The second installment of the 2017/18 Fidelity ADT SeaDog Paddle Series & MountainLion Run Series was a grueling affair as the traditional South East gales gave way to a calm North West breeze that flattened out Fish Hoek bay into a blue blanket - giving paddlers minimal assistance over the 5-lap reverse course.
In the end it was victory for both defending series champions from last season, with Kirsten Flanagan (FENN/Orka Paddles) and Kenny Rice (Euro Steel Sport/Varsity College/Think Kayaks/Orka Paddles) taking the top podium position in the open female and male categories respectively. With the last turn buoy sitting in Sunny Cove corner, the final few hundred meters asked a question of the paddlers - turn in early and face a long run to the line, or paddle along the backline and come in at a more perpendicular angle?
Flanagan did battle with regular podium finishers Angie Austin and Alex Adie. In the end, Flanagan’s flatware power showed through and she marched across the line to claim R500 cash and valuable SeaDog bragging rights. “It was one of the toughest SeaDogs both mentally and physically. It was flat and unforgiving.”, remarked Flanagan. “At the start, all of us ladies got over the first set wave and it was a hard sprint to the first turning buoy. From there it was a fast race against Alex. I managed to pull away, slightly, on the last lap as we were turning in to the finish. I felt a bump underneath me and chose to follow it and run up the beach instead of paddling along the shore.” This turned out to be the correct decision, as the small wave opened up a 5 meter gap from which Adie never recovered. Adie crossed the line in second, with a very respectable time deficit of only 9 seconds. Austin rounded off the podium, less than a minute behind.
For the fastest boats across the water it was a tense battle as Rice opened up an early lead over the chasing pack of Dawid Mocke (Mocke Paddling/FENN) and Cyrille Carré (France). The crowd that gathered at the Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club bar watched in ernest to see whether Rice could hold off his poursuivants for the full duration of the race. In the end, the defending series champion never faltered and seemed to only increase in power as he steamed over the line in 1st place.
“It’s always tough when the sea is flat!” said Rice. “I decided to start hard and managed to hold off Mark Keeling and Shanti Stewart to claim the Mugg & Bean Longbeach Mall Yellow Jersey Hot-Spot. From there, I opened up a gap of a few meters and just aimed to hold it the whole way. I actually extend the lead to about 30 seconds, which was great.”
Carré, an elite flatwater sprint and marathon paddler from France, reveled in the calm conditions and improved on last week’s 17th placing to finish in 2nd overall. SeaDog legend Dawid Mocke was there to claim the final prize money position.
In the weekly MountainLion Run Series, a reverse course was announced by race organizers in response to the reverse SeaDog course. Local Jade Bucklow was on-hand to claim line honors not only in the ladies race, but overall. The Bucklow family are renown local runners from Fish Hoek Athletics Club, and you can expect to see more of them in the coming weeks. In the men’s MountainLion Run young Joseph Brading, a member of Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club, took out the top spot and R200 in cash.
The famous SeaDog prizegiving ceremony was a hit, and the series would like to thank loyal sponsors Fidelity ADT, Chalford Wealth, Orka Paddles, Bamboo Warehouse, Mocke Paddling, Dunlop Tyres SA, Varsity College, Great White Sport & Surf, IamSuperbar, Mugg & Bean Longbeach Mall, Long Beach Brewery and others. For more information on these brands, click on their page links or contact the SeaDog Paddle Series on Facebook!
The Cape paddling community now looks to the 3rd race of the 2017/18 Fidelity ADT SeaDog Paddle Series & MountainLion Run Series, as the series leaderboards in both A and B classes start to take shape.
The SeaDog Paddle Series is a fun 7km surfski race in Fish Hoek bay and operates out of the Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club every Friday at 18:00. The MountainLion Run series starts and finishes at the same time and venue as SeaDog, and sends runners along an easy and scenic 5k route along the False Bay coastline. They are both never cancelled. Race entry is R20 for one race or R150 for ten races. Registration opens at 17:00 on the day. There is food on sale and a cash bar, and families are welcome. For more information, please contact SeaDog Paddle Series on Facebook or call/sms/whatsapp 082 536 2160.
(All photographs courtesy of John Hishin and Cape Town Sport Photography. To order any of these fine photographs, please contact John on +27 (82) 504 5702).