in the world of ocean ski paddling is Gordan Harbrecht from Germany. With a decade of experience under his belt, Harbrecht is a seasoned ocean ski paddler who has earned recognition for his exceptional skills and unwavering passion for the sport.
Harbrecht’s journey into ocean racing began a decade ago in a local race, where he took a chance and hopped onto an Ocean Ski. In a stroke of luck, he emerged victorious in the triangle race under calm conditions. This early victory marked the beginning of a long-standing connection with the sport. A subsequent race in Germany, featuring challenging conditions and a lack of familiarity with wave navigation, landed him a close 2nd place.
Reflecting on his involvement, Harbrecht emphasised the allure of being out on the open ocean, refining his techniques, and maximising efficiency. Unlike traditional lane racing, ocean paddling provides him with a sense of liberation and an opportunity to engage socially with paddlers of varying skill levels who train and race together, fostering an environment of camaraderie.
When asked about his favourite paddling location, Harbrecht faced a difficult decision. Ultimately, he settled on “my home run in Rostock in mid summer with a proper 20knots Westwind”.
Ocean racing’s global nature has allowed Harbrecht to forge friendships with fellow athletes from all corners of the world. He expressed how the shared passion for the sport creates a common bond, enabling him to meet like-minded individuals at some of the most stunning locations around the globe. These interactions often evolve into lasting friendships, creating a fulfilling and enriching aspect of his life.
As the 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Perth, WA approaches, Harbrecht extends a message of encouragement to aspiring participants who may be anxious about competing on the world stage. He emphasises that the event is an incredible opportunity to race in Australia and connect with fellow ocean enthusiasts. He reassures newcomers that there’s no need for nerves; it’s simply another chance to experience the beauty of the ocean and share in the thrill of competition with others who share the same passion.
Looking ahead to the World Championships, Harbrecht eagerly anticipates the challenge of racing in December, a period that necessitates rigorous preparation amid Germany’s chilly waters with temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius. Undeterred by the weather, he looks forward to the top-tier races that await him, including the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week and the World Championships. Beyond the racing itself, he’s also excited to revisit Australia, a place he cherished during his previous visit, and indulge in the famed “Bacon & Egg roll.”
As the world’s attention turns to the upcoming 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships, Gordan Harbrecht emerges as a dedicated and passionate ocean ski paddler, ready to showcase his skills and determination on the global stage. His journey is a testament to the power of sports to connect individuals across borders and ignite a shared love for the open ocean.
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