Hockly claims KZN title with first victory over idol and mentor

Hamish Lovemore cruised to a convincing KZN S1 Surfski Championship win, while Saskia Hockly had to work much harder to get her first ever victory over her “idol” at the Bay Union King of the Bay event on Sunday.

Lovemore and Hockly made the most of the benign, flat conditions that suited flatwater specialists perfectly, and they claimed the men’s and women’s provincial singles titles respectively in the long-course race which started at Stella Canoe Club at the headwaters of the harbour.

In the men’s race, a group of four formed in the paddle to the harbour entrance and on the out-and-back section from there, Lovemore broke away and built a lead of just under 90 seconds on the grind back to the finish at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club.

Matthew Coetzer finished second, just four seconds ahead of Barry Lewin, with Brent Chiazzari and Brad Pearse rounding out the top five.

“It was long and lonely and flat,” said the new KZN Champion with a wry smile. “It was a nice group of four across the harbour, and once we got into the sea we started to work the bumps a bit. I managed to get a nice lead just before the turn and then put my head down on the way home and ground it out.

“My speciality is flatwater paddling so for me it does not get much better than these dead flat conditions.”

For Hockly, the win was a lot closer as she only managed to get ahead on the dice to the finish through the tiny waves near the shore, but the reward was huge for the under 23 star who claimed her first ever win over mentor, friend and former World Champion Michelle Burn.

“The conditions were so flat, if there was ever going to be a chance for me to beat Michelle it was today, because she is untouchable in the downwind,” said a delighted Hockly on the beach after her victory.

“I train on the flatwater the majority of the time, and I am a flatwater paddler so it was ideal for me, but to be able to take my first win over Michelle at a KZN Champs is truly something special after my somewhat disappointing SA Nationals.

“I look up to Michelle all the time. She is my training partner and my mentor, and she is my idol, so to be able to race against her and beat her today is an absolute dream come true.

Multiple Dusi Champion Christie Mackenzie claimed the final spot on the podium with Tiffany Koch taking fourth.

photo: Tim Whitfield

Singles – Men
1 Hamish Lovemore 1:34:37
2 Matthew Coetzer 1:36:06
3 Barry Lewin 1:36:10
4 Brent Chiazzari 1:39:42
5 Brad Pearse 1:40:02
1 Saskia Hockly 1:43:36
2 Michelle Burn 1:43:45
3 Christie Mackenzie 1:44:58
4 Tiffany Koch 1:51:34

Doubles – Men
1 Richard Lowe/Jason Ekstrand 1:31:14
2 Theo Smit/Alex Masina 1:32:47
3 Luke Steenkamp/Grant Smith 1:37:32
1 Greg Vogt/Tracey Nuss 1:45:58
2 Kwanele Banda/Shannon Parker-Dennison 1:51:23
3 Marco Magni/Chloe Vogt 1:53:33

1 Bevan Manson/Carol Manson (1st Mixed) 0:48:36
2 Duane Taylor/Jody Taylor 0:49:05
3 Allan Hold/Geoff Thompson 0:49:05
4 Lynn Combrink/John Dimmick 0:49:29
5 Claudio Manfron/Tanna Simone Coetzer (2nd Mixed) 0:50:58
6 Billy Harker/Tracy Harker (3rd Mixed) 0:52:37
1 Franco Casasola 0:55:12
2 Mikaila Brown (1st Woman) 0:55:58
3 Michelle Gregory (2nd Woman) 0:57:04

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