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.
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
RACE SEVEN OF THE 2017 FNB SURFSKI SERIES
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
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
1.Luke Nesbit/Jenna Ward 30:58
2.Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 34:57
3.Derek Hauptfleisch/Lynn Hauptfleisch 38:12
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
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.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – EURO STEEL SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE FIVE OF THE 2017 FNB SURFSKI SERIES
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
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
1 Kyeta Purchase/Tamryn McKie 46:30
2 Louisa Van Staaden/Wilma Deyzel 50:06
1 Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 39:36
2 Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 46:53
3 Lynn3 Hauptfleisch/Derek Hauptfleisch 49:05
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