In what can only be described as tricky conditions South African surfski ace Hank McGregor showed his class to power away from the rest of the field to claim the win in the final instalment of the 2013 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series on Friday evening.
Having missed a leg of the series and producing one poor showing meant that McGregor was unable to clinch the overall series title and that went to the consistently good Matt Bouman who came in second on Friday night.
Bouman was full of praise for the Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series when he came through the choppy surf to claim the runner-up position on Friday night.
“It has been a pretty challenging series this year but I have to say that this must be one of the best small series in the world,” the overall series winner said. “You see some of the best paddlers in the country come out here and paddle for the enjoyment of it and the guys are out there just racing for pride and fun.
“I had a couple of mixed results throughout the series but it is great to be able to take the overall series,” a satisfied Bouman said.
Like all of the other legs of the series the weather decided to dish up something different with a howling wind from the north assisting the paddlers on their race to the wall but providing a challenge for the competitors coming back into the finish.
McGregor found the going tough on the return stretch of the race as he opened up a fairly substantial lead over the chasing pack to give himself a comfortable paddle into the finish behind the leading K2 pair of Jean Luc Mauvis and Adam Nesbett.
“The conditions were really tough,” McGregor said. “It was really choppy out there which made the going pretty difficult but after I opened up a big lead on the way to the wall I knew that I just needed to maintain that on the way back and I was going to be ok.”
Having completed the gruelling 162km paddle from Richards Bay to Durban, Danica Bartho came in first in the women’s race on Friday night. It was only her second outing to Pirates this series and was just as difficult as the first one she took part in.
“It was horrible out there today!” she mentioned. “It was really tough and I was hoping that I might get some better conditions than there were when I had my first paddle in the series but it was just as bad today.
“It was all about surviving out there and just making sure you stayed in your boat!” Bartho mentioned.
Fourth place finisher in the final leg of the series and fifth place finisher overall, Barry Lewin, echoed the words of Bouman when he spoke about the beauty of the series.
“It is such a great series and is not for the faint of heart because every single week it serves up something different for us whether it be swell or wind and that is what makes it such a great series – you never know what you are going to get,” a pleased Lewin said.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
RACE SIX OF THE ILLOVO SUNCOAST PIRATES WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
1. Hank McGregor 35:43
2. Matt Bouman 36:46
3. Grant van der Walt 37:19
4. Barry Lewin 37:38
5. Brett Bartho 38:21
1. Danica Bartho 53:33
2. Jenna Ward 57:13
1. Gene Prato 43:13
2. Calvin McKie 45:14
1. Greg Worthington 43:16
1. Lee McGregor 41:00
1. Matt Bouman 394.35%
2. Grant van der Walt 386.95%
3. Brandon van der Walt 383.86%
4. Hank McGregor 379.87%
5. Barry Lewin 370.86%
6. Gene Pato 370.56%
7. Calvin McKie 341.17%
8. Anton Fouchie 318.39%
9. Greg Worthington 316.50%
10. Dave Harker 297.16%
1. Michelle Burn 252.02%
2. Nicole Russell 204.05%