The Friday night racing at the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series has got gradually hotter over the weeks and race five, the FNB Surfski Challenge, was no exception with defending men’s champion Hank McGregor getting one over current series leader Matt Bouman whilst Nicole Russell overcame a disastrous start to claim the women’s winners crown.
Over the years the name Hank McGregor has become synonymous with the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series but he has not had it is way in 2016 as he has had to wait until the fifth race of the series to get his first win.
“I missed the first three races and then wasn’t feeling well last week so to get a win finally is great,” said the Euro Steel/Epic Kayak star. “This is always a busy period for me with Dusi coming up so to get back in the ocean is fantastic and Friday’s conditions were great.”
McGregor, who has had an epic dice with Epic Kayak’s Matt Bouman in the past, had him to contend with again on Friday evening which made the racing even that more enthralling. Despite the fact that McGregor got away he always knew that Bouman was going to provide a major threat.
“It was a big race against Matt, as it always is. We were together on the first lap and then I put in a surge which gave me a bit of a gap going into the downwind.
“This put some time between him and me and I just kept up the pace and am just happy with my first win of the series,” added McGregor.
2016 has been a busy one for McGregor with the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon his next focus as training for that takes up the majority of his time however he knows that whenever he gets back into the ocean it is always going to be a difficult task to come up triumphs.
“The Marine Series is definitely one of my favourite series’ because the competition is always so intense and when you have a guy like Matt on top of his game it means that every Friday you are coming up against some formidable paddlers.
“The series provides people with the perfect start to the weekend and with conditions like they were on Friday it is no surprise that it is so popular and keeps on getting people back.
“The light westerly meant that there was a bit of assistance on the downwind but with the little bump at Marine it is a great way to spend your Friday,” McGregor beamed.
With five races left in the series and the best six results counting towards your overall position McGregor knows that he has a lot of work to do to catch the in-form Bouman.
“Matt got himself a bit of a head start in the first three races but I am hoping that the next five races are as good as this one was for me and I can contest for the series title again.
“I know that this is a big ask and it is going to be tough because I am going to have to be on top of my game in every race but it is exciting and I am hoping for some good results going forward,” a positive McGregor stated.
The ladies race was another humdinger with the ever-present Nicole Russell managing to shake of a woeful start where she swam twice to pip the young Jenna Ward in a beach sprint to claim her third win of the series.
Two disastrous swims heading out meant that she had all of the catching up to do however she managed to claw her way through the field and eventually won it on the beach in another dramatic beach sprint.
This takes the Fenn Kayak’s star one win clear of Kyeta Purchase after five legs of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series.
The doubles race was another close affair with the mixed crew of Luke Nisbet and Kerry Segal taking the overall win in the long course over Shaun Burgin and Lee Muir.
The short course was once again dominated by the impressive youngster Brendon Sharp with Keaton Riddle finishing in second place.
The Bay Union Surfski Challenge, race six of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 12 February at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – FNB SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE FOUR OF THE 2016 VARSITY COLLEGE FNB MARINE SURFSKI SERIES
|Overall||Women||Junior Boys||Juniors Girls|
|1.Hank Mcgregor 34.25||1.Nicole Russell 41.31||1. de Fondaumiere 37.55||1.Kyeta Purchase 42.24|
|2.Matthew Bouman 36.11||2.Jenna Ward 41.34||2. Criticos 39.18||2.Sabina Lawrie 51.35|
|3.Grant van der Walt 36.12||3.Kyeta Purchase 42.24||3. Purchase 42.24|
|Mixed Doubles||Women’s Doubles||Doubles|
|1.Luke Nisbet/Kerry Segal 35.55||1.Lynne Hauptfleisch/Sharon Armstrong 46.31||1. Burgin/Muir 35.59|
|2.Lee Furby/Pippa McGregor 39.02||2.Stacy Bowley/Angela Ferreira 54.15||2.Wilson/Dias 36.54|
|3.Barry Lewin/Carly Davidson 39.49||3.Chaplin/Chaplin 37.09|
|1.Brendon Sharp 23.00||1.Drummond/Gwynn 22.14||1.Nick Pack-Ross 30.14||1.Jackie de Billot 33.52|
|2.Keeton Riddle 23.16||2.Brandon Read 30.38||2.Danica Bartho 35.27|
|3.Dave Rees 24.24||3.Grantley Read 33.02||3.Lande Williamson 35.59|
Stand up paddleboarder Lande Williamson powers her way home at the FNB Surfski Challenge, race five of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series.
All images: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media