Durban – Hundreds of paddlers turned out on Addington Beach once again at the Borland Surfski Challenge, presented by Marriot. Race 6 of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series with all the participants revelling in the fine conditions and warm surf that the event has become known for.
The FNB Surfski Series is known for its relaxed, everyone-welcome attitude and that philosophy has seen the event grow into the biggest of its kind in the world. However, the racing at the sharp end of the field was anything but relaxed.
Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ Hank McGregor notched up his fifth win from six races when he continued to show why he is arguably the best ocean paddler in the world at the moment.
“I had a bit of a hiccup near the start when I got into a clash with another boat going around the first buoy,” McGregor mentioned after his win.
“There was a knock of paddles as we rounded the buoy and I got flipped out so I must have lost about 30 or 40 places!
“I really had to work hard after that and managed to catch back to the front guys after about three quarters of the first lap.”
It was a slog for the defending series champion McGregor who had to wind his way through the field in order to catch the contenders and in a live display of McGregor’s tenacity he was not happy to settle when he reached the front paddlers.
“I got to Matthew (Bouman) at the end of the first lap and sat with him for a little bit and then managed to get ahead of him over the last lap and get my fifth win of the series, which I am really happy about!
“It was great to have Matthew back this week to strengthen up the field so to get a win against such a strong group is always satisfying.
“It was phenomenal that we had some international paddlers out here, especially Emil from Sweden!” McGregor added.
With an overall series win in sight, McGregor needs one more win over the next four legs to wrap up yet another series title and his series clinching win could come as soon as Tuesday at the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge.
The ladies series took another dramatic turn on Friday evening, with Euro Steel’s Bridgitte Hartley edging out team mate Hayley Nixon for her third win of the series and an overall series lead going into the final four races.
Hartley’s win sees her move ahead of Nixon, who has two wins to her name, and Michelle Burn, who has one win, into the outright lead however, with four races left and unpredictable weather conditions Hartley will be under pressure to maintain her advantage.
Hartley took the race honours ahead of her nearest rivals Nixon in second and Burn in third.
In what was probably the performance of the race the mixed duo of Luke Nisbet (Bay Union/Fenn Kayaks) and Euro Steel/Fenn Kayaks’ Jenna Ward took the overall race honours ahead of McGregor.
The pair started the series slowly but have got into their stride and showed their class in a double ski by pipping Hank McGregor to the line.
The ever-popular novice-friendly 4km short course proved to be a family affair yet again with a number of family doubles rising to the top of the result sheet.
The pair of Zoog and Ty Haynes were the first across the line ahead of Dylan Bridges and Eugene Swanepoel with the Swart duo of Justin and Stefan finishing the race in third place.
Nick Park-Ross returned to take his third win in the stand-up paddleboarding category ahead of Brandan Read and Shayne Chipps while Jackie de Billot won the ladies SUP category.
With the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon taking place from Thursday to Saturday next week the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge will take place on Tuesday, 14 February rather than Friday evening.
The Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge, Race Seven of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Tuesday, 14 February at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach.
1.Hank McGregor 35:37
2.Matt Bouman 35:51
3.Grant van der Walt 36:30
1.Bridgitte Hartley 40:08
2.Hayley Nixon 41:00
3.Michelle Burn 41:40
1.Tyron Maher/Lee McGregor 35:46
2.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 35:58
3.Byron Mckie/Irvin Dixon 37:21
1.Louisa van Staden/Wilma Deyzel 43:34
2.Debbie Gillett/Debra Lewis 44:08
3.Jacqui Boyd/Vanessa Mayhew 46:14
1.Luke Nisbett/Jenna Ward 35:32
2.Barry Lewin/Carly Davidson 39:06
3.Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 40:100
1.Hamish Lovemore 37:40
2.Brendon Delport 41:54
3.Sabina Lawrie 47:35
1.Bruce Jackson 23:45
2.Jody Taylor 24:05
3.Dave Rees 24:53
1.Teegan Hardwick 25:26
2.Siobhan Sharp 26:00
3.Cara Waud 26:17
1.Zoog Haynes/Ty Haynes 21:48
2.Dylan Bridges/Eugene Swanepoel 22:19
3.Justin Swart/Stefan Swart 22:21
1.Nick Park-Ross 30:05
2.Brandon Read 30:18
3.Shayne Chipps 31:21
1.Jackie de Billot 32:47
2.Charlotte Atherton 0:33:49
3.Lande Williamson 35:06
images: Anthony Grote