Durban – Ideal conditions greeted paddlers for the opening leg of the eight race 2015 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series at Battery Beach on Friday evening while Wade Krieger and Donna Tutton got their campaigns off to victorious starts.
A good field of enthusiastic paddlers threw themselves at the series opener as Mother Nature served up overcast skies, warm conditions, small surf and no wind to speak of, something Herbalife/Epic Kayaks’ Krieger embraced as he edged out Epic Kayaks/SMG’s Matt Bouman in the men’s race.
“I didn’t have the best start but I managed to come back and then it was just a flat, hard grind,” said Krieger.
“At times the doubles upped the pace quite a bit which made it really intense for us singles but it was a good, hard race,” he added.
The former lifesaving sensation has shown steady progress since taking up surfski competitively two years ago and to overcome a paddling powerhouse like Bouman was a special result for Krieger.
“Matt has been paddling for over ten years and is a person a have a lot of respect for.
“I’ve also never beaten Matt in a long paddling race before so this really is a nice win for me!
“The Wall and Back Surfski Series was also the first surfski series I ever paddled in a few years ago and one I respect quite a lot so I hope to show that through racing the series as hard as I can, which I did here in race one.”
Bouman was closely followed across the line by Irvin Dixon while Suncoast Pirates local Luke Nisbet finished fourth and Under-18 flyer Bailey de Fondaumiere continued to show he has what it takes to step up and take on the seniors as he finished fifth.
Tutton, freshly back from her K2 ICF Canoe Marathon World Champs effort in Hungary, enjoyed a comfortable return to the ski while the doubles clash saw a fascinating contest unfold.
Jeep Team/Varsity College’s Barry Lewin teamed up with visiting Australian Brendan Rice – a race winner during the 2014 Wall and Back Surfski Series – as they saw off the determined pair of Gene Prato and Brett Evans.
Lewin and Rice didn’t have things all their own way though as a costly snag on the shark nets forced them onto the back foot early on and saw them having to dig deep to close the gap Prato and Evans had opened.
The second race of the 2015 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 23 October at Suncoast Pirates, Battery Beach. More information can be found at www.wallandback.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
RACE ONE – 2015 ILLOVO SUNCOAST PIRATES WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
1.Wade Krieger 33.12
2.Matt Bouman 33.50
3.Irvin Dixon 35.04
4.Luke Nisbet 35.23
5.bailey de Fondaumiere (U18) 36.33
1.Donna Tutton 39.46
1.Bailey de Fondaumiere 36.33
1.Barry Lewin/Brendan Rice 32.33
2.Gene Prato/Brett Evans 32.58
3.Shaun Burgin/Richard Lowe 33.34
1.Thando Thusi/Lauren Colby 39.11
2.Derek Hauptfleisch/Lynne Hauptfleisch 42.35
3.Dane Davies/Shenner Davies 51.08
Images: Anthony Grote