Former surf lifesaving ace turned surfski talent, Wade Krieger claimed the 2016 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series men’s title on Friday evening when he raced to victory at race five while junior star Kyeta Purchase claimed the women’s race spoils.
The result saw Krieger, who also reigned supreme at race one and two and finished second at race three, clock up his fourth result of the series, qualifying him for the overall standings while also earning him an unassailable lead over his nearest rivals.
Having missed last week’s fourth round clash due to being in East London for the Pete Marlin Surfski Race, which doubled as the 2016 South African Surfski Champs, the Gravity Sports/Epic Kayaks athlete returned to the Durban based contest eager to sew up the series title after a string of consistent results.
“I took a few days off after Matthew Bouman and I managed to get a second place in the doubles race at SA Champs last weekend, so I felt really good and fresh after a bit of a break,” explained Krieger.
“Even though Matthew (Bouman) and Hank (McGregor) weren’t there, I felt it was important to imagine that they were and to try push the whole way.
“I tried to keep my pace up right to the end, especially as the Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series has been going for so long now and the faithful are always there, having a good dig,” he added.
Krieger charged out the blocks and using the few small runs available on the way down to the harbour wall, refused to surrender his early lead.
Upon turning at the halfway stage, Krieger continued to push hard into the wind on the return leg as he raced home ahead of Steve Woods and Bay Union/Fenn Kayaks’ Luke Nisbet.
“I had a really good start and managed to get to the first can first.
“I headed down to the first buoy in still first place and also managed to put a bit of distance between myself and Steve.
“I then felt really strong the whole way back, had a clean line coming back in through the surf and managed to catch a good wave in to the beach.”
Woods and Nisbet were followed home by Gene Prato in fourth position with Carbonology Sport junior, Bailey de Fondaumiere rounding out the top five.
In the women’s race Purchase was unrivalled at the sharp end of the contest as the Euro Steel/Mocké Paddling flyer charged to her first race victory of the 2016 series, the perfect early birthday present to herself the day before she celebrates her 18th birthday.
Having now banked her third result of the series, matching that of women’s series log leader Jenna Ward who was absent from race five’s line-up due to being at the Dragon Run in Hong Kong – which sees many top South African paddlers competing, it is all to play for at next week’s sixth and final leg of the series in the race for this year’s women’s crown.
Another competitive doubles clash saw Byron McKie and Irvin Dixon claim the spoils, finishing ahead of Lee Muir and Shaun Burgin while Vanessa Mayhew and Charl Massyn claimed the mixed doubles’ win and Savannah van Rooyen and Siobhan Sharp the women’s.
The sixth and final leg of the 2016 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series takes place at 17h30 on Friday 18 November. More information can be found at www.wallandback.co.za.
1.Wade Kreiger 34.53
2.Steve Woods 35.24
3.Luke Nisbet 35.42
1.Kyeta Purchase (U18) 42.15
2.Thea van der Westhuizen 57.45
1.Bailey de Fondaumiere 38.15
2.Brendon Delport 43.40
1.Kyeta Purchase 42.15
1.Byron McKie/Irvin Dixon 37.02
2.Lee Muir/Shaun Burgin 37.44
3.Skye Prato/Trevor Vernes 39.41
1.Vanessa Mayhew/Charl Massyn 42.14
2.John-Craig Springate/Olivia Springate 50.35
1.Savannah van Rooyen/Siobhan Sharp 45.29
2.Tayla Gilmore/Alice Edward (U18) 59.01
Images: Kevin Sawyer/Gameplan Media