Hank McGregor jetted off to Hong Kong on Saturday ahead of next weekend’s Dragon Run with good momentum under his belt after he overcame a poor start to clinch victory at Friday evening’s fifth race of the 2015 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series while junior sensation Kyeta Purchase won the women’s race.
“I’m still yet to get off to a good start at Pirates this year,” chuckled the Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks ace having taken yet another big wave to the chest at the start of his race. “Fortunately Matthew Bouman also got hit by a wave and so he started slowly too.”
“I managed to hit the front around the halfway mark going to the harbour wall and then managed to open up a bit of a gap by the turn buoy.
“There was a light headwind going there but very little swell coming back so it was basically just a hard slog both ways but it was great to get the win,” he added.
The result hands McGregor his third race win of the series and with paddlers’ best five results counting towards the final series standings, the Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks racer now has yet another series title in sight.
“I would love to win the Wall and Back title again!” said McGregor. “Hopefully I can fit two more races in over the next few weeks.”
“If I could [win the series title] with all the racing that I’ll be doing, that would be really awesome!” he added.
McGregor’s frenetic calendar however sees him in tricky a race against time to secure another two results in the series’ remaining three races.
“I’ve got the Dragon Run in Hong Kong next weekend before I come back and race Ozzie Gladwin, 50 Miler, SA Surfski Champs and the Cape Point Challenge in the weeks after that, so I’ve got some pretty big weeks of racing ahead of me!”
Epic Kayaks’ Bouman recovered from his initial troubles to charge home in second place half a minute behind McGregor while Len Jenkins Jnr. – back from the paddling wilderness – made his first appearance at this year’s series and finished third.
With many of the women’s field in the Eastern Cape for the Pete Marlin Surfski Race, Fenn Kayak’s junior talent Kyeta Purchase notched up yet another senior victory as her career continues to blossom in 2015.
Purchase was followed across the line by Sharon Armstrong while Purchase’s fellow junior standout, Bailey de Fondaumiere, clinched the junior boys’ spoils.
Ryan Atkins and Peter Jacobs edged out Jason Ekstrand and Richard Lowe in the doubles category while Nic Burden and Hayley Nixon rounded out the category’s podium and were the first mixed crew across the line.
The sixth race of the 2015 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 20 November at Suncoast Pirates, Battery Beach. More information can be found at www.wallandback.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
RACE FIVE – 2015 ILLOVO SUNCOAST PIRATES WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 33.54
2.Matt Bouman 34.32
3.Len Jenkins Jnr 34.52
4.Kyle Friedenstein 35.30
5.Wayne Wilson 37.04
1.Kyeta Purchase (U18) 41.57
2.Sharon Armstrong 49.58
1.Bailey de Fondaumiere 37.18
2.Thomas Lovemore 38.28
3.Tristan Wilson 39.45
1.Kyeta Purchase 41.57
1.Ryan Atkins/Peter Jacobs 34.56
2.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 35.04
3.Nic Burden/Hayley Nixon (Mixed) 35.54
1.Nic Burden/Hayley Nixon 35.54
2.Thando Thusi/Lauren Colby 41.25
3.Malcolm Steward/Lindy Ferreira 54.20
Images: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media