KUANTAN, 12 September – Great event, great race and organized by great people.
The Pahang Ocean Paddle International Challenge (POPIC) 2022 is the best sea canoe tournament ever organized in the world!
This statement was not made by any person but by four-time world champion Dawid Mocke who personally experienced the experience of competing in the race that was organized for the first time in the world here after the champion from South Africa had previously competed in many other places, especially in Europe.
“I have been racing for 32 years. I have won more than 30 tournaments around the world. In terms of tournament organized in Pahang this is the best.
“I am not praising to please the organizer but this is the fact. The tournament is very organized, and is made on a large scale on beautiful beaches. What I saw during the five days of competing here is that Malaysia has many beautiful beaches that are suitable for holding sea canoe races.
“Every day we move to a new beach, which means we get to see new places, get to know new cultures and ways of life,” said the champion of the men’s main category of the Open International Single Ocean Race.
“The organizer have set a very high benchmark for anyone who wants to organize a tournament like this. So, of course I will come back here if this tournament is held next year,” said the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 world champion from South Africa.”
In terms on the importance of this race to the community of sea canoe enthusiasts, Mocke, who is now 45 years old, said overseas participants will get a new experience competing in a different atmosphere and challenges, while for Malaysia, of course, they can use it to hone their talents and attract more people to participate in this sport.
POPIC 2022 is organized in five locations in Pahang, namely Pantai Hiburan in Rompin, followed by Pantai Lagenda, Pekan and Pantai Balok, Pantai Cherating and Pantai Teluk Cempedak, all three in Kuantan.
Among the participants who took part came from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia itself.
Women’s champion Danielle McKenzie echoes Mocke who says the tournament is the best in the world in terms of organization.
She said, for example, when the contestants arrived at the beach, their canoe were immediately taken to another place by the tournament staff and did not interfere with the path of other paddlers.
“This helps us a lot because surfski are not light,” she said.
The reigning world champion from New Zealand expects the organization of this tournament to be better if it is held again next year because the organizer have definitely gained experience and will think of ways to make it even better.
“I will definitely come again. After this I will compete in Europe, I will definitely tell other participants about my experience competing here,” said the paddler based in Gold Coast, Australia.
McKenzie, 28, emerged world champion in 2019 on her debut. The next world championship cannot be held when the whole world is facing the Covid 19 pandemic.
In the Gold Coast, she trains every day alongside Kent Jenkinson and MacKenzie Hynard, who emerged runner-up and third-place winners of the men’s Open International Single Ocean Race behind Mocke.
Meanwhile, among the oldest participants Dr. Benjamin Hewitt hopes that POPIC will continue in the future and promises to bring another of his sons to participate in this tournament.
“I used to travel to Langkawi but because of this tournament I came to Pahang. The beaches here is more beautiful and longer and suitable for canoe races.
“For me this tournament is very spectacular, the organizer have done their job very well. The organization of this tournament is very organized,” said the orthopedic specialist from Perth, Australia, who was present with his wife and a son who also competed in the main category.