Zig’s Marine talks to Jake Tegart about his recent, record breaking win at Catalina – The World’s Greatest Ski Race.
ZM: What an amazing achievement Jake, not only winning Catalina but breaking the record in a time of 45:31. You’ve raced Catalina five times now, what made this year so different?
JT: A definite advantage this year was being with the Warpath Crew, with three ski racers in a boat set up with the sole purpose to race Catalina, we wiped seven minutes off my intermediate record. Mike has a very professional approach to his racing which gave me confidence as a skier. Knowing that he has successfully towed World Champions Pete Procter and Wayne Mawer, I knew I was in good hands.
ZM: How did you pick up your run this year?
JT: I wasn’t even meant to be going to Catalina this year, with a trip booked to the Diamond Race in Belgium and only having a few weeks break between uni semesters it all seemed too hard. One morning a few days before leaving for Europe, I was at work and got a call from Mike Avila, he told me that Wayne Mawer had picked up an injury and asked if I would consider skiing with them.
ZM: How did you feel about skiing with a new crew?
JT: Like I mentioned, I hadn’t planned on going this year so I’d given it no real thought when I said yes, I only knew that if I ever wanted to have a good crack at winning Catalina I’d just been given the best opportunity you could ask for. So I guess you could say I felt pretty good about skiing with Mike and his crew.
ZM: You were racing against the most capped skier to ever win Catalina. How did you get on top of him, what were your strengths over his?
Mike and I had talked about going out there and doing our best, but we both knew that with the short stop over and no experience together, beating a guy like Todd Haig seemed impossible. There’s a reason he’s won it 12 times. We put a few really solid training runs down and started to think maybe we could at least put a bit of a show on and it might not be a walk over. I don’t know that I necessarily had any strengths over him out there. Our plan was to race as hard as we could for as long as we could once the flagged dropped. We got off to a great start and just tried to make him play catch-up for as long as possible, he was there the entire way never dropping more than a few ropes until the turn less than a minute from the line.
ZM: What ski did you run?
JT: I ran my Maha Longboard, I’ve been playing with a few styles of different Mahas recently but for the big occasion I went back to the old faithful.
ZM: What other equipment did you use?
JT: For Catalina I used my ZMR web harness with double front bar, SkiFast 5.3mm rope, Cookie helmet, Oakley goggles, Wedge Bindings and Wizard wetsuit, all my gear has been great to me so far and I don’t plan on changing anything soon.
ZM: How would your equipment set-up differ for a river race?
JT: I try to run the same gear throughout all styles of racing from the river to the ocean. Running all the same gear across all racing conditions allows you to get to know your gear more thoroughly. It’s not rocket science or brain surgery, there’s only so many things you can change on a skier and the most influential would be boot and bar positioning. The beauty of the double bar is you can change your position throughout the race to get more upright in the rough stuff or really get back and get the ski out in front in the smooth. As for boots it all comes down to style. A skier’s style is reflected in their setup. My boot positioning is setup around 905mm to the back of the front boot from the back of the ski, this allows me to keep enough control of the ski at all times, well most of the time, but still allows me to get back and let the ski do some of the work at high speeds as I tire up long straights.
ZM: What’s next?
JT: Next is another full season with Donny, Kris, Grant and Trenno with Team Mercforce.
ZM: Thanks for your time Jake, is there anything else you would like to mention?
JT: Yes, thanks for all the support from my sponsors – Zig’s Marine, Coldys, Wizard Wetsuits, Cookie Helmets, East Coast Commercials, Acclaim Aluminium and Cave-fit.
ZM: We look forward to following Jake throughout 2015/16 in what is sure to be a successful season for him and Team Mercforce.