Another powerful display by Mother Nature during Friday evening’s third race of the 2015 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series was met with an equally impressive outing by Hank McGregor and Michelle Burn as the pair overcame the challenging conditions to clinch their second race victories of this year’s series respectively.
With a strong North Easterly wind having blown all day and very high tides combining to form a large shore and mid-break, paddlers were forced to tackle some testing conditions at both the start and finish of the clash.
“There was a proper wave coming in and we all know about the shore break that then develops at Pirates!” said Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ McGregor. “Getting out through the surf at the beginning and then back in again at the end was probably the toughest part of the whole race!”
“I had a reasonable start but got hit by a couple of waves which gave Wade Krieger and Luke Nisbet a 100 meter lead early on which fortunately I managed to close before the turning buoy.
“On the way back I looked to push the pace a bit whilst also trying to dodge the bluebottles – Mother Nature really was throwing a few obstacles at us!
“Fortunately I managed to hit the beach first for a comfortable win and then turned around and watched all the carnage unfold behind me as those who were a bit tired battled to get their surf skills back after three quarters of an hour of racing!” he added.
The win continues McGregor build up campaign towards a frantic final two months of 2015 and busy first three of the new year.
“I leave for Hong Kong for the Dragon Run in two weeks’ time so I’ve been putting in some big miles recently trying to prepare for some big races I’ve got coming up.”
The Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks flyer was followed across the line by the series’ consistent performer of the first three legs, Wade Krieger (Herbalife/Epic Kayaks) while Kyle Friedenstein finished third with Suncoast Pirates local Luke Nisbet and Oliver Burn rounding out the top five respectively.
The women’s contest saw Burn claim an unchallenged race win over Fenn Kayaks team mates Kyeta Purchase and Jenna Ward however it wasn’t without drama for the Amanzimtoti resident.
“I got out at the start really cleanly and then had a really nice paddle with there being bumps going in both directions so it was really, really fun,” explained Burn.
“I misjudged the flags at the finish though and so I tried to turn right and keep going a little further before coming and that’s when I looked back and realized I was right in the impact zone and had to jump out of my ski at the top of quite a big wave!
“I tried to turn my ski around and head back out to sea again but by then it was a little too late. I lost hold of my ski and so it was a long swim to shore.
“I’m just so grateful both myself and my ski are all in one piece though,” she laughed.
Burn feels she is now nearing full strength again having taking some time to return to peak condition after the birth of her daughter recently.
“I tried to spend as much time in the boat as I could ahead of Fish (River Canoe Marathon) and then I did Dolphin Coast so I think I’ve got quite a good base again and I’m starting to get a lot stronger again.
“I’m trying to keep things ticking over as best I can at the moment because as a family we leave in a few weeks’ time for a two week trip to Australia where Oliver and I will be doing the Perth Doctor!” she added excitedly.
The doubles race was another tightly contested affair as Jason Ekstrand and Richard Lowe went head to with Anton Fouche and Linton Hope as well as Shaun Burgin and Lee Muir with Ekstrand and Lowe claiming the category’s win while Thando Thusi and Lauren Colby claimed the mixed doubles spoils.
The fourth race of the 2015 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 5 November at Suncoast Pirates, Battery Beach. More information can be found at www.wallandback.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
RACE THREE – 2015 ILLOVO SUNCOAST PIRATES WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 34.23
2.Wade Krieger 35.08
3.Kyle Friedenstein 37.00
4.Luke Nisbet 37.25
5.Oliver Burn 37.52
1.Michelle Burn 40.59
2.Kyeta Purchase (U18) 45.02
3.Jenna Ward 46.55
1.Bailey de Fondaumiere 39.25
2.Luke Criticos 40.36
3.Thomas Lovemore 42.19
1.Kyeta Purchase 45.02
1.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 36.05
2.Anton Fouche/Linton Hope 36.10
3.Shaun Burgin/Lee Muir 36.15
1.Thando Thusi/Lauren Colby 42.20
Images: Anthony Grote | Gameplan Media