On Sunday 21 March, the Manly Wharf Bridge to Beach, one of Australia’s largest open water paddling events and regarded as one of the most spectacular in the world, marked the first race of the 2021 Shaw and Partners Australian Ocean Racing Series (AORS).

This year, wild weather and torrential rain forced organisers to abandon the traditional course, racing instead three laps of a three kilometre triangle route inside the protected harbour of Manly.

In what was a fantastic start to the season for Shaw and Partners brand ambassadors, Jackson Collins and Danielle McKenzie took out the win in their respective races. Jackson claimed victory in 00:37:41, just 12 seconds ahead of Tom Norton, while Shaw and Partners Race Team member Cory Hill was a further 18 seconds behind in third, rounding out the men’s podium. Shaw and Partners Race Team member and SUP World Champion Michael Booth finished in tenth position in 00:39:33.

The battle for the women’s title was even closer. Shaw and Partners Race Team member Danielle McKenzie continued her astounding run of results, finishing in 42 minutes and 41 seconds. Danielle was just three seconds ahead of fellow ironwoman Jemma Smith, while Shaw and Partners Race Team member Jordan Mercer was 32 seconds behind in third place.

Despite the extreme weather, more than 250 paddlers still took to the water, a positive reflection of the sport’s increasing popularity and growth in Australia.

For the sixth year running, Shaw and Partners committed to match, dollar for dollar and up to $10,000, donations made to the Manly Wharf Bridge to Beach event, raising much needed funding for Fragile X Association of Australia. At the end of the event a total of $25,600 was raised for Fragile X, including the $10,000 donated by the Shaw and Partners Foundation.

The Fragile X Association of Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people affected by Fragile X and to provide support to them and their families.  Fragile X is a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, behavioural and learning challenges and various physical characteristics. For more information about Fragile X please visit https://fragilex.org.au

For more information on the Shaw and Partners Australian Ocean Racing Series please visit https://oceanpaddler.com/ocean-events/australian-ocean-racing-series/