FNB Surfski Series women’s title race going to the wire

Michelle Burns

Michelle Burns

The women’s series honours have been thrust into the spotlight as the race heats up with Michelle Burn registering her second win of the series at the FNB Surfski Challenge, one adrift of Hayley Nixon and Bridgette Hartley, with just two races left in the popular 10-leg series.

With Hank McGregor having wrapped up the men’s title last week with his sixth win of the series, the focus shifted to the ladies title showdown with a three-way sprint for the overall honours with Nixon holding a slight advantage over the chasing pair.

“I thought the North-Easter was going to die down a bit but it didn’t so I battled a bit paddling into the headwind and my arms got pretty tired!” race winner Fenn Kayaks’ Michelle Burn commented.

“When we turned at the top can Hayley probably had a about two runs on me but on the downwind section I managed to get some good runs and get ahead of her.

“She then caught me again on the paddle to the can on the second lap so it was such a good race between the two of us, I just made sure that she didn’t get too far ahead of me.”

Conditions have varied over the eight weeks of racing however they have steered towards the benign and for Burn having some choppy conditions played right into her hands.

“I always knew that I was going to be able to link some good runs together over the downwind leg of the race and get the lead but it wasn’t as easy as I was hoping it was going to be!

“Luckily I was able to get a few really steep and awesome runs and I was even more lucky to hold on a small swim at the finish!

“When I fell out I hoped that my ski would be facing the shore and it was so I was able to just beat Hayley to the line,” a smiling Burn added.

The men’s race was a one-sided affair as SMG/Epic Kayaks’ Matt Bouman showed his class to take his second singles win of the series ahead of series stalwart Wade Krieger in second and Grant van der Walt in third.

Men’s series winner Hank McGregor swapped his single for a double as he and Lee Furby powered their way home to a doubles win in front of Quinton Rutherford and Brian Taylor in second and the Mckie pair of Calvin and Byron in third.

The Euro Steel/Fenn Kayaks’ ladies pair of Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase rekindled their partnership to dominate the ladies race, both singles and doubles, to finish 13th overall on Friday.

Donna Winter and Shaun Burgin were the fastest mixed double home with Hamish Mackenzie taking the first junior title away with him.

On the 4km short course it was Warrick Mac Nicol and Dwayne Powel who were the fastest across the line ahead of Jason Ward and junior Matthew Mouron in third.

Carmel Billson was the strongest lady in the short course race as she finished just under two minutes ahead of Tracey Nuss in second with Siobhan Sharp finishing third.

After missing the last race of the series Nick Park-Ross showwed his class to come back and take another win in the stand-up paddle boarding category ahead of Matt Swemmer and Danica Bartho in third.

The Hi-Q Surfski Challenge, Race Nine of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 24 February at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – FNB Surfski Challenge

1.Matt Bouman 37:25
2.Wade Krieger 38:28
3.Grant van der Walt 39:04
4.Gene Prato 39:27
5.Bailey de Fondaumiere 40:07
6.Jordan Clauson 41:34
7.Tyron Maher 42:04
8.Thomas Lovemore 42:14
9.Oliver Burn 42:54
10.Donald Brierley 43:21

1.Jenna Ward/Kyeta Purchase 42:25
2.Michelle Burn 43:35
3.Hayley Nixon 43:43
4.Pippa McGregor 55:14
5.Christie Mackenzie 58:44

Men Doubles
1.Hank McGregor/Lee Furby 38:27
2.Quinton Rutherford/Brian Taylor 41:07
3.Calvin Mckie/Byron Mckie 41:39

Mixed Doubles
1.Donna Winter/Shaun Burgin 42:04
2.Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 44:23
3.Mark Lewin/Anna Clifford-Arwidi 47:02

Women Doubles
1.Jenna Ward/Kyeta Purchase 42:25
1.Hamish Mackenzie 44:50

1.Warrick Mac Nicol/Dwayne Powell 20:59
2.Jason Ward 24:26
3.Matthew Maroun 26:23

1.Carmel Billson 32:41
2.Tracey Nuss 34:04
3.Siobhan Sharp 35:21

1.Nick Park-Ross 48:44
2.Matthew Swemmer 52:40
3.Shayne Chipps 1:05:12

1.Danica Bartho 54:35

Source:  (reprint) http://marineseries.co.za/?p=837


Rice Snatches Win From Friedenstein-- 15th Race in the SeaDog Series

Decided at the Run Up

The 15th race of the SeaDog Series in Fish Hoek took place on February 17.  In pristine conditions, the race was a classic!  Kyle Friedenstein and Kenny Rice went head to head for the whole race.  Friedenstein took the last buoy first, but Rice took a more direct line to the beach and took the win right at the death.  The results for the men were:  Kenny Rice 1st, Kyle Friedenstein 2nd, and Mark Keeling 3rd.

Rounding the last buoy -- Friedenstein, followed by Rice and Keeling


The women’s race was a more leisurely affair with Nikki Mocke taking a comfortable win.  Emma Broberg came in 2nd and Angie Austin rounded out the top three.

Nikki Mocke

Full results:

The 16th race of the Series runs this Friday, February 24.

Sam Mocke starting young with a world class coach by his side

Angie Austin

All Photographs courtesy of Cape Town Sports Photography.

Epic V-Series Revisited---Chris Laughlin

Innovators do not work within conventional boundaries, they develop new ideas and bring them to fruition, often changing the entire landscape they are working within. It’s been over a decade since Epic Kayaks released their original V10 surfski, an ocean-racing kayak that did more than define the Epic brand. It redefined the sport of surfski and set a new standard of design and production that fueled growth of the sport worldwide.

The Epic V10 showed that surfskis could be accessible and user-friendly; it drew in kayakers who were once turned off by surfski instability and limited availability.  Greg Barton’s ability to look forward and see what paddlers needed in order to paddle surfskis more comfortably and efficiently catapulted Epic to the leading edge of the market.

Matthew Bouman on the Epic V10

The impact of their new boat on the surfski market was immediate, and true to his innovative nature, Greg used the success of the original V10 as a springboard for new models in the Epic surfski line, continuously exploring new shapes and outfitting to find the right fit for all ability levels. Within eight years of the V10 release, the range had expanded from entry-level to elite, with refined construction and outfitting that continues to be the driving force for other manufacturers entering the market.

It might have been easy for Greg to step back and enjoy what Epic had created for a little while – but that is simply not in his nature. Greg is incredibly driven to refine his products and develop new ways of looking at the sport. He always pushes forward and uses everything he has learned, and continues to learn, to advance his brand and keep it on the cutting edge. In 2013 Epic proved this when they released a new generation of their surfski line, familiar in namesake, yet incredibly fresh in design and outfitting.

The buzz generated by the refreshed V-Series designs was reminiscent of the original V10 release, and rightfully so. Paddlers around the world were amazed that the Epic surfski line they were so familiar with was now even faster, more stable, and more comfortable, with improved outfitting. The surfski landscape was once again changed for the better….

Barton Early Model Trials

The Epic V-Series, Revisited

The flagship of the Epic V-Series line of surfskis, the original V10, touched off a new era surfski design and manufacturing around the world. When did you first start talking about an Epic surfski design, and could you have imagined the impact it would have?

Greg:  We first discussed doing a surf ski in 2003 (we were already doing sea kayaks at the time), and then started pushing forward at a more aggressive pace to bring a design to fruition in 2004. As the design progressed, we were confident that the design features we envisioned (single footwell, adjustable footbrace with self adjusting lines, good combination of speed/stability/handling) would be readily accepted. It did not surprise us that the V10 set the standard for years to come with many features being borrowed by the other ski manufacturers.

In the years after the V10’s release, the V-Series grew to a wide spectrum of models, from entry level to elite. Did you originally anticipate such an expansive range of Epic surfskis, or did you find yourself designing new models in response to a growing market?

Greg: At first we were looking at just a fast racing ski, as that was the niche of most other skis in the market. When customers remarked how they liked the somewhat forgiving stability of the original V10, we knew there would be a market for an even more stable boat, the V10 Sport. The V8 was entering new territory. I was unsure about it at first, but the V8 turned out to be a groundbreaking model – a fast boat that could be easily paddled by most beginners, an easy crossover boat for sea kayakers and an excellent fitness boat.

When you look at the original line of Epic surfkis, which model do you think had the greatest impact on Epic’s position in the surfski marketplace? The V10 was the original, but the V8 was incredibly inclusive.

Greg: While both models made a big impact – I’d have to go with the V10. The V10 had so many revolutionary features that have since become standard in most skis. However, the V8 did really open up the surf ski market – making it more mainstream and suitable for a much wider range of participants.

The newest generation of the V-Series, featuring enhanced designs and outfitting, injected new life into an Epic brand already known for cutting edge designs and trend setting products. When did you start thinking about implementing these fresh changes to the Epic surfski line?

Greg: The design changes started with the original V12 in 2008. The V12 included radical cutaways at the paddle catch and a re-designed seat to give more comfort and better ergonomics. We made the change from an always-open Venturi system to the Anderson bailer. The bailer can be closed and prevents backflow – allowing paddlers in northern climates to avoid lapful of cold water on the first stoke. It’s also faster in flat water since there are no protrusions disrupting water flow around the hull when it is closed. We added even more enhancements in later models, including our own bailer design which drains significantly faster and allow multiple positions to balance the amount of bailing required with induced drag.

You have always said the original V10 was dialed back in speed as to not compromise reasonable stability. Was this still a primary focus when revisiting the designs? If the boats are more stable, were you still able to make the hulls faster?

Greg: Stability was a certainly a consideration in the designs of our new series. We’ve noticed that the technique of many paddlers (even those who do not feel unstable or in eminent danger of capsizing) suffers as they subconsciously reduce their body rotation or commitment to the catch. The speed gains were a result of our decades of experience paddling and designing kayaks. We went through countless iterations, making tweaks here and there to arrive at what we felt was the optimal balance of speed and stability for the intended target customers for each model. For those for whom stability is truly not a concern and want the fastest ski possible, we introduced our V14, which is our least stable (but fastest) ski ever.

Would you call the changes you made “tweaks” to the originals, or do you consider the new models different enough to be new, ground-up designs? The latest designs are clearly similar in specs to their original namesakes, but are these new boats?

Greg: Even though they share the same names (V10, V10 Sport, V10L, etc.), the new V series are completely new designs. We started with a blank slate and designed the new series from the ground up. The only one drawing from the previous version is the V8. We tweaked the hull, then modified the back deck, handles and added our new bailer for the current generation.

What is your favorite design change found in the new models? Which boat do you currently use for the bulk of your training and racing?

Greg: It’s hard to pinpoint one change that is my favorite. I believe the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I enjoy the faster speeds, but would not be satisfied without the improved ergonomics. I paddle the V14 most often. After decades of paddling tippy ICF K-1’s, it’s the perfect boat for me in the Northwest where we get a variety of conditions. Extremely fast on flat water, but able to handle the rough stuff when conditions pick up. I use the weedless rudder with the guard, but then switch out with the surf rudder when I get into really big conditions.

Jasper Mocke on the Epic V14

Do you think you’ll be able to design a surfski faster than the V14 that still maintains some semblance of stability for ocean paddlers?

Greg: It would be splitting hairs to make a ski much faster than the V14 – a huge loss of stability for an imperceptible increase in speed. That being said, you can never say never. Perhaps with a few more years experience and new ideas that nobody’s even thought of yet, it would be possible to make an improvement.

The new V10 has been exceptionally popular, due in large part to its terrific stability for a hull that flirts with elite specs. This new blend of speed and stability has paddler’s wondering: is it elite or intermediate? Some now call this style “advanced intermediate”. How would you categorize the new V10 in this context?

Greg: I’d classify the new V10 as an advanced ski – it can hang with the best of them speedwise. People who want an advanced intermediate ski should look at our new V10 Sport. I feel this is the most underrated ski in our line. Some paddlers dismiss it thinking it is below their ability level. But if they gave it a chance they’d find it’s very fast and great in a variety of conditions. It’s a really fun boat to paddle!

We’ll continue to introduce new or upgraded models as we see opportunities to fill a niche that our customers are looking for. We always have multiple R&D projects in the pipeline. Some of them never make it to the marketplace. Some will get shelved for a year or more after initial tests, until we are able to find a better way to accomplish our goal.  But we are always looking for ways to improve our products, and the paddling experience for our customers.

Barton Olympic Sprint Kayaking

by Chris Laughlin

Ed Mckeever Calls It A Career

Celebrated British Sprint Canoeist Ed Mckeever announced his retirement today from competitive paddling. The 200 meter specialist made the announcement after the recent birth of his son and states:

"Having a son four weeks ago means that I want to spend some time at home and realistically you can't also live the life of a full time athlete which is inherently quite a selfish one and doesn't really fit with the life of a parent".

"I want to spend some time with my family and this has been a strong driver for my retirement."

Mckeever holds the distinction of being the first sprint kayaker to win gold in the debut of the 200 meter event at the Olympics.   

He failed to qualify for the 2016 games in Rio, with teammate Liam Heath continuing where Mckeever left off by bagging gold for British Canoeing and keeping the 200 meter event solely in the hands of the Island nation.

Mckeever's past accomplishments also include gold medals at the World and European Championships.

With Mckeever's announcement as well as the recent departure of longtime coach Alex Nikonorov, British Canoeing finds itself in a transitional state.  Riding on the extremely successful results over the past several years, the future for the program will seek to rededicate and move forward, aiming to continue their winning ways under new coaching. 


FNB Dusi -- Birkett & Solms Cruise to Grueling FNB Dusi Titles

Day 2:

The 2017 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon’s venomous stage two tail flicked as drama unfolded behind the unrivalled Andy Birkett and Abby Solms as the race for second place heated up with both the men’s and the women’s race’s podiums receiving a shake up before the finish at Inanda Dam on Friday.

Paddlers knew that the second stage of the three-day journey was going to be as tough as they get with the 10km stretch along Inanda Dam not providing any favours with water levels being so low.

When race leader Euro Steel’s Andy Birkett set off at 6am this morning he had a four minute advantage over Sbonelo Khwela, however the 26 year-old refused to rule out the option that Khwela might make up the deficit.

“I convinced myself at one stage that Sbonelo was right on my tail!” Birkett quipped.

“It was good motivation for me though to get me through but when I got to Nqumeni I was ready to get in my car and go home.

“Worrying about Sbonelo was good for motivation but I was paddling scared all day with these guys chasing me down.”


Birkett’s endeavours through the stage were beyond comprehension as he continued to balloon his advantage and by the time he arrived at the head-waters of Inanda Dam he had a 14 minute lead over Khwela.

“I was tired but I wasn’t stressed because I know that if you stress then you have the chance to make mistakes.

“Two years ago I made a big mistake at Thombi and Hippo (Rapids) purely because I was stressing about being caught instead of concentrating on your own race,” he mentioned.

Making up the five minutes between himself and Sbonelo Khwela meant that Euro Steel/Kayak Centre’s Hank McGregor had to knuckle down on the paddling and limit the damage on the Nqumeni portage however the plan didn’t quite come together.

“It was always going to be a massive ask for me to try and catch two phenomenal athletes and I tried not to get too excited at the start and pace myself so the wheels don’t fall off on the dam.

“I then tried to push my pace and then made the biggest mistake possible, I took completely the wrong path going down Nqumeni and ended up bundu bashing and when I got back to the water I was spent emotionally and physically,” McGregor admitted.

McGregor’s efforts over the 10km stretch on the dam was a testament to his attitude as he hunted down Khwela in front of him and dissolved any advantage that Euro Steel/Red Bull’s Khwela had.

The 46km stretch from Dusi Bridge to Inanda Dam was not without its drama for Khwela who, whilst on the treacherous Nqumeni portage, came unstuck.

“I was running over Nqumeni and my seconds gave me a fresh water bottle but when I got to the put-in at the bottom I didn’t have any juice.

“I started to panic a little and knew the distance I had to go until I got a refill. Luckily I was helped out with a bit of water and then some cold drink that got me through to the dam.

“When I got on the dam I had to put in as much power as possible but when I looked back I saw Hank. Eventually Hank caught me and we stayed together all the way to the finish and I was happy that I stayed with him right to the finish,” Khwela said.

After the second stage it is fair to say that Euro Steel’s Abby Solms has an eye over the Inanda Dam wall to Blue Lagoon and a maiden FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon title.

“It’s comforting to know that I have such a substantial lead and tomorrow I am not under too much pressure,” Solms smiled.

“Tomorrow is a big day with Burma Road and it is going to be hot so racing aside it going to be a hard.”

Solms’ charge to the finish on Friday was fairly flawless despite a hiccup at one of the Big Three rapids however Solms went through the day focusing on picking off the men’s competition around her.

“I started in and amongst the men so I kept telling myself that I wanted to catch a certain guy by a specific point and stay ahead of the guys behind me.

“In my head I knew that I wanted to get to the dam with a group so I planned my race and used the guys as markers,” she explained.

In pursuit of her first FNB Dusi podium in only her second attempt, Euro Steel’s Bridgitte Hartley made up the ground that she might have lost after a disastrous first stage on Thursday.

“I would have to say my two days were chalk and cheese!” a visibly exhausted Hartley said. “I definitely had a much better day today. I tried to keep calm in the beginning and get through the few obstacles along the way.

“When I knew I was through the obstacles I knew that I could power away!”

Tracking down young Christie Mackenzie was the first take on Hartley’s to-do list on Friday however it was job done quite early on the second stage.

“It was a little bit unexpected that I would catch Christie as early as I did and I thought that if I could catch her before five kilometres I could put some time into her and not have to worry about looking over my shoulder,” Hartley added.

With the central theme of race twists running like a spine through day two the junior race saw its own twist with Stewart Little taking the lead in the junior race category from Mvelo Ngidi while Christie Mackenzie consolidated her substantial lead in the junior girls age group.

In the under 16 age category, David Evans was in sublime form finishing as the second junior boat over the line while Caitlin Mackenzie was the strongest Under 16 girl on the day and maintains her overall Under 16 lead.

Day Three, the final stage of the 2017 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon is a 36km stage from Msinsi Resort to Blue Lagoon in Durban. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za

Day 2 Video:

Andy Birkett and Abby Solms

Three flawless days from Andy Birkett and Abby Solms in the toughest conditions in over a decade saw the pair march convincingly to their respective men’s and women’s titles at the 2017 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon finishing at Blue Lagoon on Saturday.

Andy Birkett’s three day performance was one of class and experience as he didn’t put a foot wrong on his 120km trip to the sea. Birkett has now tied with the ‘Dusi Duke’ Martin Dreyer with seven Dusi victories with Birkett finishing first in four consecutive races from 2014 to 2017.

“I am not surprised we didn’t have a water release on day three with the drought that we are experiencing but this stage today was definitely the toughest stage of Dusi racing I have experienced,” Birkett said.

“It was a tough day and everyone really deserves their medals!”

“This year’s win has been quite special with the conditions and I can really appreciate sitting back and putting my feet up for a bit – maybe a bit of kite surfing!”

The race for second was ended half way up the grueling Burma Road portage as Euro Steel/Red Bull’s Sbonelo Khwela powered past Hank McGregor and into the distance to his best K1 place at the FNB Dusi.

“I am really happy with my second and I don’t mind losing to a guy like Andy, he paddled so well!”

“I have been working so hard on my paddling so to come second ahead of a guy like Hank McGregor is a great feeling,” Khwela continued.

“To keep focused on my own race today was very important to me and to not chase Hank on the dam. I managed to keep my cool and it worked for me!”

Before the start of the final stage on Saturday most punters would have put the podium positions to rest with McGregor and Khwela set to fight it out for third, however Build-it/Williams Hunt’s Thulani Mbanjwa had other ideas.

“On day one I felt really flat and I was not happy with how I went so I knew that if I could fix it over the next two days I would be in a good position.

“Today the legs felt really good and I just carried on powering on the runs.

“I did have to look over my shoulder a bit to see if Hank was behind me but I managed to hold him off, something I am proud of!” Mbanjwa said.

Solm’s performance was unrivalled as she led the ladies race from the first portage on the opening day to the finish at the mouth to the Indian Ocean. It was a sublime way for the 27 year-old to wrap up her first FNB Dusi title.

“I think I feel more relief than anything at the moment!” Solms mentioned with a smile.

“It was such a tough race, we had all the elements against us throughout but I came into the race wanting to win and I managed to achieve exactly what I wanted!”

With 120km to navigate from start to finish the margins for error become smaller and smaller as the race progresses and despite a slight mishap on the second stage of the race Solms believes she was as close to her best as she could get.

“You are never going to have a flawless race but I was happy that I managed to put three really good days of paddling.

“I have put so much into this so it is satisfying to get a good result,” a chuffed Solms added.

Bridgitte Hartley went into the final day in second and might have had the edge over the dam with her flat-water prowess however when the paddlers were on their feet it was Mackenzie who came into her own.

“I’m very, very happy with my result! I am still just trying to get my breath back from that stretch into the finish but still over the moon with a podium finish.

“I was so happy with how I went today considering my performance yesterday. I nearly felt like giving up on the dam but I am happy I pushed through today in such tough conditions!”

Hundreds of paddlers set off from Camps Drift on Thursday not entirely sure of what the three days of paddling would have in store with uncertain water levels and difficult environmental issues to consider, however as is Dusi tradition paddlers embraced the experience positively at the finish on Saturday.

“It’s fantastic to see the unbelievable turnout of the competing paddlers and spectators enjoy the incredible experience of taking part in this competition.  We congratulate all the participants especially the winners who showed impressive resilience all the way to the finish line,” says Howard Arrand, KZN Provincial Head of FNB Business.

Stewart Little walked away with the Under 18 boys prize ahead of Mvelo Ngidi and Minenhle Mbhele in second and third respectively. Behind Mackenzie in the girls under 18 increment was Tracey Oellermann and Gemma Lawson.

David Evans was impressive over the three days winning the Under 16 boys crown while Caitlin Mackenzie was the fastest Under 26 girl throughout the three days.

Source (reprinted): http://dusi.co.za/2017/02/18/2367/


McGregor snaps up another FNB Surfski Series title

Another dose of crystal clear, flat conditions greeted paddlers on an unusual Tuesday evening for the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge, Race 7 of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series saw another polished performance from Hank McGregor to take his sixth win of the series and the overall series spoils.

The race is moved from its traditional Friday slot due to this week’s FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon, however, hundreds of avid surfski paddlers came out to show support for the Lettie Fund, which supports those currently in a fight against cancer and remembering those who have lost their battle to the disease.

Having only missed one of the opening seven races of the 10-leg series, McGregor knew what was on the line at the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge and the Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ star took no prisoners over the 8km course.

“The race went a lot better than last week for me and it’s great to cap off my sixth win of the series with an overall series title,” McGregor said.

“I got myself a good lead early on and just managed to build on that but I didn’t want to do too much with the Dusi starting just 48 hours after the race.

“I did just enough to get the win and really chuffed with the series win!”

The men’s race podium was rounded out by the series’ runner-up Matt Bouman, and junior Hamish Lovemore was in really good form to bag his second third place finish of the series.

The ladies series quest took another exciting twist on Tuesday evening when Euro Steel/Carbonology Sport’s Hayley Nixon claimed her third win to move into a tie with Bridgitte Hartley with three wins apiece.

Nixon Nabs Her Third Win

The flat conditions were going to test the athletes to the full at the seventh race of the series and for Nixon she was satisfied that she managed the conditions well and got another vital win.

“It was a bit unusual to come out on a Tuesday night for the race but it was another great race in some gruelling conditions.

“I missed having Bridgitte (Hartley) because she really ramps up the racing but it was great to be out there again and taking on the men so it was interesting to see the times,” Nixon mentioned.

Euro Steel’s Kyeta Purchase rounded out the ladies podium with another solid showing at the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge.

The leading double was the Capetonian pair of Dawid Mocké and Ian Black who pipped Jason Ekstrand and Sweden’s Emil Torstensson in second and Joseph Williams and Phillip Smith rounding out the podium.

Luke Nisbet and Jenna Ward were once again in imperious form as they wrapped up another mixed doubles win and an impressive third place overall finish.

Jody Taylor won the short course ahead of Chester Foster and Alan Beukes while the strongest double went to the family pair of Zoog and Ty Haynes.

Matthew Swemmer bagged a victory in the stand-up paddleboarding category ahead of Shayne Chipps and Brandon Read with Jackie de Billot winning the ladies SUP category.

The FNB Surfski Challenge, Race Eight of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 24 February at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge

1.Hank McGregor 30:40
2.Matt Bouman 31:04
3.Hamish Lovemore 32:19
4.Grant van der Walt 32:21
5.Gene Prato 33:01
6.Bailey de Fondaumiere 33:07
7.Steve Woods 33:16
8.Lee McGregor 33:19
9.Simon van Gysen 33:23
10.Thomas Lovemore 33:32

1.Hayley Nixon 35:40
2.Kyeta Purchase 37:06
3.Michelle Burn 37:15
4.Donna Winter 37:17
5.Pippa McGregor 38:54

Men Doubles
1.Dawid Mocké/Ian Black 30:42
2.Jason Ekstrand/Emil Torstensson 31:04
3.Joseph Williams/Phillip Smith 32:09
4.Shaun Burgin/Lee Muir 33:04
5.Byron Mckie/Irvin Dixon 33:31

Mixed Doubles
1.Luke Nesbit/Jenna Ward 30:58
2.Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 34:57
3.Derek Hauptfleisch/Lynn Hauptfleisch 38:12

Women Doubles
1.Louisa van Staden/Wilma Deyzel 38:01

1.Hamish Lovemore 32:19
2.Brendon Delport 36:12
3.Sabine Lawrie 39:09

1.Jody Taylor 19:48
2.Chester Foster 21:20
3.Alan Beukes 21:36
4.Carmel Billson 21:54
5.Kevin Oliver 21:58

1.Carmel Billson 21:54
2.Siobhan Sharp 22:36
3.Alice Ward 23:31

1.Zoog Haynes/Ty Haynes 19:44
2.Dean Smith/Keaton Riddle 19:59
3.Billy Harker/Tracy Harker 20:09

1.Matthew Swemmer 24:18
2.Shayne Chipps 24:51
3.Brandon Read 25:43

1.Jackie de Billot 26:37
2.Charlotte Atherton 27:27
3.Danica Bartho 28:58

Source:  http://marineseries.co.za/?p=823

FNB Dusi---Birkett and Solms Take Day One

Andy Birkett---Photo Anthony Grote

Excellent Day One Recap Video

The calm sunrise over Camps Drift was shattered by the 2017 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon on Thursday, as the two pre-race hot favourites Andy Birkett and Abby Solms proved their pedigree to take commanding stage wins and over all leads going into the next two stages.

The men’s race was set up to be a humdinger with a number of paddlers’ names being thrown into the pre-Dusi hype hat however Birkett put his challengers under some serious pressure as early as the Campbell’s Farm portage.

After Birkett (EuroSteel) and Sbonelo Khwela (Euro Steel/Red Bull) opened up a gap on the chasers on the opening portage of the day at Campbell’s Farm and by the time the duo arrived at the put-in at Geoff’s Road at the end of the Guinea Fowl portage Birkett had gained a 20 second advantage and that was the last Khwela would see of the defending champion.

“I expected to come across the line today with two or three other boats,” a surprised Birkett said after the stage.

“To run away from the others today was something I really didn’t expect but with that said we had some good banter in the early stages and I love being back on the Dusi, it’s such an awesome river.”

Photo---Anthony Grote

Birkett’s efforts on the opening stage of the race were unrivalled with the 26 year-old finishing just over four minutes outside his own day one record, proof that he pushed the rest of the field.

“No one ever feels good after the opening day of the Dusi,” Birkett quipped.

“It wasn’t as bad as some years but I know that it creeps up on you when you wake up tomorrow morning. You are always going to be a little tired and sore.”

The biggest threat to Birkett’s charge for a seventh Dusi title was going to come from Sbonelo Khwela whose good form came to the fore on Thursday when he paddled away from Hank McGregor into second position.

“I have been putting a lot of effort into my paddling recently and I was happy that I could stay with the guys at the start.

“It was a good day for me but I felt on Cabbage Tree that I was running out of power but I am happy with finishing in second place overall,” a satisfied Khwela added.

Euro Steel/Kayak Centre’s Hank McGregor knew that he needed to be right at the top of his game if his challenge was to be successful however a mishap at the Musson’s Weir less than an hour from the start put the multiple Marathon world champion on the back foot.

“I took a different approach to this year’s race where I didn’t want to win the paddle at the start and give myself a chance on the first portage but unfortunately at Musson’s I snapped my paddle so I was on one paddle for a while.

“I managed to make up that time gap before the first portage but the other two guys were too strong on the run and credit must go them, that’s why they are first and second!” McGregor mentioned.

Solms’ drought of K1 titles at the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon is under threat of being broken after the Euro Steel star surged into a commanding nine minute lead over the young Christie Mackenzie in second although it didn’t all go her way.

“Bridgitte really blew us away from the start with her pace so it took me a while to settle down into a rhythm but after that I think I had a flawless day which was satisfying,” she said.

“When I took out at the Campbell’s Farm portage Bridgitte was right on my tail again so I had to put my head down and went at my own pace from then on.

“I have a comfortable lead but anything can happen over the next two days and day three is still a big unknown.

“There are hyacinth blocks and a lot of flat water between here and the finish so I just need to take it all in my stride and race intelligently,” added Solms.

Young under-18 star Christie Mackenzie has found herself wedged amongst South African women’s paddling royalty, however following her performance on the opening stage she looks at home amongst her prestigious company.

Photo---Anthony Grote

“I was hoping for a top three today but to get a second place is completely unexpected,” the Epworth youngster commented.

“When I started this morning I didn’t have a time in mind but I just wanted to paddle and run as fast as I could because I know the other girls are so strong.

“Abby and Bridgitte are incredible paddlers and I feel a bit out of my depth but I am really happy to be here!”

Hartley’s opening day of her debut K1 FNB Dusi did not follow her pre-written script as a number of issues curtailed her charge for the top spot of the podium.

“I knew that it was going to be a tough three days and considering I swam at Taxi Rapid, rolled my ankle and had a loose pedal for most of the day it was a pretty tough day.

“There is a lot of flat water between here and the finish and I knew that the other two girls were going to be strong on the run today so I have got a chance to make up that time over the next two days,” explained Hartley.

One of the most impressive performances came from one of the Euro Steel internationals Jakub Adam who paddled his way to fourth overall. Adam won bronze in 2014 with Cam Schoeman but this has been his finest K1 display.

In what has become a large Under-23 category Mthobisi Cele of Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy was the strongest on the opening day with Khumbulani Nzimande and Murray Starr chasing him.

Kerry Segal is comfortably placed at the front of the Under-23 Girls race with Christie Mackenzie leading the Junior Girls race ahead of the Under-16 duo of Caitlin Mackenzie and Cara Waud.

Mvelo Ngidi has got himself a two-and-a-half-minute buffer over second place Stewart Little in the Junior Boys race with Under-16 David Evans the next best placed junior paddler.

Day Two of the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon is a 46km stage from Dusi Bridge to Msinsi Resort on Inanda Dam.

Stage One (42km Camps Drift to Dusi Bridge)

1.Andy Birkett 02:40.43
2.Sbonelo Khwela 02:45.52
3.Hank McGregor 02:51.09
4.Jakub Adam (CZE) 02:53.27
5.Zonele Nzuza 02:53.28
6.Thulani Mbanjwa 02:53.34
7.Simon van Gysen 02:55.14
8.Banetse Nkhoesa 02:56.00
9.Mthobisi Cele (U23) 02:56.02
10.Siseko Ntondini 02:58.56
11.Loveday Zondi 03:00.16
12.Richard Cele 03:00.17
13.Khumbulani Nzimande (U23) 03:00.43
14.Murry Starr (U23) 03:00.45
15.Lucan Mthalane 03:03.36
16.Maswenkosi Mtolo (U23) 03:03.56
17.Mpilo Zondi (U23) 03:04.00
18.Carl Folscher 03:04.41
19.Kwanda Mhlope 03:04.42
20.Adrian Boros (HUN) 03:04.42

1.Abby Solms 03:19.46
2.Christie Mackenzie (U18) 03:29.12
3.Bridgitte Hartley 03:31.45
4.Alex Adie 03:53.29
5.Kerry Segal (U23) 03:57.06
6.Kate Swarbreck 03:59.42
7.Caitlin Mackenzie (U16) 04:04.32
8.Cara Waurd (U16) 04:09.35
9.Ronel Stevens 04:10.16
10.Debra Lewis 04:11.12

Under 23 Men
1.Mthobisi Cele 02:56.02
2.Khumbulani Nzimande 03:00.43
3.Murry Starr 03:00.45
4.Maswenkosi Mtolo 03:03.56
5.Mpilo Zondi 03:04.00

Under 23 Women
1.Kerry Segal 03:57.06
2.Holly Spencer 04:38.45
3.Julia Trodd 05:04.39

Under 18 Boys
1.Mvelo Ngidi 03:06.44
2.Stewart Little 03:09.28
3.Minehle Mbhela 03:27.17
4.Christie Mackenzie 03:29.12
5.Sam Speed 03:29:48

Under 18 Girls
1.Christie Mackenzie 03:29.12
2.Tracey Ollerman 04:13.51
3.Gemma Lawson 05:00.08

Under 16 Boys
1.David Evans 03:14.05
2.Sandile Mtolo 03:22.10
3.Hamish Mackenzie 03:24.42

Under 16 Girls
1.Caitlin Mackenzie 04:04.32
2.Cara Waud 04:09.35

Source:  http://dusi.co.za/2017/02/16/birkett-solms-charge-to-day-one-dusi-leads/

Photo Credits:   http://www.anthonygrote.com/

Keeling Edges Out Rice At Sea Dog.

Keeling Finishing Strong

Mark Keeling capped Kenny Rice's win streak at two this past weekend at the Sea Dog Race Series. Keeling, second in previous edition, bested Rice by 8 seconds to take the top spot on the day.

Nicholas Notten

Nicholas Notten

Nicholas Notten retained his spot from last week with a solid third place.  

In the women's division, Nikki Mocke get's a streak of her own going with her second consecutive win. Kirsten Flanagan followed in at second and Rebecca Newson third.    

Nikki Mocke

The Fish Hoek based series which proudly proclaims the tagline--Never Cancelled,  debuted in 2009 and is currently ready to run their fifteenth race of this season's series. 

The 7 km race is held in False Bay at the Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club. 

It's a big ocean guys...

Flanagan on the run up

No boat needed


Stuart Mclaren

Good conditions

All Photo Credits:  Cape Town Sport Photography

Dusi Marathon Ready To Kick-Off

The Dusi Canoe Marathon will kick off this Thursday in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.  The grueling 3 day race will traverse the uMsindusi and uMngeni Rivers and will test paddlers with several portages, weir chutes, rock hazards, drops and rapids, finishing in Durban.

Hot conditions are predicted and thanks to recent rains, river levels appear to have brought the levels to manageable status.

Pre-race meeting

You can follow the live stream here:  http://dusi.co.za/live-streaming-on-the-bank-2017/

Return to Makai---Stewart O'Regan

What can you say about the Makai Cup that hasn’t been said before? Stunning coastline, fantastic paddling and a team of passionate race organisers all add to a great weekend on the South Coast at Ulladulla. This year Sydney was in the grip of a heatwave, so the escape south into a cool Southerly change on Friday afternoon was most welcome.

I made the trip down on Friday afternoon, and got out for a quick spin on the ski with one of my training buddies, Cam Cox, out of Ulladulla Harbour. There was a great little wave breaking across some reef on the South side of the bay, so our planned session turned into catching waves for an hour instead.

Race morning arrived, and registration was done early. With the conditions forecast, the race organisers informed everyone that the race could start early, so there was no messing about. Get marked off, have a cooling swim, and head north to Sussex Inlet. At this stage, the extremely hot conditions in Sydney had managed to work their way down the coast, and the forecast wasn’t great for a downwind paddle. Temps in the high 30’s, very high humidity, and 10 got 12 knots of wind. It was going to be a tough day across all of the 24kms the race covers. Team Think had our World U23 champion, Mackenzie Hynard in town, with a strong line up including Mark Anderson, Sasa Vujanic and Cade Barnes all wanting to have their name on the cup as 2017 champion.

After scrutineering, paddlers made their way to the water to get ready for the start. Now when I say Sussex Inlet was like a picture postcard, that is probably an understatement. Simply stunningly clear water, beautifully clean sand and amazing colours. This place really is a little piece of paradise on a day like this.

Warming up, which didn’t take a lot, showed the temps were cooking. A friend noted that at the Inlet, it was 40 degrees with 94% humidity. Most chose to lie in the water trying to keep cool before the race started.

A nice clean start line, and the race was off, with a 3km dash to the turning can, and cash hotspot, before turning south and racing to Ulladulla Harbour. The run out wasn’t too bad, with a light side breeze to keep you cool, and lots of small little bumps to work. Once we turned the can, it was a really nice surprise to see that the light winds had actually kicked up some good runs. While it wasn’t anything like what we have seen down at the Makai Cup the last few years, it was certainly fun, with lots of runs to chase. The heat at this stage was hard going though, with no relief, and looking around you could see paddlers popping their caps in the water and dousing themselves with cool water when the opportunity arouse. While you could surf a few runs, if you revved up and popped over one or two, the heat really hit, so most tried to be conservative and surf what came to them, rather than try push too hard and pay the price.

I don’t think Ulladulla harbour could come quickly enough for most. It was a hard day on the water, and there were a lot of broken bodies sitting around the beach afterwards, mine included. After having a good start and dicing around in the top six, I started to feel quite ill, and started vomiting at around the half way mark. I was so off my food that night that I couldn’t even eat potatoes, and that’s saying something for an Irishman!!

There were lots of standout performances on the day. Mark Anderson became the first paddler to win back to back Makai Cups. Well done Ando. Cade Barnes finished third and kept his track record of being on the podium in every Makai Cup in tact, which is a testament to his longevity. Montannah Murray had a strong paddle and won the ladies event, and took the cash in the Ladies hotspot, which I was proud to sponsor. Special mention to a guy who trains with me, Cameron Cox. He’s worked really hard, while juggling the pressures of a new born child, and had a fantastic paddle to grab 8th spot. I know he was stoked, but for me it’s very satisfying to see guys race well and achieve their goals off the back of solid work. Well done buddy, must be your good coach!!!

While the 2017 running of the Makai Cup might not go down in the downwind history books as a classic, it was still another well run race, which continues to set the bar in surfski racing in terms of fun, organisation and of course location. A huge thank you to all the Makai Paddlers for their tireless efforts to keep the padding vibes strong on the South Coast and I can’t wait to get back down that way again really soon.

Source: http://www.thinkkayak.com.au/2017/02/return-to-makai/

Photos:  John Dick

FNB Surfski Series continues to deliver Durban summer fun

Hundreds of paddlers turned out on Addington Beach once again at the Borland Surfski Challenge, presented by Marriott. Race 6 of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series with all the participants revelling in the fine conditions and warm surf that the event has become known for.

The FNB Surfski Series is known for its relaxed, everyone-welcome attitude and that philosophy has seen the event grow into the biggest of its kind in the world, however the racing at the sharp end of the field was anything but relaxed.

Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ Hank McGregor notched up his fifth win from six races when he continued to show why he is arguably the best ocean paddler in the world at the moment.

“I had a bit of a hiccup near the start when I got into a clash with another boat going around the first buoy,” McGregor mentioned after his win.

“There was a knock of paddles as we rounded the buoy and I got flipped out so I must have lost about 30 or 40 places!

“I really had to work hard after that and managed to catch back to the front guys after about three quarters of the first lap.”

It was a slog for the defending series champion McGregor who had to wind his way through the field in order to catch the contenders and in a live display of McGregor’s tenacity he was not happy to settle when he reached the front paddlers.

“I got to Matthew (Bouman) at the end of the first lap and sat with him for a little bit and then managed to get ahead of him over the last lap and get my fifth win of the series, which I am really happy about!

“It was great to have Matthew back this week to strengthen up the field so to get a win against such a strong group is always satisfying.

“It was great that we had some international paddlers out here, especially Emil from Sweden!” McGregor added.

With an overall series win in sight, McGregor needs one more win over the next four legs to wrap up yet another series title and his series clinching win could come as soon as Tuesday at the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge.

The ladies series took another dramatic turn on Friday evening, with Euro Steel’s Bridgitte Hartley edging out team mate Hayley Nixon for her third win of the series and an overall series lead going into the final four races.

Hartley’s win sees her move ahead of Nixon, who has two wins to her name, and Michelle Burn, who has one win, into the outright lead however, with four races left and unpredictable weather conditions Hartley will be under pressure to maintain her advantage.

Hartley took the race honours ahead of her nearest rivals Nixon in second and Burn in third.

In what was probably the performance of the race the mixed duo of Luke Nisbet (Bay Union/Fenn Kayaks) and Euro Steel/Fenn Kayaks’ Jenna Ward took the overall race honours ahead of McGregor.

The pair started the series slowly but have got into their stride and showed their class in a double ski by pipping Hank McGregor to the line.

The ever-popular novice-friendly 4km short course proved to be a family affair yet again with a number of family doubles rising to the top of the result sheet.

The pair of Zoog and Ty Haynes were the first across the line ahead of Dylan Bridges and Eugene Swanepoel with the Swart duo of Justin and Stefan finishing the race in third place.

Nick Park-Ross returned to take his third win in the stand-up paddleboarding category ahead of Brandan Read and Shayne Chipps while Jackie de Billot won the ladies SUP category.

With the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon taking place from Thursday to Saturday next week the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge will take place on Tuesday, 14 February rather than Friday evening.

The Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge, Race Seven of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Tuesday, 14 February at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach.


1.Hank McGregor 35:37
2.Matt Bouman 35:51
3.Grant van der Walt 36:30
4.Wade Krieger 37:04
5.Hamish Lovemore (U18) 37:40
6.Bailey de Foundaumiere 38:11
7.Buckey Symons 38:14
8.Emil Torstensson (SWE) 38:50
9.Oliver Burn 39:22
10.Nic Burden 40:35

1.Bridgitte Hartley 40:08
2.Hayley Nixon 41:00
3.Michelle Burn 41:40
4.Kyeta Purchase 42:26
5.Kerry Segal 43:22

Men Doubles
1.Tyron Maher/Lee McGregor 35:46
2.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 35:58
3.Byron Mckie/Irvin Dixon 37:21
4.Shaun Burgin/Lee Muir 37:28
5.Matt Carlisle/Geoff Thompson 38:59

Women Doubles
1.Louisa van Staden/Wilma Deyzel 43:34
2.Debbie Gillett/Debra Lewis 44:08
3.Jacqui Boyd/Vanessa Mayhew 46:14

Mixed Doubles
1.Luke Nisbett/Jenna Ward 35:32
2.Barry Lewin/Carly Davidson 39:06
3.Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 40:100

1.Hamish Lovemore 37:40
2.Brendon Delport 41:54
3.Sabina Lawrie 47:35

1.Bruce Jackson 23:45
2.Jody Taylor 24:05
3.Dave Rees 24:53
4.Shane Gouldie 25:08
5.Alan Beukes 25:54

1.Teegan Hardwick 25:26
2.Siobhan Sharp 26:00
3.Cara Waud 26:17

1.Zoog Haynes/Ty Haynes 21:48
2.Dylan Bridges/Eugene Swanepoel 22:19
3.Justin Swart/Stefan Swart 22:21
4.Lance Howarth/Gabi Howart 22:23
5.Scott Sowman/Ryan Engel 22:59

1.Nick Park-Ross 30:05
2.Brandon Read 30:18
3.Shayne Chipps 31:21
4.Matthew Swemmer 31:25
5.Robbie de Billot 32:23

1.Jackie de Billot 32:47
2.Charlotte Atherton 0:33:49
3.Lande Williamson 35:06

ICF To Propose Gender Equal Program For Olympics


The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has approved a race program highlighting gender equality at the 2020 Olympic Games. The ICF has put the following program forward to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for ratification. The IOC will make a final decision following an analysis and review after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

200 Meters:                      Men-K1                         Women-K1 & C1

500 Meters:                     Men-K4:                        Women-K1, K2, K4 &C2

1000 Meters:                   Men-K1, K2 & C1, C2

Slalom will maintain status quo.     

Source:  http://canoekayak.ca/icf-approves-new-race-programs-for-the-2020-olympic-games-2/

Kenny Rice Hunting Third Win at Sea Dog

Kenny Rice is finding his mojo and he’s putting on a display at the Cape Town Sea Dog race.  The 2013 ICF Junior World Surfski Champion has taken the top step of the podium for the past two weeks and aims to make it three this weekend.


Last Friday, Rice finished the roughly *7 km course in 23:06. Conditions featured light southeasterly winds and small swell, making for tight racing with little room for error. Kyle Friedenstein finished in second and Nicholas Notten in third.  

Nikki Mocke took first among the women, with last weeks winner, Kirsten Flanagan second and Alex Adie in at third.


Also towing the line were: Jasper Mocke (just days away from fatherhood---congrats Jasper!), Dawid and Samuel Mocke in double, Nikki Mocke, and Simon Van Guysen.  

Congrats Jasper

Dawid and Sam Mocke


The prior week, Rice finished the course in 27:54,  edging out Mark Keeling by 9 seconds to take the win with Dawid Mocke slotting in at third at another 14 seconds back.


Rice, in his final year at University, will be juggling the two this year, as he has his hands full finishing his degree while maintaining a race schedule.


This year Rice has his sights set on qualifying for the national team and competing at the Worlds, but will likely be doing very little racing between now and completing his degree in June.


He attributes his form as of late to reconnecting to his love of downwinding.


“Training wise I've had a fantastic beginning to the year. A mate came out from overseas and got me to do a downwind with him a couple days after Cape Point Challenge, which is usually a no go because I hang my paddles up for a few weeks after. This ended up being a really fun DW and I was just hooked. I felt like I was 15 again and just frothing to do DW's everyday! I did a Miller's Run nearly every day of the New year until the 16th of Jan! After that I have kind of just been ticking over and focusing on having fun, no more and no less.”

Apparently, the Sea Dog Series is a good fit for his current state of mind:

“the SeaDog Series has been great for maintaining the fun aspect. You go down every Friday and get amped with all your mates; go out and leave it all on the course; then head up into Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club and exchange war stories over a few cold beers whilst Craig and his incredible volunteer crew hand out lucky draw prizes put up by sponsors like ADT Security, Varsity College, EuroSteel, Orka Paddles  etc. etc. etc.  Then you wake up to awesome pictures posted all over Facebook by Cape Town Sport Photography on Saturday AM. I don't really know what more could you ask for?!?! The very best part is that it is #nevercancelled which adds a whole new element!”

All Photos Courtesy of: Cape Town Sport Photography

You can register for the Sea Dog here: http://www.movescount.com/events/event20924-ADT_Sea_Dog_Race_4_2017#.WJrFCI5Uso0.facebook

The 7km course may have been shortened to 5.5 km for last week's race as a buoy drifted off course.

Female Winner Nikki Mocke left

Mark Keeling

Nicholas Notten

McGregor extends his FNB Surfski Series unbeaten streak

Multiple marathon world champion Hank McGregor underscored his ocean racing class by claiming his fourth back-to-back win in the FNB Surfski Series, while Hayley Nixon, recently crowned women’s World Surfski Series champion, powering home to take the ladies spoils.

In the men’s race, McGregor revelled in the light Easterly onshore conditions, powering away from his nearest challenger Grant van der Walt over the two laps, with Wade Krieger making up the rest of the men’s singles podium.

The conditions gave us some really nice runs on the downwind leg coming into the beach,” said the EuroSteel/Epic Kayaks athlete.

“I managed to get a gap on the first lap and then managed to hold off a charging Grant van der Walt on the second lap to claim the win,” he added.

After missing the start of the series, McGregor has taken a stranglehold on the men’s title race with his unbeaten run since he re-joined the weekly showdowns. It will be interesting to see whether he maintains his presence in the next two races, squeezed into five days before the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon.



Nixon was thrilled with her win in the women’s race in the moderate downwind conditions, adding real intrigue to a women’s series that has seen the top three places juggled regularly amongst the world class field of female surfski paddlers contesting the Durban Bay Friday night hit-outs.

“The ladies race started with quite a charge. Donna Winter and Michelle Burn shot out of the blocks,” said Euro Steel/Carbonology Sports’ Nixon.

“Bridgitte Hartley and I had some serious work to do to catch up to those two rocket ships, but we managed to be all together by the first turn can. Then Bridgitte and I got away, racing stroke for stroke, pushing each other to see who would fall off the pace,” said Nixon.

Hartley opened up a hundred metre lead on the outbound leg, and looked to have a vital race win in her grasp. But Nixon retooled her race plan, as she did in her recent Perth Doctor win, and by the end of the first lap she had caught Hartley as they turned into the tricky leg that was being battered by the side swell.

“In those conditions, it can be quite hard because your boat is being thrown around quite a bit, I focused on taking those hits and keeping my rhythm and managed to get away from her,” said Nixon.

She powered away on the second downwind leg, pacing herself against fellow male paddlers, always aware that Hartley’s speed and fitness were a threat behind her.

Her win throws the women’s series title race wide open, with Michelle Burn having won in big sea conditions last week, and the tenacious Bridgitte Hartley consistently racing to vital wins and podium places in the first half of the series.

The form doubles crew of Jason Eckstrand and Richard Lowe once again laid down a scorching marker, posting the quickest time of the evening, with Lee McGregor and Tyrone Maher taking second and Travis Wilson and Bruce Wenke the third doubles prize.

Kyeta Purchase and Tamryn McKie romped home to take the women’s doubles scalp.

Short course honours went to Matt Maroun, with the young doubles crew of Tayla Wakeling and Thomas Lovemore impressing with the fastest short course time of the evening.

Brandon Read was the first stand-up paddle boarder to cross the finish line on the beach outside Marine SLC.

The Borland Surfski Challenge presented by Marriott, Race Six of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 10 February at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za.


1 Hank McGregor 39:08
2 Grant Van Der Walt 39:51
3 Wade Krieger 40:26
4 Hamish Lovemore 40:50
5 Steve Woods 41:00
6 Gene Prato 41:32
7 Bailey De Fondaumiere 42:38
8 Jordon Clauson 43:37
9 Lee Furby 44:32
10 Gavin Seare 44:35

1 Hayley Nixon 44:58
2 Bridgitte Hartley 45:13
3 Michelle Burn 46:53
4 Donna Winter 49:05
5 Pippa McGregor 49:15

Men Doubles
1 Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 38:57
2 Tyron Maher/Lee McGregor 40:19
3 Travis Wilson/Justin Wenke 41:46
4 Shaun Burgin/Lee Muir 41:53
5 Linton Hope/Bruce Wenke 43:26

Women Doubles
1 Kyeta Purchase/Tamryn McKie 46:30
2 Louisa Van Staaden/Wilma Deyzel 50:06

Mixed Doubles
1 Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 39:36
2 Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 46:53
3 Lynn3 Hauptfleisch/Derek Hauptfleisch 49:05

Junior Boys
1 Hamish Lovemore 40:50
2 Brendon Delport 42:58
3 Sabina Lawrie 5:55

1 Matthew Maroun 26:03
2 Bruce Jackson 27:13
3 Jasper Gaylard 28:07
4 Dave Rees 28:10
5 William Dowsett 28:19
6 Andrew Atkinson 28:39
7 John Craig Springate 29:24
8 Conraad Purchase 30:13
1 Siobhan Sharp 30:15
9 Alan Beukes 30:52
10 Teegan Hardwick 31:06

1 Tayla Wakeling/Thomas Lovemore 23:575
2 Keaton Riddle/Aston Lawson 24:38
3 Zoog Haynes/Ty Haynes 24:46
4 Ryan Roberts/Ross Roberts 25:50
5 Lance Howarth/Jade Howarth 27:10

1 Brandon Read 38:05
2 Matt Swemmer 40:06
3 Robbie de Billot 40:09

Source:  http://marineseries.co.za/?p=795

Hano Hano Race Recap by Austin Kieffer


Thanks to Ocean Paddlesports and Austin Kieffer for the race recap.

Read more at:  http://www.oceanpaddlesports.com/site/index.php/news/

After putting in a miserably cold first month of training in Seattle, the Hanohano Race in San Diego was a welcome slice of sun and summer weather. The race consisted of an 8.5km flat water short course and a 12.5km ocean long course with only an hour of rest between. With a handful of fast doubles and the reigning surfski Surf Lifesaving World Champ, Tim Burdiak, on the registration list, I was fired up for a challenging day of racing.

The short course started off fast! The local sprint club had come out in force and they roared off the line, pulling the pack for a blistering first kilometer (km). After that, things began to settle down and Tim, a K2, and I managed to break away from the pack. We tussled for two more km, probing each other for weaknesses, until I got an inside line on a turn and made my move. Early I know, but the other two boats were forced wide by the turning radius of the K2. I made the most of the gap and immediately put the hammer down. After about a 5 minutes, I checked over my shoulder and saw that the other boats had opted to work together to reel me in rather than chase me down immediately. Game on. To spare you the boring details, the rest of the race was a head down time trial to keep a lead that I only just managed to hold all the way to the finish. 

After an hour respite, a few protein bars, and some time in the sun, it was time for the long course. Most of the field (plus some new fast doubles) lined up for the second portion of the Hanohano Race. The hour-long course in the ocean didn’t offer much in the way of helpful downwind, but there was plenty of chop to keep you on your toes. I opted for a more conservative start, not knowing how I would fair in the chop after so long away from the ocean. Right off the line I found myself surrounded by two of the fast doubles I had spotted on start list. When I managed to pulled away from them, I thought I was out in front, but I was sorely mistaken. Two boats (Tim and a new double captained by Rich Sprout) had taken a much deeper line and while they weren’t necessarily on a direct course to the turn buoy, they were a good 200m ahead. It took everything I had to reel in Tim by the first turn buoy (about a third of the way into the race) and for the next few km I pulled out my bag of tricks to work my way past him. We had quite the battle in the chop, his nose staying just ahead, but when general confusion finally lined up in a tiny section of downwind, I made my move. I inched ahead and worked every wave I could to open up a gap. Then I set my sights on the next rabbit, chasing down the leading double. Try as I might (and convinced i ate a lung in the process), the illusive double was able to hold me off and finish just 15 seconds ahead, claiming the overall Hanohano title. 

All in all, it was an incredible day of racing and a wonderful way to kick off my 2017 season. Cant wait to be back in sunny So Cal for the NAC Race in two weeks time. Happy paddling and good luck with the early season training, wherever you are (even if that means you are sensible and are cross-training indoors).

From Left:   Hayden Hemmens, Rich Sprout, Tim Burdiak, Patrick Hemmens, Austin Kieffer

From Left:  Hayden Hemmens, Rich Sprout, Tim Burdiak, Patrick Hemmens, Austin Kieffer