Matt Bouman and Wade Krieger pooled their deep water surfski experience and tactical nous to race away with the final title of the Bay Union Open Ocean Challenge when they won the Geriatskis Open Ocean Challenge going away on Sunday morning.
The pairing, which seems to get better with each outing, patiently sat with a fast-paced bunch from the start at Durban Underwater Club down to the southerly turn can off the Bluff, where they shrugged off all the challengers bar youngsters Hamish Lovemore and Clint Cook.
On the return leg, racing in small but tricky conditions, Bouman and Krieger took better advantage of the swell and ground out an ever increasing lead to secure the win.
“Matt (Bouman) and I have paddled together four or five times, and I can honestly say that we have never been better,” said Krieger after the win.
“The runs coming back were complicated, but he is such a fundi in conditions like that. He has been paddling the Geriatksi course down to the Bluff and back for years, and he knows it so well.
“Matt just seems to know precisely when to go hard. It felt like we understood each other better today,” added Krieger.
Bouman was also enthusing about the lengthening of his stroke, and attributed this to the time he has spent paddling behind Ant Stott in the recent flat-water marathon canoeing events.
The win will be an ominous sign ahead of the upcoming Gara Dolphin Coast Challenge on 19 and 20 August which the pairing of Bouman and Krieger have committed to racing together.
Lovemore and Cook wrapped up second in a sprint up the beach with Bailey de Fondaumiere and Gene Prato.
The women’s title fell to the impressive combination of Michelle Burn and Hayley Nixon, two of the best female surfski paddlers in the world at the moment, as they relished their time in the double ski together.
Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase were second, less than thirty seconds off their tail.
The final race of the popular Sunday morning series was also a celebration for the thriving development programme that has been activity driven by the Geriatski surfski community.
The youngsters from Umgababa have revelled in the three Short Course races in the series so far, and have been regular visitors to the Short Course podium.
On Sunday they were given the opportunity to race the 12km Long Course out to the Bluff and back by pairing them up with seasoned partners for the double ski race.
Summary of Results – Geriatskis Open Ocean Challenge
1 Matthew Bouman/Wade Krieger 0:53:12.00
2 Hamish Lovemore/Clinton Cook 0:54:11.91
3 Bailey De Fondaumiere/Gene Prato 0:54:16.32
1 Michelle Burn/Hayley Nixon 0:59:14.63
2 Jenna Ward/Kyeta Purchase 1:00:06.58
1 Zoog Haynes/Ty Haynes 0:36:34.91
2 Gabi Howarth/Lance Howarth 0:37:05.93
3 Savannah Van Rooyen/Siobhan Sharp 0:37:06.29
22 Matthew Swemmer 0:44:56.78
36 Jaqueline Lecourt De Billot 0:49:04.55
38 Lande Williamson 0:49:45.97
image: Lynne Hauptfleisch