Wall & Back on a knife’s edge with one race to go

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Durban – After race five of the six-leg Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series the men’s title race is wide open after Jean Luc Mauvis became the first paddler to clinch a second race victory having stood on the top step of the podium last Friday evening as well.

With regular front runners Hank McGregor (Team Jeep/Epic Kayaks), Matt Bouman (Epic Kayaks) and Grant van der Walt (Varsity College/Epic Kayaks) all on international duty ahead of this week’s Steelcase Dragon Run in Hong Kong, Mauvis took full advantage and soared to his second consecutive victory of the Durban-based series.

“It was a bit tougher field this week compared to last but Matt (Bouman), Hank (McGregor) and one or two others were obviously still away so I wanted to try make hay whilst the sun was out,” explained the Umhloti based entrepreneur.

“I knew I needed to try bag this one before the big boys get back next week in order to try get myself in the mix as far as the overall series standings go.

“I was however a little worried coming into this week’s race though as I’ve been in Cape Town all week and so haven’t been able to get much training in at all so all things considered I’m really stoked to have got the win again,” added the Fenn Kayaks paddler.

Mauvis narrowly edged out one of the most consistent performers of this year’s Wall and Back Surfski Series, Gene Prato while Team Jeep/Varsity College’s Barry Lewin rounded out the men’s podium.

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Fenn Kayaks’ Jean-Luc Mauvis took full advantage of a weakened field at race five of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series as he notched up his second consecutive race victory.

63 year-old Lee McGregor, father of South African paddling icon Hank McGregor, continued his remarkable paddling feats as he clinched fourth place despite being more than double the age of the majority of his nearest rivals while new father Oliver Burn finished fifth.

“Conditions were pretty flat out there although there was a decent little bump on the way down to the harbour wall.

“Barry (Lewin), Gene (Prato) and I managed to get away from the start and then Gene made a bit of a move on the way down to the wall and that’s when he and I dropped Barry.

“I then just put my head down and looked to work as hard as I could on the way back and fortunately managed to just get ahead of Gene,” said Mauvis.

With paddlers’ top four results counting towards the overall series’ log positions, there is everything still to paddle for in Friday 28 November’s sixth and final leg.

“I’ve already booked my ticket down to Cape Town for the end of year races down there where I’ll be racing the singles and then the doubles with Adam Nisbet so I’m really looking forward to next week’s final Wall and Back race before the focus then shifts to Cape Town,” explained 28 year-old Mauvis.

The women’s race saw a third new face at the front of the field as weeks’ one, two and three’s second place finisher Jenna Ward (Fenn Kayaks) went one better in week five, claiming the women’s race honours while the competitive junior boys’ category was again won by Jordan Clauson.

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Fenn Kayaks’ Jenna Ward claimed her first race win of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series when she charged home ahead of Hayley Arthur.

The result is Clauson’s fifth consecutive victory in his age group and hence the junior boys’ series title is his already however the young St Benedicts matric pupil who clinched the Varsity College South African Schools title in March will undoubtedly be aiming for a clean sweep of victories next week.

Jason Ekstrand and Richard Lowe teamed up successfully as they clinched the doubles category race victory while Russell Sadler and Carmel Billson were the first mixed doubles crew home.

Friday 28 November will see the staging of the sixth and final leg of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series. The race takes place at Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club and gets underway at 17h30. More information can be found at www.wallandback.co.za

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The diesel engine of South African paddling, Lee McGregor claimed a remarkable fourth place finish in race five of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series despite being more than double the age of the majority of his nearest rivals.


1.Jean-Luc Mauvis 34.34.50
2.Gene Prato 34.58
3.Barry Lewin 35.29
4.Lee McGregor35.32

1.Jenna Ward 40.49
2.Hayley Arthur 41.45

Junior Boys
1.Jordan Clauson 36.53
2.Bailey de Fondaumiere 37.20
3.Brett Evans 38.08

1.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 33.58
2.Wayne Ashford/Bryan Taylor 35.39
3.Tristan Wilson/Lance Howarth 36.13

Mixed Doubles
1.Russell Sadler/Carmel Billson 38.12
2.Steve Blankenberg/Anna Blankenberg 51.32

Images: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

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