Typical summer rainfall could not dampen the spirits of one of the largest fields the iconic FNB Surfski Series has seen on Friday evening, as well over 300 paddlers took on either the long course, short course or stand-up paddle boarding race with Race 1 winners Hank McGregor and Bridgitte Hartley making it two wins from two at the sharp end of the field at Race two’s Funky Pants Surfski Challenge.
McGregor, who has dominated the Marine SLC based series for a number of years, showed his class on Friday as he powered out of the blocks in flat conditions and opened up a significant advantage early in the race, and in typical McGregor fashion, he didn’t let up through the entire eight kilometres.
“I had a fantastic race in conditions that were pretty similar to last week,” the Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks ace mentioned.
“It was an incredible turn out with over 340 paddlers; I think that everyone who owns a surfski in Durban was on the beach this evening!
“The race was close for the first kilometre but I managed to break the shackles and shrug off Mattthew Bouman, Grant van der Walt, Wade Krieger and the youngster Hamish Lovemore.
In an ominous sign for the rest of the field McGregor feels that he is in great form at the moment which he attributes to factors outside of his training regime and race tactics.
“I feel that I am getting stronger and stronger every time I paddle which I think has a lot to do with my lifestyle and the frame of mind that I am in at the moment.
“With the N3TC Drak Challenge coming up next week my focus will shift to river marathon racing but I am looking forward to the challenge of racing some of the best marathon paddlers in the world,” a relaxed McGregor added.
The podium was rounded out my Matthew Bouman in second and it was Wade Krieger who managed to win the sprint finish for third with Grant van der Walt having to settle for fourth and the junior Hamish Lovemore coming home in an impressive fifth.
Lovemore’s impressive result would suggest that the Hilton College pupil will be one of the paddlers to look out for at Race 10 of the series, the Varsity College Surfski Challenge and Varsity College SA Schools Championships.
The women’s race was not quite a repeat of Race 1 although the result was the same. Olympic sprint ace Bridgitte Hartley was unstoppable in the flat conditions as she powered home to take the women’s race honours by 50 seconds over the fancied Hayley Nixon.
“I think I might have started a bit too hard and the flat conditions did make the race a bit more difficult but I enjoyed the grind,” the Euro Steel star mentioned.
“With less wind and less runs to work with it was quite a slog but luckily for me I managed to find my rhythm on the second lap which helped me maintain that lead to the end.”
In a change from the opening race of the series, Michelle Burn pipped Kyeta Purchase to the third step of the podium in a sprint finish while Kerry Segal finished the race in fifth.
The doubles race saw the duo of Jason Ekstrand and Richard Lowe getting their first win of the series after they finished second at the first race of the series. They were closely followed by the impressive mixed pair of Jenna Ward and Luke Nisbet.
Shaun Dias and Matt Collins were the third double across the line in tenth place overall.
The short course was an interesting tussle as the pair of Justin and Stefan Swart went one better than last week as they took the overall win ahead of Andrew and Sarah Button in second and Emilio and Dominic Chiccaro in third.
Matthew Maroun was once again the first single ski home however he couldn’t replicate his overall win from race one and finished the 4km course in fourth place overall.
Nick Park-Ross continued his good form winning the stand-up paddle board category for the second week in a row with Brandon Read taking second place once again, however the change came in third where Matthew Swemmer took the final podium step – bettering his fourth from race one.
The Daikin Surfski Challenge, Race Three of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 20 January at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – FUNKY PANTS SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE TWO OF THE 2017 FNB SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 30:28
2.Matt Bouman 32:06
3.Wade Krieger 32:33
4.Grant van der Walt 32:33
5.Hamish Lovemore 32:36
6.Steve Woods 33:36
7.Clinton Cook 33:37
8.Gene Prato 33:41
9.Bailey de Fondaumiere 33:45
10.Tyron Maher 34:25
1.Bridgitte Hartley 35:49
2.Hayley Nixon 36:39
3.Michelle Burn 38:02
4.Kyeta Purchase 38:03
5.Kerry Segal 38:11
1.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 32:06
2.Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 32:31
3.Shaun Dias/Matt Collins 33:40
1.Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 32:31
2.Sabina Lawrie/Callam Davis 35:59
1.Hamish Lovemore 32:36
2.Hamish Mackenzie 36:52
3.Brendon Delport 37:26
1.Christie Mackenzie 41:17
1.Matthew Mouran 20:26
2.Declan Bradfield 21:00
3.Jasper Gaylard 21:40
4.Carmel Bilson 21:43
5.Mhlengi Gwala 21:45
1.Justin Swart/Stefan Swart 19:21
2.Andrew Button/Sarah Button 19:33
3.Emilio Chiccaro/Dominic Chiccaro 20:14
4.Shaine Mcalister/Laura Mcalister 20:41
5.Jason Ward/Nigel Ward 21:05
1.Nick Park-Ross 25:02
2.Brandon Read 25:48
3.Matthew Swemmer 26:08
4.Shayne Chipps 26:41
5.Jon Ivins 27:21
1.Danica Bartho 27:55
2.Jackie de Billot 27:56
3.Charlotte Atherton 27:58
4.Lande Williamson 28:58
5.Karisa Grace 31:54