The 2017 FNB Surfski Series came to an exciting end with the Varsity College Surfski Challenge and the Varsity College SA Schools Championships taking place at the Marine Surf Lifesaving Club on Friday evening.
Appropriately, Hank McGregor and Hayley Nixon claimed Race Ten win’s and by doing so they wrapped up the overall men’s and women’s titles for the second year in succession.
Euro Steel/Carbonology’s Nixon had to finish well at the final race of the series to secure the title and with the threat of Bridgitte Hartley racing the final race of the series, the pressure was on. However, Nixon powered her way home to win by just over a minute ahead of Hartley in second with Kyeta Purchase in third.
It was an impressive seventh win of the series for Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ Hank McGregor who just pipped Capetonian Kenny Rice to the post while Matt Bouman rounded out the podium.
Much of the focus of the evening was the Varsity College SA Schools Championships which provided some exciting race across the Under 18 and Under 16 divisions with William Wood from Selborne College in East London taking a tight win.
“I have been working really hard for this and when I was behind after the first lap I just put my head down and made sure Hamish (Lovemore) didn’t get away from me,” Wood mentioned after his win.
“It was a proper, hard race and I felt good from the beginning but it was a really good contest throughout the race.”
The race was a ding-dong battle throughout the second lap with both paddlers not giving an inch, however it was Wood who got the slightest of gaps coming into the finish which was just enough to hand him a memorable win.
“On the final downwind leg we were matching each other run for run but I managed get a run ahead of him and he got caught just behind me which gave me the space I needed.
“I just held the gap for a bit and grew it slightly coming into the finish.
“Such a great feeling to be able to win a race that I have been working towards for so long and take back the title to East London!” a satisfied Wood added.
Young Under 16 paddler Ulvard Hart came home in third place in the boys section with Hamish Mackenzie just behind him to take second Under 16 and fourth overall.
In the girls race it was FNB Surfski Series regular Sabina Lawrie who was too strong for the rest of the girls field as she finished eighth overall and just under three minutes ahead of Christie Mackenzie in second.
Zara Wood was the third girl across the finish line and was the first Under 16 girl to finish the 8km course. Cara Waud was second Under 16 and sixth girl to finish.
On another jam-packed Friday evening at Marine SLC Luke Nisbet and Jenna Ward showed their class once again to finish third in the doubles category and claim another mixed doubles win whilst Jason Ekstrand and Clinton Cook took the overall doubles spoils.
Mthebeni Mhkize was the strongest boat in the 4km short course, however the strongest boat in the race was the visiting doubles pair of Andre and Helen Wood.
Carmel Billson was in fine form as she finished the short course as the third single ski and first female ski. She finished ahead of Siobhan Sharp in second and Jenna Nel in third.
In the stand-up paddleboard category Nick Park-Ross once again showed his skills to claim another win. In the ladies SUP category it was Danica Bartho who finished top once again and finished fifth overall.
RACE TEN OF THE 2017 FNB SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 31.24
2.Kenny Rice 31.42
3.Matt Bouman 31.45
1.Hayley Nixon 36.39
2.Bridgitte Hartley 37.30
3.Kyeta Purchase 39.08
1.Jason Ekstrand/Clinton Cook 31.26
2.Thomas Lovemore/Felix Richter 32.52
3.Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 33.02
1.Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 33.02
2.Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 35.43
3.Rowan Matthews/Jenna Matthews 37.39
1.Emma Broberg/Emma Andersson 36.26
2.Wilma Deyzel/Lyn Bennett 40:16
3.Sharon Armstrong/Kelly Biljoen 41.52
1.Mthebeni Mkhize 20.09
2.Bruze Jackson 21.16
3.Carmel Bilson 22.48
1.Carmel Bilson 22.48
2.Siobhan Sharp 23.12
3.Jenna Nel 25.05
1.Andre Wood/Helen Wood 18.56
2.Jody Taylor/Duane Taylor 19.28
3.LAnce Howarth/Jade Howarth 21.18
1.Nick Park-Ross 25.27
2.Brandon Read 26.34
3.Jon Ivins 28.08
1.Danica Bartho 29.00
2.Lande Williamson 29.28
3.Charlotte Atherton 30.07
VARSITY COLLEGE SA SCHOOLS CHAMPIONSHIPS
1.William Wood 34.14
2.Hamish Lovemore 34.38
3.Ulvard Hart (U16) 36.21
1.Sabina Lawrie 38.16
2.Christie Mackenzie 41.21
3.Zara Wood (U16) 43.20
1.Ulvard Hart 36.21
2.Hamish Mackenzie 36.25
3.James Matthews 43.43
UNDER 16 GIRLS
1.Zara Wood 43.20
2.Cara Waud 47.25
images: Anthony Grote