“Greatness is more than potential. It is the execution of that potential. Beyond the raw talent. You need the appropriate training. You need the discipline. You need the inspiration. You need the drive.” – Eric A. Burns
“Consistency is the essence of progress “ – Godfrey Mocke
And Fish Hoek’s famous paddling couple, Dawid and Nikki Mocke, have it all! Greatness, potential, raw talent, training, discipline, inspiration, drive and consistency. Not only are they World Champions as a result of it, they are also very likeable people and superb role-models for us all. Both took top honours at the recent Dunlop Surfski World Cup champs in Durban, adding to their long list of achievements. We wanted to get to know them better….
When did you start surfskiing and what motivated you to get to this level of competition?
Dawid – I started Nippers (Junior Lifesaving) when I was 9 years old, so I have always been involved in ocean activities. I started paddling long distance ski races when I was about 23 (so, 9 years ago!)
My motivation first came from having a competitive nature, but now it’s about being the best I can be.
Nikki – I started Nippers when I was 13 years old and moved up through the lifesaving ranks and into Surfski paddling from there. I have been paddling in Long distance ski races since I was 15 or 16.
What, do you think, gives you the competitive edge over your fellow paddlers?
Dawid – I just love paddling, I am so privileged to do something that I am passionate about as a career. With the Surfski School, Paddling Centre and our Paddling Apparel Brand MOCKE its just a synergy of paddling. Also, we live in one of the best surfski locations in the world, especially for going downwind. Paddling here never gets boring and is always beautiful; that really makes it a lot easier to train.
Nikki – I think it’s the years of training that build up one on top of the other. “Consistency is the essence of progress “ is a saying that my father in law Godfrey has instilled in us. So it’s years of experience and tough training!
Where did you both do your schooling and what are your most memorable moments of your school career?
Dawid – I went to Paul Greyling Primary, and the Zwaanswyk Hoerskool. I wasn’t really a fan of school, so probably finishing school was the most memorable moment!
Nikki – I loved school, I went to Kirstenhof Primary and Fish Hoek Middle and Fish Hoek High School. I loved living in the community that my school was in. I would walk to school with a big bunch of my friends every morning, have them all over for lunch after school before sport and walk the streets flat.
Why have you chosen to work and settle in Fish Hoek?
Dawid – Fish Hoek is a wonderful family community where we have everything we need. It is the most beautiful area that people flock to for holidays, and we get to wake up here every day! Being a born and bred “Fish Hoeker” I think it’s the best place in the world to bring up a family and get involved in a working community.
Nikki – Fish Hoek or “ The bubble” as many refer to it as, is just that. A happy bubble that works together in a community. Everyone knows everyone and helps were they can.
What are your feelings about having grown up in the valley?
Dawid – I spent most of my life on the other side of the mountain at school wishing to be in the valley. But on weekends I certainly made up for it on the beach at Fish Hoek Lifesaving Club. The more I travel, the deeper my roots go. You just don’t find what we have here. I really really really want people to know that we live in a very special place.
Nikki – I really enjoyed it, loved the people, the outdoor lifestyle and the positive healthy outlook on life
Do you think something more can be done for the youth in the Scenic South? If so, what?
Dawid – I think a lot has changed since I was in school, I think the youth need more guidance and mentoring from our generation. They seem to be “bored” a lot. With technology as it is, they need to be made aware that they must live in the now with the people they are with. So I think getting them outdoors, experiencing real life things would make a difference.
Nikki – I think the youth are faced with extremely tough decisions, nothing like when we were at school. There are a lot of grey areas for them when making decisions. Their parents and the community need to make sure they know for sure the difference between right and wrong. They need to be involved with someone that they can ask any question of… their friends can’t be the ones giving them the sound advice. So a big brother -sister program would work well maybe.
What is your message to the youngsters of today?
Dawid – My number one message to young people is they have been created with a purpose. No matter what they’ve been through or are going through, there is a purpose for their lives. I believe that this purpose is found in one place.
My number two message is to do what you love and love what you do. If you follow your passion you will succeed.
My number three message is to always seek advice from people you admire and are successful in your eyes. Ask them what they think and what they would do.
Nikki – Now is the time! No more excuses, you can decide how you want your future to be. So wake up each day and decide to live the future you dream of.
Who are you re mentors/role models/heroes? And why them?
Nikki – I don’t really have any heroes, I believe everyone must try to be the best “me” they can be. Mentors and role models would definitely be my Parents, they have shown me how to make sound decisions, and supported me always. I also get a lot of guidance from our church, Valley Christian. There are a few key people there who help us with the tough calls.
Which surfski races/competitions are your favourite?
Dawid – I love the races that all the top guys are at. I love pushing my body to its max, so probably The Dubai Shamaal which is at the end of the year and is the unofficial world championships of surfski paddling
Nikki – I love the rough races… the ones where there is action all the way. Probably Cape Point Challenge as it’s around Cape Point and there is always that adrenalin rush when you get to a spot where you can’t escape back to land. I also enjoy paddling from Fish Hoek to Buffels Bay or vice versa depending on the wind
What is it about surfskiing that gives you the greatest satisfaction?
Dawid – Surfskiing is a completely limitless sport and you can do it in any conditions and in any water. However, there is nothing better than paddling in huge winds or catching massive swells.
Nikki – being out on the ocean and sometimes being a little scared or ‘out of your depth’ and challenging yourself to the max.
What are your thoughts on the shark issue?
Dawid – That’s a tough one. I think we need to manage the situation carefully, but it certainly doesn’t stop me from paddling or getting out there… I also think that Shark Tourism needs to be re-thought and managed more. Looking at sharks is exciting and it’s an awesome way to further and protect our marine environment, but I definitely think putting people in cages next to a piece of bait is not a good idea. I used to have goldfish and they certainly learnt very quickly whom to associate food with. A shark is MUCH smarter than a goldfish! I don’t want to roll a rock in front of someone’s business and the shark industry is a huge contributor to tourism etc. so it’s a very complex discussion. But at the end of the day I think cage diving should either not happen or there should not be food involved.
Nikki – What shark? Kidding… I don’t worry when I drive to the shop if I am going to die in a car crash, so I certainly don’t worry about sharks. I am sensible with it though, no swimming at risky times etc, but ultimately it’s something that is out of our control and in God’s hands.