James Casey is tireless. By his own admission, just a few years back, he never thought he would be of the calibre to take on the best of them in major stand up paddle events, both at home and abroad. But not one to rest on his laurels, Casey has really pushed himself over the last number of years, and he’s very clearly bearing the fruits of his hard-won labour. Placing 1st in this year’s The Doctor, 3rd in the Stand Up Surf Shop King of the Cut 2017 and even hoisting himself up to the bronze medal spot of the podium at the Australian national SUP surf championship, it’s safe to say, it was a very good year for the Sydney local. But the year’s not over yet! And we’re fairly sure that with his can-do attitude, 2018 holds just as much promise in store for him.
James Casey, you recently won The Doctor 2017 in Perth, Australia, fending off stiff competition from Jake Jensen in 2nd and Michael Booth in 3rd. How did you feel after this win?
I was over the moon. Four years ago when I first did The Doctor I never thought it was possible for me to win. I was actually beaten by Angie Jackson and had a lot to learn in the ocean.
Since then I’ve put in hundreds of hours in the ocean with the goal of winning premier ocean races such as the Doctor. I’m stoked to say it’s paid off, being able to stand on top of the podium this year with the record race time for the Doctor. It’s a great feeling!
You also recently reached the podium of the Australian SUP surf championship 2017. What did this mean to you?
I placed 3rd, behind Kai Bates and Harry Maskell. I was just stoked to make the final behind some of the most impressive and in form surfers this year, especially in beach break conditions.
Maybe one year they’ll move it to a chunkier wave and I might be able to have a better shot at the title, but for now I’m happy chasing these guys down.
A couple of weekends ago, you took part in the King of the Cut 2017 and placed 3rd, just behind Jake Jensen and Titouan Puyo. Was this a setback?
I don’t see it as a setback. Of course, I was gunning for first place, especially as it is known to be such a challenging race, with plenty of bumps and the most awesome downwind conditions. I was perhaps putting a bit of pressure on myself too, as over the last few years, the winner of The Doctor has gone on to win the King of the Cut also.
But I was very pleased for my fellow competitors. For Jake, for Titouan, and for Michael Booth, who placed fourth. The competition is certainly very tough, so I was just happy to make the podium on my first foray into this competition. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll be able to get an even better result next year. It’s all to play for!
Now that all that is behind you, are there any other events penciled into your calendar before the end of the year?
The busy year of racing never stops, but there’s little room left in the year at this stage of course! The final major event in my own calendar before 2018 is the Haven Classic down in Victoria, which takes place this Saturday 16 December.
Then, the raceboard will be put away for a while, and foiling and surfing will be on the agenda!
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