Van der Walt and Burn get onto Wall and Back race winner’s board
Fast-rising paddling star Grant van der Walt opened his 2013 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series victory account when he surged to a narrow victory over surfski powerhouse Matt Bouman in the Suncoast Durban Surfski Challenge, race three of the six-leg series.
Having missed last week’s race van der Walt (Epic/Varsity College) was eager to get back on the water and put in a strong effort despite expecting a strong challenge from regular rivals Bouman (Epic), his younger brother Brandon (Team Jeep) and Adam Nisbet.
Despite the Bartho brothers Brett and Daryl (Fenn/Bartho’s Fish Co.) absent due to their involvement in the Da’Real Richards Bay to Durban Surfski Challenge and World Marathon Champ Hank McGregor (Fenn/MacSquad Elite), who was taking part in the CMH East Rand Vaal River Canoe Marathon, the racing was still tight and hard-fought at the front of the field.
“Even though one or two guys were away, all the other usual suspects were there and, with the conditions being a whole lot smaller and more manageable than they have been in the previous two weeks, there wasn’t any carnage at the start and it was a really good, honest paddle for all of us,” said van der Walt.
“I’m in the middle of exams so those have been my focus recently so I haven’t been paddling much in the past two weeks. I’ve really enjoyed the break and taking it easy for a bit but it was great to come back down again this week and have some fun out there.
“Matt (Bouman), my brother and I all turned at the harbor wall together and then halfway back we all took different lines, I went a bit deeper and that’s when I managed to just get the jump on Matt.
Bouman crossed the line in second just meters behind van der Walt with Brandon van der Walt claiming the bottom step of the podium. Nisbet and South Coast regular Oliver Burn rounded out the top five after claiming fourth and fifth respectively.
The ladies race enjoyed the welcome return of global surfski sensation Michelle Burn who has been out of action for a few weeks having also enjoyed some time off from competitive paddling since the 2013 World Marathon Championships and Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon.
The Amanzimtoti ace was eager to return to top flight competition and made light work of the easy-going conditions as she stormed to a commanding victory.
“I was a little upset I missed the first two races. I love it when conditions get messy. But the break was really good for me and it was great to be back again tonight,” said Burn.
“These Friday evening races are such an awesome way to kick off the weekend and are the perfect way to ensure I get at least one really good training session in over the weekend.
“Tonight was lots of fun. There were runs in both ways, which was great for me being a little off top fitness,” she chuckled.
The doubles race was claimed by Dwayne Powell and Wayne Ashford whilst Gene Prato surged to a commanding victory in the juniors division and, impressively, added his name to the sub-36 minute honours board.
Race four of the Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series starts fifteen minutes later than the first three races, getting underway at 17h30 on Friday 8 November at Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club at Battery Beach. More info can be found at www.wallandback.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ILLOVO SUNCOAST WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
1.Grant van der Walt 33.16
2.Matt Bouman 33.20
3.Brandon van der Walt 34.13
4.Adam Nisbet 35.19
5.Oliver Burn 35.19
1.Michelle Burn 38.26
2.Lauren Felgate 47.43
1.Gene Prato 35.24
2.Calvin McKie 36.52
3.Brett Wilken 44.36
1.Steve Cohen 38.59
1.Dave Harker 40.41
1.Dwayne Powell/Wayne Ashford 36.37
2.Lee Furby/Warrick MacNicol 37.10
3.André Pohl/Charles Liasides 37.29
1.André Pohl/Charles Liasides 37.29
1.Mike Nichol/Ted Waldburger 40.24