DABS High Altitude Surfski Champs

READY, STEADY, GO: The start bunch and all celebrities with the wave maker.

READY, STEADY, GO: The start bunch and all celebrities with the wave maker.

SURFSKI races along the coastline have been growing in popularity, and paddlers in Gauteng are feeling left out, especially as rivers are becoming more polluted. Not that there are many river choices in Gauteng, anyway.

The decision to host a Gauteng High Altitude Surfski championship race annually has taken the paddling community of surfskiers, SUPs and sit-on-tops, the various kayaks or canoes, by storm. The championship race takes place in early March and is growing from strength to strength, with superb sponsorship from Euro Steel, Adreach, Fenn, Set and a number of private individuals. The top celebrity paddlers come from far and wide to challenge the Gauteng champions.

Multiple Dusi winner Andrew Birkett, the world surfski and marathon champion as well as multiple Dusi race winner Hank McGregor, the Olympian bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley and two-time world surfski champion Jasper Mocke were just a few of the celebrity South African paddlers.

TAKING ON THE BEST: Members from the Johannesburg Canoe Club, based at Wemmer Pan, thoroughly enjoyed the only high-altitude surfski race in the world, especially with numerous world-famous paddlers in the bunch. Ryan Ziervogel and Warren Ziervogel – boat 102 – orange vest /blue sleeves and green cap.

TAKING ON THE BEST: Members from the Johannesburg Canoe Club, based at Wemmer Pan, thoroughly enjoyed the only high-altitude surfski race in the world, especially with numerous world-famous paddlers in the bunch. Ryan Ziervogel and Warren Ziervogel – boat 102 – orange vest /blue sleeves and green cap.

The race was hosted on Saturday, March 4, at Emmarentia Dam at 15:30. The race consisted of 10 laps of the dam, making up a 10km hard, fast time trial.

To add to the celebrity status on the dam water were Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks. These two paddlers come from diverse backgrounds. One is from Moatsoledi informal township in Orlando Park, Soweto, and one is an English teacher from Rosebank. There challenge to partner up inspired a movie, Beyond the River, which will be released in South Africa in April.

To simulate surf conditions, a number of motorboats and other watercraft revved motors up and down the centre of the dam as the paddlers made circuits on the outside.

Enormous fun was had by all, especially the spectators, passers-by and drivers.

Martin van den Bergh, chairman of the Johannesburg Canoe club, and Morgan Ziervogel, the top Gauteng woman paddler, were among the 150 paddlers in Gauteng who completed the 10km race, finishing in 50 minutes as the third mixed-double surfski finishers (male/female combination). Son and father combination Ryan and Warren Ziervogel also enjoyed the event, finishing in 56 minutes.

ENJOYING THE CHALLENGE: JCC members at Wemmer Pan thoroughly enjoyed the only high-altitude surfski race in the world, especially with numerous world-famous paddlers in the bunch. Martin van den Bergh (red top) and Morgan Ziervogel (white top) paddle away.

ENJOYING THE CHALLENGE: JCC members at Wemmer Pan thoroughly enjoyed the only high-altitude surfski race in the world, especially with numerous world-famous paddlers in the bunch.
Martin van den Bergh (red top) and Morgan Ziervogel (white top) paddle away.

Article reprinted from:  http://comarochronicle.co.za/134511/new-surfski-craze/  Photo credits to:  Gauteng Canoe Union.


USACK/ACA Merger updates

USA Canoe and Kayak are moving ahead with plans to merge with ACA.  Yesterday, Adam Van Grack, chairperson for USACK released a statement updating the public on the current status of the transition.

Whether this will be a positive change remains to be seen, but for many the change appears to be welcomed, based on the solid reputation and history of the ACA.

Dear USA Canoe/Kayak Members:

The USA Canoe/Kayak Board wanted to let all of our Members know that recently the American Canoe Association (ACA) applied to the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to become the National Governing Body for canoe and kayak sports.  ACA's application has the support of the USA Canoe/Kayak Board.  As a result, the ACA and USA Canoe/Kayak just received communication from the USOC that the USOC is "positive about the ACA’s application and want to conclude the application review process as soon as possible."  


We (along with ACA) will be working with the USOC in the coming days/weeks to work on all potential transition issues and ensure that the application process proceeds as smoothly as possible.  Assuming ACA's application moves forward, there will be a series of public meetings in which members of USA Canoe/Kayak will be able to comment on the potential new National Governing Body.  As soon as those meetings are scheduled (and new governing body documents are available), we will provide all our members with that information.  In the meanwhile, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or any of the USA Canoe/Kayak Board Members.


Adam Van Grack
Chair, USA Canoe/Kayak

Preliminary Results From Shark Bite Challenge 2017

The weather cleared and the wind calmed allowing the Shark Bite Challenge to come off today without a hitch.

In the Men's 8 mile, the top three finishers were Matt Bouman 1st, Oscar Chalupsky 2nd, and Nate Humberston, 3rd.

In the Women's 8 mile, Teneale Hatton took first, followed by Kata Dismukes in 2nd, and Sara Jordan in 3rd.

In the four mile race, Ted Burnell took first overall, and Pam Boteler took first in Women.

Lisa Malick and J.C. Malick took first in mixed Waterman Challenge.

Stay tuned for full results later.

Photo Credits:  Ted Burnell

Your Vote Counts---Help Hank McGregor Win Sport Personality of The Year

Help Hank

World Surfski Champ and all around decorated paddler Hank McGregor is a finalist for the 2017 Discovery Sports Industry Personality of the Year Award.

Mcgregor is among four finalists that also include: 

Doug Ryder – Ryder Cycling team Dimension Data for Qhubeka

John Comitis – Cape Town City FC Owner

Mimi Mthethwa-Zulu – Netball South Africa President

The award is decided by popular vote, so you can make your voice heard and show your support for one of the best in the sport below.

You can vote at the following link:

More on Hank:

Hank McGregor is a family man, with a wife and toddler. He works a day job, running a small construction company, but McGregor is very far from average.

The man from Durban has one junior and eight senior World Paddling Titles to his name, as well as countless canoeing and surfski honours. He has won every paddling race worth winning in South Africa, and many beyond our borders.

Even more extraordinary is that McGregor claimed his seventh and eighth world titles in 2016, at the age of 38. But his story doesn’t end there.

McGregor is nominated as ‘Sportsman of the Year 2016’ at the SA Sports Awards (up against Chad le Clos and Wayde van Niekerk) as well as for ‘Sportsman of the Year 2016’ at the World Paddle Awards.

McGregor is a superb athlete and a wonderful sportsman and role-model who deserves every inch of the recognition bestowed upon him by the worlds sporting fraternity.

Evidence of Influence in the Industry

  • McGregor and his wife initialised ‘The McGregor Paddle Series’ to give back to the sport as well as recharge it. The series ran over 6 weeks, with 6 races in August and September 2016. It was a massive success resulting in 116 Novices taking part and over 800 finishers. They aim to take the series national in 2017.
  • McGregor is the most multi-talented and diverse athlete across all paddlesports.
  • He is a multiple World and SA Flat Water marathon champion, multiple SA River Marathon champion, Multiple SA surfski champion.
  • Awarded the inaugural ‘Sportsman of the Year’ at the World Paddle Awards last year.

Evidence of Use of Creative and Innovative Marketing

  • His brand continues to grow with the growth of paddlesports and with his social media platforms, bringing it to a much larger audience than ever before.
  • The “Hank McGregor” brand consists of a number of elements used to create and distribute unique content: Twitter, Facebbok, YouTube, Instagram and media management.
  • The content is designed around specific race disciplines in which McGregor competes in, which include live updates at major events, race reports, pre and post-race interviews on Hank’s YouTube Channel and press releases to the media.
  • Over the last 3 year’s McGregor has been aligned to some very strong brands in the paddling industry including Team Kayak Center for canoeing and Team Epic Kayaks for surfsking, as well as Gara Paddles and Mocke Paddling as equipment suppliers.
  • With every sporting personality there comes a character behind the performance and results. McGregor’s work ethic and focus stand out when anyone mentions his name.
  • McGregor is at the pinnacle of the watersport world and with his success he has been able to make a great name for himself in the community, in the public eye and in the media.
  • Hank has also had commercial agreements with Euro Team and Jeep Team SA.

Evidence of Achievements

2016 Results

  • Hong Kong Dragon Run, World Surfski Series 1st
  • Cape Point Challenge 1st
  • SA Double Surfski Championships 1st
  • 50 miler (K2) 1st
  • Dusi Canoe Marathon 2016 (K2) 2nd
  • Umkomaas Marathon 1st
  • Molokai World Ocean Classic 1st
  • SA K1 Marathon Championships 1st
  • Mauritius Ocean Classic 1st
  • Berg Canoe Marathon 1st (11th win, record)
  • Durban Downwind, World Series 1st
  • World Marathon Championships: gold K1 and K2, world record 4th consecutive K1 title
  • Winner of the Doctor Surfski race (Australia)
  • Winner of the World Surfski Series

2016 Award Nominations:

  • Sportsman of the Year, SA Sports Awards
  • Sportsman of the Year, World Paddle Awards

Career Results:

  • Junior World Marathon Champion
  • 6 x Senior K1 World Marathon Champion
  • 2 x Senior K2 World Marathon Champion
  • 1 x Senior K2 World Marathon Silver Medalist
  • 3 x Molokai World Surfski Champion
  • 11 x Berg River Canoe Marathon
  • 2 x Dusi Canoe Marathon
  • 4 x Durban World Cup Surfski Winner
  • 8 x Varsity College Surfski Series Winner
  • Winner of all National titles in surfski, flat water canoeing and river canoeing in the same year.
  • Winner of every surfski race and canoe race on the South African Calendar.
  • National Colours in 3 sports: canoeing, surfski, lifesaving

Source:   http://www.sportindustry.co.za/news/hank-mcgregor-%E2%80%93-world-paddling-champion

Adventurethon Magnetic Island 2017 Race Wrap Up

After a week of wild rainy weather and then cyclone Debbie prep the lead up to Adventurethon Magnetic Island was one we watched with keen interest. As locally we breathed a sigh of relief when she headed further south, we were also sad to see many of our southern neighbours & competitors affected by the cyclone.

Saturday morning we were pleased to see beautiful, calm conditions and slightly lower humidity than previous few days. And as athletes began arriving for check in…

Fast paced start for all paddlers from Horseshoe Bay, with Spectator and support boats creating some wash which the top paddlers made the most of.

Townsville local Luke Smythe set off with a cracking pace and the field responded. Kris plain putting the hammer down to surge ahead by a few hundred metres by the exit of Horseshoe Bay.

Paddle Start

The Horseshoe Bay to West Point paddle leg rewarded paddlers with spectacular views, big boulders and rocky shoreline as well as some small runners that needed a lot of work, once out of Horseshoe Bay.

The VW Enduro competitors made the most of the protected bay with some flat and fun racing. Adam Smith leading the way and then in the 2nd lap Adam Beale from cairns surged ahead to take the ski lead

Back in the BNG Sports Ultra- Kris Plain’s rudder broke at Horseshoe Bay, amazingly he kept ahead of the field (though he lost around 8 to 10 mins off his prime pace was still able to keep ahead). The lack of rudder allowed him to take a really shallow line over the reef.

Luke Smythe had an awesome paddle and looked very comfortable, coming in off the paddle only 3 minutes behind Kris Plain.

Sam Stedman put in good efforts with minimal paddle training (as his lead up had spent mostly running) and with a decent paddle to Picnic he found himself in a good place to make up time on the run.

In the women’s field, it is always exciting seeing such a great group of women battling for top spot. But the camaraderie amongst them all was also noticeable, with a healthy respect that each of them was doing something pretty spectacular today. First female off the water was Laura Dunstan, beating a lot of the rest of the field. As a Magnetic Island local, this is an event close to her home and heart and she headed out on the run almost 10 minutes ahead of her nearest female competitor, Lia Johnson and then Olga Poberezovska about 5 mins behind Lia.

Honarable mention to Team Billys Crew, whose paddler had not paddled before and did a 2:55 minute paddle AND managed to complete the 20km.


Duathlon start 0740

The Dirty Duathlon competitors rocked up to Picnic Bay – it was so good to be able to include previous years favourite part of the course – the jetty – to start the runners off on their event. Runners made their way then along the Picnic Bay mall and out towards the next sections of their run, before their epic climb up to Checkpoint C.


This years course included a ROCK HOP and ABSEIL (Ultras only for abseil). This was a very exciting part to the course, and definitely gave competitors some added excitement and adrenalin. There were some scary moments, especially with a few first time abseilers – but with 4 ropes and 2 instructors plus extra marshals kept the process was kept very smooth.

It was great to see everyone in the Ultra get in a do the abseil section!

The rock hop was pretty rough and the exit of the rocky bay was a search for the ribbons to find the way out with some high lines tough terrain and slippery dry scrub between rocks.

A few sunbaking backpackers gave a much-needed boost to the mid pack field in front of Xbase along the beach.

Into the forts there was some great climbing into the forts themselves.

The NEW Enduro format was enjoyed by competitors – with the ability to sprint each leg and still have a great day out. The protected paddle, shorter bike course and run, all very productive to the short course specialists who like it fast. It also makes a perfect stepping stone for those people wanting to step up from the Taste of Adventurethon.

The descent from the Forts pretty gnarly in to Radical bay, with VW Enduros going via track and the Dirty Duathlon and BNG Sports Ultras going via the rock hop. The rock hop section was pretty challenging and for some people who had never done sections like this before it was tough. Don’t worry – those rocks will still be waiting for you next year.

Rob Smythe– had a cracker of a paddle and was super fit and looking well placed in his age group, before he injured his calf after run. Heal fast Rob.

2 lap courses are fun if you love the course…and we really do! We are so thrilled to share this interesting, challenging course with competitors and love seeing how much everyone has a love/hate relationship with it.

Those that got in early were happy to avoid heat with the 2nd laps for the bigger racers a bit cooler.

Descending after the first 2 climbs is fun with erosion bars creating a good launch pad for the experienced riders.

Some quick road sections linked the trails and gave a cooling effect with the speeds on the downhills.

What comes down must go up again in a loop and so the pipeline trail up to CPC was little easier but still a hard climb and the prospect of doing it 2 x might be a bit daunting at first climb. The addition of a few natural ramps over erosion mounds allowed a better climb to the top.

CPC disqualified competitors for “drafting” as an April fools joke and had competitors chuckling away. LOL

The pipeline descent had also had some work done and a series of pallets magically appeared on the downhill between drops… the Enduro and DH riders really ate it up riding the entire thing with others taking the safest option and walking a few of the steeper ramps.

After the pipeline it’s onto the Horse tracks with a couple of creeks and cools shaded winding tracks to recover on.

Sam Stedman commented that he, Kris Plain & Luke shared the CPC ascent together on lap 1 and that on the descent he opened up and smashed out an awesome descent where his knicks touched his back wheel (I believe we have on video).

At the end of the day, Sam Stedman was able to make up time on his run and crossed the finish line first, in a time of 5:19:13, followed by Luke Smythe 5:29:12 and Kris Plain (from WA) in 5:41:46.

The women’s top finishers were Laura Dunstan 7:16:22, followed by Julie Sager 7:56:08 and Olga Poberezovska 8:27:38.

For full results, including Enduro and Duathlon times and winners, see the website HERE

Thoughts from Us

We are so stoked that people took the challenging course on, it’s tough and requires constant upgrading of your skills, something that can keep you motivated to train and continue to develop as an Adventurethon athlete.

Magnetic Island really turned on great weather and showcased an amazing landscape framed by granite boulders of which we were able to enjoy.

The addition of the abseil and the forts was awesome and the rock hop was a real reward for those that did the prep work on technical rocks etc before the event.

Cool mentions

Bill Whalley – old sentimental favourite shoes gave out, he did a couple km with no shoes, then marshal Adrain offered shoes about 3 sizes too big….shoes wrecked, socks wrecked .

Kris Plain paddled from West point with no rudder – makes it a tough day out for anyone.

Kevin – Back again after last years Magnetic Island and really enjoyed the new format.

Zac Pope in the Dirty Duathlon administered first aid a few mins top…helped with a bleeding leg on course…no blood not going hard enough 

Girls were all close at paddle – was a really great vibe amongst them all – encouraging and cheering each other on.

Lia Johnson – was unwell leading into the race, but wanted to do it so badly, she was careful and measured and DID IT! You rock Lia.

Spectator Boat was a very enjoyable addition for us this year (& we would love to provide this for you again in the future – stay posted). Judy (partner of Bill Whalley and both visiting from WA, said she loved being on the spectator boat. It enabled her to be right there IN Bill’s race, seeing what he was seeing and experiencing, and instead of just talking about what he saw at the end of the day, it was a much closer connection. She loved it.

Craig McPhan, after a dnf last year, had a score to settle. Then when cyclone Debbie blocked his ability to get north (from Mackay) he was feeling more and more desperate that he would be unable to make the race. Then on Friday, he was thrilled to discover he could get through and we are very hapy to tell you that not only did he finish, but he did his BNG Sports Ultra in a very good time too. Great work Craig!

Keith Wilson had a cracked rib leading into the event – we know we breed them tough in Queensland – but we can just not get over how repeatedly people are kicking butt on these courses despite having things to overcome.

Toby Neilsen (from New Zealand) had a really awesome abseil –  very fast and confident – it was great to see him back again.

Special SHOUT OUT to our awesome volunteers – seriously magnificent effort you all gave over the entire weekend. With a brand new course, and very hectic lead up, we were grateful to have such a friendly, reliable and super bunch of volunteers – THANK YOU


In closing, it was a bummer we lost a few competitors and helpers  to the cyclone affected areas but happy to have had an event to put on as with the cyclone headed for us and only turning at the last min we were happy to have anything happen at all. We are so proud of everyone (those who came and those who couldn’t because of the cyclone, be it flooded in or off helping with recovery) and we look forward to seeing you all next event.

Turns out Maggie was perfect.

Thanks to Joel Savage at Adventurethon Australia

Full Results: https://adventurethon.com.au/events/magnetic-island/results/

Source: https://adventurethon.com.au/adventurethon-magnetic-island-2017-race-wrap-up/



A Different Kind Of Race: Tocobaga Draft --- by J.C. Malick

On April 1st, on the shores of Indian Rocks Beach, FL along the Gulf of Mexico, 7 paddlers in OC1s (2) and Surfskis (5) lined up for the first annual Tocobaga Draft. The Captain's meeting included a moment of silence for fallen surfskier David Bell along with a few words from the town's mayor, RB Johnson, and the National Anthem before the inaugural South Florida Surfcraft Challenge got underway. 

At 8:48 am, the paddlers started from the beach and headed to the first yellow marker 1/4 mile from shore. From there, under the watchful eye of a US Coast Guard cutter, the racers rendezvoused with their power boats and made their way to the turn buoy just south of Clearwater Pass (5 miles one-way).

Beach Start

Beach Start

The first team, North Florida Watermen Flavio Costa and Nate Humbertson, joined at the last minute by JP Atherholt who found himself without his teammate, Jean Raas (who suffered travel issues) finished the 10 1/2 mile course with a lightning speed of 1:23:43 escorted by boat Captain Serbo Simeoni.

Flavio Costa, Nate Humbertson, and JP Atherholt

The Winners!

The second team and only mixed team, Lisa Malick and Michael Canfield, finished with a time of 1:48:58.

Lisa Malick and Mike Canfield

The 3rd team overall, Team CrossSUP Christian Cook and Ralf Steitz crossed the beach finish line in a time of 1:58:47.

Christian Cook and Ralf Steitz

The awards ceremony took place in Largo, FL at the local craft brewery Barley Mow where racers enjoyed a special Tocobaga Paddle Stout (Maven Chocolate Milk Stout with Coffee) as well as five varieties of ice cream donated by Sponsor Working Cow Ice Cream (a local St. Pete Ice Cream maker).

Good Beer = #1 Prize For Paddlers!

The awards included personalized medallions from Hertz Pottery, Custom Tiki Toss Paddle trophies and a White Elephant Award Box exchange.  Additionally there were prizes from Sponsors including Wawa, Epic Kayaks, Vaikobi, Goodboy Kayaks, OWS Leo, Don Kiesling (DK) Rudders, PaddleSmart, Hammer Nutrition, Tiki Toss, Nelo Sprint Training and Resource Center, SBR Sports, SolRx Sunscreen, Clearwater Paddleboard Company, Road ID, Tunaskin, Crazy Paddlers, DD3 Surfskis, Watersports West, Jolyn, Kailoa, and Hook Tribe.

1st Place Crew

2nd Place Crew


Of course the best was saved for last with the David Bell Memorial Traveling Trophy presented to JP Atherholt for continuing the safety initiative and stoke that David Bell shared with his paddling Ohana! The trophy was presented by David's wife, Kristin Bell, along with her son Liam. JP was awarded the trophy along with items donated by Ocean Paddle Company (Michael Canfield, Owner) including a Road ID, Mocke Leg Leash, and Mocke PFD for exhibiting exemplary behaviors during and after the race; behaviors often exhibited to others by David Bell in prior area races.

Kristin and Liam Bell

JP Atherholt helping carry another paddler's boat -- exemplifying sportsmanship worthy of the David Bell Trophy

The organizers of Tocobaga Draft (JC and Lisa Malick) would like to thank everyone that made the event a success and look forward to continuing the tradition in 2018!

2017 Racing Kicks Off

Aside from a few early season events, the next two weekends mark the kickoff of the North American racing season proper.

Florida's wildly popular Shark Bite Challenge along with newcomer Tocobaga Draft, Wesley Echol's Narrow River Race, the left coast's Silver Blade International Regatta, Southeast Paddle Series opener the Beaufort River Quest and from deep in the heart of Dixie's Bluz Cruz race all mark the upcoming calendar.   

For a quick overview:

Shark Bite Challenge: 14th Edition of this race looks like a good one.  Demo's, vendors, warm weather with white sand beaches and crystal clear water make a great way to thaw out after winter.  Top racers from the region will be on hand as well top paddlers Oscar Chalupsky and Teneale Hatton.

Oscar  Chalupsky

Oscar  Chalupsky

teneale Hatton

teneale Hatton

Beaufort River Quest:  Southeast Paddle Series get's started in the beautiful seaside town of Beaufort, South Carolina, made famous by resident best selling author Pat Conroy.  River Quest will be held inside the bay and will complete short laps all visible from the downtown area spectators.

Bluz Cruz: 22 mile blitz down the fast moving Mississippi River.  This will be the Twelfth edition of this race and these gulf region events are always special.  They have their own way of tackling racing in this region and having a good time is paramount.

Narrow River Race: Longstanding New England race hosted by SurfskiRacing.com's Wesley Echols.  Races in this area are always well attended and are almost always pure ski's. Great competition---always top guys tow the line.  This year they may be dodging a snowstorm.

Tocobaga Draft:  New installment.  Looks like a great time drafting behind a boat down in Florida's pristine waters.  Info here: http://www.surfskinews.com/first-blog/2017/3/26/featured-race-tocobaga-draft-april-1

Silver Blade Regatta:  Hosted by the San Diego Canoe and Kayak Team, this event should have an international flavor and will primarily feature sprint boats with ski's also taking part. 

We've had a warm winter, allowing a rare opportunity to spend more time enjoying the unseasonable weather on the water.

Of course, with more paddlers spending more time in the bucket this should translate to some pretty fast racing right out of the gates.

And it's not just what's directly in front but the next several weeks.  2017 will absolutely hit the ground running with a buffet of events.

Surfski racing in the states is starting to suffer from double and even triple booking.  If racing's your thing, you've probably already found that you may have multiple venue options on any given weekend.

Not a bad problem to have really, is it?  Even if math isn't your strength, it's easy to see that surfski popularity is on the boom.  

And right on time too.  The ski is more accessible than ever.  Short ones, long ones, fat ones, skinny ones, light, bombproof, carbon, glass, plastic and everything in between--there is an entry point for everyone.

And with an increase in popularity comes the benefits for the rest of us: more industry development (more product innovations), more races and events, more coverage and more friends to share the good times with.

It's a good time to be on a ski! 



A World Record Attempt Delayed

Traci Lynn Martin, who is attempting to set a World Record for paddling 8600 miles in 265 days, suffered a setback on Monday when she had to be rescued from Lake Huron.  The conditions were cold and the lake full of ice.  Ms. Martin appears to have gotten off course as a result of a malfunctioning GPS, and consequently was still far from shore when she asked for a rescue.  She was cold and hypothermic when found, was treated at the scene, but declined further treatment.  She has suspended her attempt for two weeks, during which time she will travel home to Missouri to be with her sons.

Below is a video located on her Facebook page that give some ideas of the condition of the lake.

Ms. Martin who is 52 and an experienced expedition kayaker, is determined to kayak the full coastline of the Great Lakes.  Due to the length of the trip, she started in March, after a mild winter in Michigan, to ensure she would have sufficient time to complete the journey.  Unfortunately, recent cold weather has delayed spring longer than hoped for.

Her plans and more about her expedition can be found at here

Sources:  https://www.facebook.com/tracilynn.martin




Featured Race: Tocobaga Draft, April 1

The Inaugural Tocobaga Draft will run this coming Saturday, April 1, at Indian Rocks Beach in Florida.  This race was mirrored after a race on the West Coast called Richard "Dick" Ryder Race.

Teams of two racers will pair up to ride the wake/draft of a power boat escort 10 miles and will have a 1/4 mile sprint start and finish from the sandy shores of Indian Rocks Beach (bonus if there is a downwind leg in the Gulf on that day). The fastest team to the finish line at the beach will be crowned Chiefs of the Tocabaga Draft with runner ups through third. Teams are responsible for securing their own power boat and reimbursing the boat captain for gas and incidentals.  

The race will be limited to single surfskis and single OCs.  The race directors, Jason Malick and Lisa Malick, have secured some great sponsors and are hoping to make the race bigger next year.

Practicing for the Tocobaga Draft


Top of the class finish for 2017 FNB Surfski Series

The 2017 FNB Surfski Series came to an exciting end with the Varsity College Surfski Challenge and the Varsity College SA Schools Championships taking place at the Marine Surf Lifesaving Club on Friday evening.

Appropriately, Hank McGregor and Hayley Nixon claimed Race Ten win’s and by doing so they wrapped up the overall men’s and women’s titles for the second year in succession.

Euro Steel/Carbonology’s Nixon had to finish well at the final race of the series to secure the title and with the threat of Bridgitte Hartley racing the final race of the series, the pressure was on. However, Nixon powered her way home to win by just over a minute ahead of Hartley in second with Kyeta Purchase in third.

It was an impressive seventh win of the series for Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ Hank McGregor who just pipped Capetonian Kenny Rice to the post while Matt Bouman rounded out the podium.

Much of the focus of the evening was the Varsity College SA Schools Championships which provided some exciting race across the Under 18 and Under 16 divisions with William Wood from Selborne College in East London taking a tight win.

“I have been working really hard for this and when I was behind after the first lap I just put my head down and made sure Hamish (Lovemore) didn’t get away from me,” Wood mentioned after his win.

“It was a proper, hard race and I felt good from the beginning but it was a really good contest throughout the race.”

The race was a ding-dong battle throughout the second lap with both paddlers not giving an inch, however it was Wood who got the slightest of gaps coming into the finish which was just enough to hand him a memorable win.

“On the final downwind leg we were matching each other run for run but I managed get a run ahead of him and he got caught just behind me which gave me the space I needed.

“I just held the gap for a bit and grew it slightly coming into the finish.

“Such a great feeling to be able to win a race that I have been working towards for so long and take back the title to East London!” a satisfied Wood added.

Young Under 16 paddler Ulvard Hart came home in third place in the boys section with Hamish Mackenzie just behind him to take second Under 16 and fourth overall.

In the girls race it was FNB Surfski Series regular Sabina Lawrie who was too strong for the rest of the girls field as she finished eighth overall and just under three minutes ahead of Christie Mackenzie in second.

Zara Wood was the third girl across the finish line and was the first Under 16 girl to finish the 8km course. Cara Waud was second Under 16 and sixth girl to finish.

On another jam-packed Friday evening at Marine SLC Luke Nisbet and Jenna Ward showed their class once again to finish third in the doubles category and claim another mixed doubles win whilst Jason Ekstrand and Clinton Cook took the overall doubles spoils.

Mthebeni Mhkize was the strongest boat in the 4km short course, however the strongest boat in the race was the visiting doubles pair of Andre and Helen Wood.

Carmel Billson was in fine form as she finished the short course as the third single ski and first female ski. She finished ahead of Siobhan Sharp in second and Jenna Nel in third.

In the stand-up paddleboard category Nick Park-Ross once again showed his skills to claim another win. In the ladies SUP category it was Danica Bartho who finished top once again and finished fifth overall.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – Varsity College Surfski Challenge and Varsity College SA Schools Champs

1.Hank McGregor 31.24
2.Kenny Rice 31.42
3.Matt Bouman 31.45
4.Wade Krieger 32.47
5.Gene Prato 33.43
6.Grant van der Walt 33.58
7.Bailey de Fondaumiere 34.12
8.Emil Torstensonn 34.14
9.Tyron Maher 34.16
10.Jordon Clauson 35.10

1.Hayley Nixon 36.39
2.Bridgitte Hartley 37.30
3.Kyeta Purchase 39.08
4.Kerry Segal 39.18
5.Pippa McGregor 40.23

1.Jason Ekstrand/Clinton Cook 31.26
2.Thomas Lovemore/Felix Richter 32.52
3.Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 33.02

Mixed Doubles
1.Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 33.02
2.Raquel Arcediano/Gareth Miles 35.43
3.Rowan Matthews/Jenna Matthews 37.39

Women Doubles
1.Emma Broberg/Emma Andersson 36.26
2.Wilma Deyzel/Lyn Bennett 40:16
3.Sharon Armstrong/Kelly Biljoen 41.52

1.Mthebeni Mkhize 20.09
2.Bruze Jackson 21.16
3.Carmel Bilson 22.48
4.Kevin Oliver 23.00
5.Dave Rees 23.11

1.Carmel Bilson 22.48
2.Siobhan Sharp 23.12
3.Jenna Nel 25.05

1.Andre Wood/Helen Wood 18.56
2.Jody Taylor/Duane Taylor 19.28
3.LAnce Howarth/Jade Howarth 21.18

1.Nick Park-Ross 25.27
2.Brandon Read 26.34
3.Jon Ivins 28.08
4.Matt Swemmer 28.36
5.Brendon Germaine 29.07

1.Danica Bartho 29.00
2.Lande Williamson 29.28
3.Charlotte Atherton 30.07


1.William Wood 34.14
2.Hamish Lovemore 34.38
3.Ulvard Hart (U16) 36.21
4.Hamish Mackenzie (U16) 36.25
5.Stewart Little 37.15
6.Brendon Delport 37.31
7.Alex Masina 38.08
8.Sabina Lawrie 38.16
9.Kelly Ashton Tarr 39.02
10.Matthew Maroun 39.50

1.Sabina Lawrie 38.16
2.Christie Mackenzie 41.21
3.Zara Wood (U16) 43.20
4.Teegan Hardwick 45.44
5.Alice Edwards 46.19

1.Ulvard Hart 36.21
2.Hamish Mackenzie 36.25
3.James Matthews 43.43
4.Petrus de Klerk 48.03
5.George Edward 1:08.04

1.Zara Wood 43.20
2.Cara Waud 47.25

Reprinted from:  http://marineseries.co.za/?p=893

Events Calendar on Surfski News is UP AND RUNNING

Surfski News has made an effort to load a variety of surfski events around the world onto our events calendar.  You can see "Upcoming Events" in the center of the home page.  

It can be searched by country and/or date (spell out the month).  A list of abbreviations used for the countries appears above the search box.

The idea of this calendar is multi-fold.  1) it will be a place to locate events and registration links.  2) It will be a quick and dirty way to see results (SN intends to add the link to the results as soon as one is available.  3) It will be a place to link race reports that we receive so that one can get a feel for the flavor of the event when planning next years excursions.

We hope that if you have events you would like to see on the calendar that you will send us the info at surfskinews@gmail.com and that if you would like to share race reports you will also send them to us.

An example of what we hope we can build going forward is found here: http://www.surfskinews.com/surfski-race-events/2017/3/18/battle-on-the-bayou

The Battle Rages On the Bayou: Bringing in the 2017 Race Season In The Southeast --- Elmore Holmes

Mike Herbert and the Pellerin Triplets

Mike Herbert and the Pellerin Triplets

It was sunny and beautiful in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the morning of March 18 as racers converged on a cove at the eastern end of the Back Bay of Biloxi for the Battle On The Bayou canoe and kayak race.  This would be the eighth annual edition of this event, and for those who like to ask "What's new this year?" the most obvious answer would be the new race course.  In past years paddlers started in this cove, turned up into Old Fort Bayou, and followed this coastal creek some nine and a half miles to a finish line next to The Shed barbecue joint.  Looking to rein in the sprawl of the event, race director Mike Pornovets decided to make this year's course an "out-and-back" configuration, looping around an island about four miles up the bayou and returning to the same place it had started.  This allowed the event to be concentrated at one venue--the Gulf Hills Hotel just up the hill from the starting area--and eliminated the need for a shuttle to get racers from The Shed back to their cars.

When I arrived at the race site I found a familiar cast of characters assembled.  There was little question who the favorite was to take the overall title: even though it's been quite a few years now since he made his three U.S. Olympic teams and won his medals at the world championships, Mike Herbert of Rogers, Arkansas, has kept himself in outstanding physical condition and continues to be a factor in races all over the country at the age of 56.

Elmore Holmes and Jeb Berry

Elmore Holmes and Jeb Berry

Another boat expected to be in the hunt was the K3 paddled by the 15-year-old Pellerin triplets of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  Carson, Conrad, and Peyton Pellerin have grown up racing across the Gulf South region and in the past year they have surpassed my own racing ability.  I'd last seen them in September at a 9-kilometer race up near Jackson, and while I was able to hang with them for most of that race their sprint off the starting line and their final surge toward the finish line were faster than I could handle.  I came to Ocean Springs this weekend curious to see if they could sustain a higher rate of speed over the entire 8.25-mile course; if so, they would be out of my league.

I figured my own competition would come from the likes of Phil Capel of Sherwood, Arkansas; Shane Kleynhans of Brandon, Mississippi; Jeb Berry of Gulfport, Mississippi; and the Louisiana tandem of Randy Hargroder and Brad Rex.

Nearly 150 boats--kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards--maneuvered onto the starting line, and just after nine o'clockthe starting gun fired.  Mike Herbert sprinted into the lead with the Pellerins in pursuit.  I quickly found myself vying for the third position with Jeb Berry on my left and Shane Kleynhans on my right.  As we rounded the tip of a sawgrass marsh and headed up into Old Fort Bayou, I settled onto Jeb's wake and we opened a couple of boat lengths on Shane, whose training has been limited this winter due to a knee-replacement surgery in early December.

The Gulf Races Always Bring Fun Hats!

The Gulf Races Always Bring Fun Hats!

I was hoping that if I could withstand the triplets' initial sprint I might be able to climb up onto their stern wake like I had done at Jackson last fall, but they were having none of that.  Their rapid development has indeed continued through the winter and steadily they pulled away from the rest of us.  As they approached the Washington Avenue drawbridge they appeared well within striking distance of Mike.

I let them go and focused my attention on Jeb, who as far as I could tell was alone on my stern wake.  I threw in a number of surges during the first half of the race with the hope of dropping him, but he wouldn't drop.  As we rounded the island for the return trip I let him take the lead for a while, and even though he told me he'd been working hard to stay on my wake, he wasn't paddling like he was on the ropes now.  I sat on his wake and tried to save some energy for a strong finish.

Battling in the Bayou

Battling in the Bayou

The story up front, as recounted to me afterward, was that the triplets were hanging close enough to Mike that Mike decided to drop back and ride their wake for much of the race.  By the time they entered the final stretch he'd had all the rest he needed to turn on his world-class speed and pull away to win by about eleven seconds.  It was a good win for Mike, but I'm impressed by the Pellerin boys' accomplishment: while I'd figured it wouldn't be long before they were able to hang with athletes of Mike's caliber, I didn't think they would be there quite yet.  I look forward to rooting them on as they travel through the world of flatwater sprint racing and national teams and all that kind of thing.

I felt anything but rested after some ten minutes on Jeb's wake, but as the Washington Avenue bridge came back into view I knew it was time for me to make my case for third place overall.  Once we'd passed under the bridge it was tempting to think we were "almost there," but we still had the better part of a mile to go.  I tried to paddle as strong and efficiently as I could without blowing out everything I had too early.  Finally, when we rounded the last turn and could see the finish buoys, I decided it was time and I began my last furious push.  Even as I became more confident that I had third place in the bag, glances over my shoulder revealed Jeb's bright yellow boat still there, closer than I would have liked.  At last we crossed the line two seconds apart, according to the official results.

Lauren Drummond

Lauren Drummond

Shane came into the finish about seventy seconds later--not a bad effort for him considering his recent medical experiences.  The Hargroder-Rex K2 came in several minutes behind Shane, and Henry Lawrence of Brandon, Mississippi, completed a very respectable effort shortly thereafter.  Phil Capel was the first non-race-boat finisher, winning the class for fast touring kayaks.  The top overall female finisher was Lauren Drummond of D'Iberville, Mississippi.  The complete results are now posted here.

Henry Lawrence

Henry Lawrence

No question about it: the 2017 race season is now underway here in the southern United States.  I'm reasonably satisfied with my first race and I look forward to more competitions with many of these same paddlers along with a host of others.

PHOTO CREDITS to Doug Heller.

Nixon takes control of women's FNB Surfski Series

Hayley Nixon

Hayley Nixon

Durban - Matt Bouman grabbed the overall line honours in the Hi-Q Challenge surfski series race, the penultimate leg of the popular FNB Surfski Series, while most of the attention was focussed on the fascinating tussle for the women's series honours.

Bouman (SMG/Epic Kayaks) ground away alone at the front to post the fastest overall time ahead of the husband-and-wife crew of multiple marathon world champ Hank McGregor and Pippa McGregor (Epic Kayaks/Euro Steel), but it was the ferocious tussle between the classy women's title pacesetters Hayley Nixon and Michelle Burn (Fenn Kayaks), both anxious to seize the high ground going into the decisive final race of the series, that dominated conversation after the race.

It was Nixon who prevailed, making the most of the benign overcast conditions that favoured flatwater speed over downwind skills, the Euro Steel/Carbonology Sport star edging Burn into second in the dying stages of what was an absorbing tussle.

"It was a tough race, made tougher by the fact that both Michelle and I are narrowing the gap on each others skills," said Nixon.

"She is really going well and getting stronger in the flatter conditions, and I am able to stay with her in the big downwind conditions. Every time I looked over my shoulder she was right there! That is exactly what we want as we prepare for the upcoming international season," she added.

"We want races to be as hard as possible, and that is what we are getting," said Nixon, who is aiming at the defence of the Surfski Series title she won last year.

"It has been a fantastic series for the women because the races have seen Michelle (Burn), Bridgitte (Hartley) and myself all winning races. I am really going to have to bring my A game next week if I want to try and win the overall series," she added.

Bouman's win was his third of the series but with Hank McGregor having already wrapped up the men's series honours, it will simply consolidate his runner-up position on the series log.

"I have been training quite hard and I wanted some feedback on how it is going," said Bouman.

"Both Wade (Krieger) and Grant (Van der Walt) are going well at the moment, so to be able to pull away from them is a good indicator.

Bouman finished more than a minute clear of Wade Krieger with Grant van der Walt completing the men's podium.

The lifesaving ironman said that he enjoyed the variety of conditions that the Friday evening series offered. "It is always different!" he said emphatically.

"It always seems to end up in the same zone. Everyone races really hard and it starts to hurt when the nitrogen starts filling your muscles.

"You just have to go to your little happy place and it all becomes a bit of a blur," he added.

With the McGregor's making the mixed doubles race their own from the outset, behind them there was a needle scrap for second between Jenna Ward and Luke Nisbet and the crew of Donna Tutton and Shaun Burgin which Ward and Nisbet won by thirty seconds.

The men's double title went to Wise Mvubu and Thando Thusi, while Hamish Lovemore continued his excellent run of form, winning the junior prizemoney with another overall top ten performance

The Varsity College Surfski Challenge and Varsity College SA Schools Champs, Race Ten of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 10 March at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za.





1 Matt Bouman 31:51

2 Wade Krieger 33:02

3 Grant Van Der Walt 33:13

4 Gene Prato 33:32

5 Bailey De Fondaumiere 33:41

6 Barry Lewin 33:47

7 Hamish Lovemore 34:35

8 Emil Torstensson 34:40

9 Tyron Maher 34:47

10 Jordon Clauson 34:58


1 Hayley Nixon 35:58

2 Michelle Burn 36:13

3 Kyeta Purchase 38:07

Men Doubles

1 Wise Mvubu/Thando Thusi 35:10

2 Simon Grout/Dave Harker 35:40

3 Calvin Mckie/Byron Mckie 35:53

4 Skye Prato/David Aikins 36:13

Mixed Doubles

1 Hank McGregor/Pippa McGregor 31:55

2 Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 32:38

3 Donna Tutton/Shaun Burgin 32:58

Women Doubles

1 Louisa Van Staaden/Wilma Deysel 39:35


1 Hamish Lovemore 34:35

2 Brendon Delport 37:36

3 Sabina Lawrie 40:13


1 Matthew Maroun 19:43

2 Zoog Haynes/Ty Haynes 19:52

3 Andrew Atkinson/Max Maunier 21:17

4 Lance Howarth/Jade Howarth 21:47

5 Dave Rees 22:18

6 Keli Reynolds/Ken Reynolds 22:43

7 Carmel Billson 22:49

8 Alan Beukes 22:56

9 Kevin Oliver 23:12

10 Mark Horner 23:33

2 Teegan Hardwick 23:34


1 Robbie De Billot 31:49

2 Brendon Germaine 33:26

3 Danica-Anne Bartho 33:29

Source:  (reprint) https://www.facebook.com/notes/marine-surfski-series/nixon-takes-control-of-womens-fnb-surfski-series/1444358032303071

Rice Claims First Again -- SeaDog Race 16

Kenny Rice

Kenny Rice

On February 25, Race 16 of the ADT SeaDogs Series happened.  This race was co-sponsored by Chartford Wealth and took place in idyllic conditions.  It was another evening of tight racing with the mens dice between Jasper Mocke, Mark Keeling, Stuart MacLaren, Kyle Friedenstein, Dawid Mocke and Kenny Rice all dicing it out for the win.  The top men formed a tight bunch on the different course down to Clovelly and back for 3 laps.  Kenny Rice took the win again in a scramble up the beach.

Tight start

Tight start

The ladies race was also tight with Kirsten Flanagan pipping Nikki Mocke on the run for the line.

Kristen Flanagan

Kristen Flanagan

Nikki Mocke

Nikki Mocke

Intensely battling for position

Intensely battling for position

The full results are below:

All Photographs courtesy of Cape Town Sports Photography.