Barry Lewin took full advantage of a mishap right on the finish line to sneak a win over Wade Krieger in the Seabreeze Built it Five Beaches Surf ski race on Sunday, the second race of the five leg 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Surfski Series.
Krieger had been the dominant paddler throughout the 20km race from Wydenham to Amanzimtoti and led Lewin as they turned into the surf for the finish at Toti lagoon where he misjudged a wave on a shallow sandbank, breaking the tail of his ski.
Lewin, who was right behind him, used his local knowledge to effect, and paddled past the floundering Krieger to the beach, ran the short section of beach to the lagoon and paddled home to the Toti Canoe Clubhouse to claim the win.
“It was pretty lucky!” conceded Lewin (Jeep Team/Varsity College). “Wade (Krieger) was really strong and I couldn’t believe my luck when I came past him in the surf at Toti.”
“It was a great battle today,” said Krieger. “Barry (Lewin) was so strong in the middle of the race when he caught me, and he was gracious enough to help me with tips on where to go. He fully deserved the win,”
The pair led the race from Wydenham together with the leading doubles crew of Keagan Kruger and Brian Chedzey and the strong Under 23 ace Gene Prato.
They handled the beach stops at Karridene easily in the small surf after which Krieger broke away alone. Lewin seized back the initiative after the beach stop at Winklespruit and caught Krieger as they turned into the beach at Warner Beach.
Krieger made his move as they approached the finish, despite being uncertain about the point and breaks at Amanzimtoti, where he surrendered his lead to Lewin after folding the back of his ski on a shallow sandbank.
Predictably Michelle Burn (Fenn Kayaks) waltzed home to win the women’s race on his local waters, showing her form and local knowledge as she bagged an excellent 12th place overall.
Classy schoolboy Bailey de Foundamiere was the first junior home, ten seconds ahead of Burn.
The field revelled in the superb conditions, with small surf, and flat ocean conditions making it very-novice friendly for the classic race which is held each year in honour of Toti paddling icon Sam Wyer.
Many of the paddlers were treated to an ocean spectacle spotting dolphins, small sharks and gamefish, as well as sardines beaching.
“KZN really rolled out its finest South Coast welcome today,” said Lewin. “It was magnificent out there, added to the phenomenal hospitality from the Toti Canoe Club crowd and their superb organisation, it all added up to a magical day for surf ski racing.”
The Zurich Pirates Umhlanga Pirates race, race three of the 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Surfski Series, takes place on 27 or 28 June. The final race date and venue will be announced on the series’ Facebook page on Thursday while more information can be found at www.durbandownwind.co.za
RACE TWO OF THE FNB DURBAN DOWNWIND SURFSKI SERIES
1 Barry Lewin 1:34:42.19
2 Wade Krieger 1:36:03.85
3 Keagan Kruger/Brian Chedzey 1:37:09.98
4 Gene Prato 1:38:05.94
5 Travis Wilson 1:38:40.41
6 Wayne Wilson 38:48.68
Kevin Sawyer/Gameplan Media