With one (title) race to go – the Palm to Pines in Australia – it looks as though Hank McGregor has his second consecutive world series title in the bag.
1 Hank Mcgregor 3495
2 Jasper Mocke 3491
3 Dawid Mocke 3482
4 Mackenzie Hynard 3477
5 Oscar Chalupsky 3461
6 Mark Anderson 3426
7 Nicolas Lambert 3413
8 Lee Furby 3256
9 Maurizio Tognacci 3083
10 Michael Mckeogh 3054
11 Patrick Langley 2880
12 Shaun Rice 2500
13 Colin Simpkins 2715
14 Sean Rice 2498
15 Kenneth Rice 2498
16 Austin Kieffer 2487
17 Kyle Friedenstein 2480
18 Joshua Fenn 2450
19 Ian Black 2448
20 Bevan Manson 2445
In the Women’s series, it’s Rachel Clarke who is likely to gain points from next weekend’s Palm to Pines to take the win from Hayley Nixon and Kyeta Purchase.
1 Kyeta Purchase 3482
2 Hayley Nixon 2994
3 Rachel Clarke 2500
4 Michelle Burn 2500
5 Teneale Hatton 2496
6 Nikki Russell 2489
7 Angie Le Roux 2488
8 Tricia Gilbert 2473
9 Wendy Reyntjes 1990
10 Jenna Ward 1984
11 Tegan Fraser 1490
12 Chloe Bunnett 1489
13 Amaia Osaba Olaberri 1487
14 Sara Rafael 1487
15 Tamlyn Bohm 1486
16 Kirsten Flanagan 1485
17 Ana Swetish 1484
18 Sharon Armstrong 1481
19 Heather Nelson 1481
20 Lisa Gras 1479
The fifth and final race of the 2017 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series saw victories for Hank McGregor and Michelle Burn, bringing down the curtain on the unusually extended edition of popular annual early summer surfski series.
The series had to be extended following the cancellation of two races due to dangerous conditions. Organisers then pulled out all the stops to give the people one last crack at the iconic 8km course to the harbour wall and back to Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club, usually raced on Friday evenings but this week moved to a Thursday evening to accommodate the end-of-year congestion in family calendars.
Repeating his victory from winner McGregor out-classed a strong field of paddlers and showed that he is not suffering from the after-effects of a tough few weeks racing overseas.
"It's great to be back at the Wall and Back series having only been able to do two races this year due to local and international commitments," Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks' McGregor mentioned.
"It was awesome to get the win last night and support a local series like the Wall and Back."
The Wall and Back series is known for dishing up some tricky conditions and Thursday night's race was no different as paddlers had their work cut out for them over the 8km course. With that said McGregor's understanding of how to deal with varying conditions gave him the edge over the rest of the field.
"Conditions were quite testing with a heavy side chop which made it tough going to the wall and coming back.
"There was very little assistance from the ocean and I would say it was more resistance than assistance!"
Rounding out the men's podium on Thursday were Brandon van der Walt in second and taking bronze was Wade Krieger.
Thursday's final race of the series saw Fenn Kayaks' Michelle Burn take race honours as well as series honours with her three results which include two wins and a second handing her the title of Wall and Back women's champion for 2017.
Siobhan Sharp came home in second place in the ladies race followed by Kaylee Smit in third.
At the conclusion of the fifth and final race, Epic Kayaks' Matt Bouman was crowned overall series winner having won one race and finished two others meaning his three best results hand him the overall title.
Following an impressive series Gene Prato finished second overall ahead of 2016 series winner Wade Krieger who finished third.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS - Race 5 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series
Overall 1.Hank McGregor 30:55 2.Brandon van der Walt 32:04 3.Wade Krieger 32:24 4.Andy Birkett 32:38 5.Gene Prato 33:27 6.Tyron Maher 34:10 7.Grant Van Der Walt 34:25 8.Murray Smith 36:20 9.Hamish Lovemore 36:45 10.Steve Cohen 37:04
Doubles 1.Steve Woods/Clint Pretorirus 32:14 2.Shaun Burgin/Donna Winter 35:10 3.Rowan Matthews/James Matthews 35:28 4.Malcolm Pitt/Greg Worthington 35:41 5.Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 36:05
Women 1.Michelle Burn 38:16 2.Siobhan Sharp 52:08 3.Kaylee Smit 55:38
Andy Birkett dropped a bombshell ahead of the 2018 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon from 15 to 17 February by confirming that he has scooped multiple world champion Hank McGregor as his partner for the three-day K2 championship race.
Birkett has won the Dusi K2 title four times, with three different partners – Jason Graham, Sbonelo Khwela and Lance Kime, while McGregor has also won the K2 race with the “Dusi Duke” Martin Dreyer.
With McGregor entrenched in his K2 partnership with Capetonain Jasper Mocké that has brought them repeated world K2 championship gold medals, few saw the Dusi combination with Birkett coming.
“I raised it just before the Fish this year,” said Birkett. “I was amped that he took it seriously and then got back to me and agreed to race together.
“He is such a great athlete with a phenomenal pedigree that I am so excited for this year’s race,” Birkett added.
While the pair have fought it out over a number of years for the various marathon titles throughout South Africa, the 2018 Dusi will be their second major outing together, after having won the 2015 Umkomaas Canoe Marathon.
Their rivalry has developed a mutual respect between the two and Birkett is looking forward to paddling in a boat with one of the all-time greats of canoeing.
“Hank has raced some great Dusi K2s races, but with paddlers that might not necessarily be specialist Dusi paddlers, so I am really keen to see what we can achieve together. We have become good friends over the years and I have a healthy respect for him.”
With McGregor living and working in Durban and Birkett based in Pietermaritzburg, the Euro Steel team mates will have to plan their training time together, and give themselves enough time to work out the set-up of their boat.
“I have no idea who will be driving the boat! I am holding thumbs that I can,” said Birkett.
“The truth is I am happy to be in the back of the boat if the boat works well that way. I focus on enjoying my time in the boat, and with the way that the K2 combinations are coming together at the moment, I am really looking forward to the FNB Dusi in February,” he concluded.
The 2018 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from 15-17 February from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban.
Technical clothing manufacturer Vaikobi has signed on as title sponsor for the Amsterdam Waterland Marathon with the longstanding race celebrating it's 46th running for the upcoming 2018 edition.
The sponsorship is somewhat of a departure for Vaikobi, as the Australian-based company has in the past generally maintained support of only ocean races
Last year, Molokai winner and former ICF Surfski World Champion Sean Rice made the jump over to the AWM, wrangling a hard-fought tactical victory over stiff competition from seasoned marathon veterans.
In what could be viewed as firing a shot over the bow, Rice stated that he "would be back and would bring friends", possibly foreshadowing the inclusion of more surfski paddlers throwing their hat in for the race. With Rice's extremely successful 2017 campaign, including some work on K1 marathon races, it's not a stretch to draw correlations to the benefits he received from his flat-water training.
Description from the website:
The Amsterdam Waterland Marathon is an international canoe race where the great champions and the recreational paddlers battle for the honor of winning Netherlands oldest and largest canoe marathon.
The Amsterdam Waterland Marathon has been organized for 46 years. The race is one of the unique leading events in the international canoe circuit and part of the Canoe Marathon Classic Series of the International Canoe Federation. By participating in this serie participants can earn points for the classic marathon world championship. The Amsterdam Waterland Marathon enjoys a growing international popularity because of its classic racing form in a unique Dutch watery landscape.
The international fame has led to a growing foreign participation and a revival of the canoe marathon sport in the Netherlands. The Waterland Marathon offers Dutch talent the chance to compete with international players in a familiar environment. The Amsterdam Waterland Marathon hosts the Dutch national championships of marathon in the same race as the international event.
Spectacle is guaranteed , the race consists of a mass start and two challenging portages . Portages in the marathon sport always guarantee a spectacular race . In this marathon a particular portage is even more spectacular weather .
The marathon provides international competitors with a great opportunity to visit the vibrant city of Amsterdam after the competition.
They might have been racing on a revised race course for the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Super Spar, but the result was expected as Sbonelo Khwela and Siseko Ntondini ran away from the rest of the field while Christie Mackenzie and Kerry Segal won the ladies race on Sunday.
Moving from its traditional home on the upper uMngeni River, the Ozzie Gladwin moved to the uMsundusi River this year and recent rains made the conditions ideal for the big field as they navigated the 20km from Camps Drift to the Bishopestowe Farmers Hall.
It was a well-calculated race from Euro Steel/Red Bull’s Khwela and Euro Steel’s Ntondini as they maintained a solid pace throughout the race and made sure they took advantage over the final portage into the finish.
“We kept up a good pace throughout and made sure that we were on the front bunch throughout the race,” the driver of the boat Ntondini mentioned.
“On the run Sbonelo pushed me hard because running is a bit of a weakness for me so it was tough but was great to get a win this early in the season.
“I really had to up my speed on the run because the boat kept sliding on my shoulder as Sbonelo kept running faster and faster,” he chuckled.
Everyone knows Khwela’s running prowess and he was satisfied with the early season result.
“I was happy with how our run went as we haven’t really had a lot of time to train together and we have only run with the boat once so far,” Khwela explained.
“It was surprising how strong we were today but we know that we still have a long way to go until we are ready for Dusi!”
It was a case of the young and the old for the other two podium spots with the experienced duo of Jacques Theron and Thulani Mbanjwa taking home second spot while the Under 23 duo of Stewart Little and Khumbulani Nzimande finishing in third.
The ladies race was an exciting affair despite the early break-away from the make-shift pair of Christie Mackenzie and Kerry Segal, who took advantage of the flat laps around Camps Drift.
The pair managed to get ahead and stay ahead all the way to the finish and despite the win, Mackenzie felt the pain of early season racing.
“The calves are a bit sore because we haven’t really paddled together, we’ve only paddled in one race together but it was nice to see where we stand going into the season.
“It’s a good wake-up call to get and it helps you realise how much work there is still to be done before Dusi,” Mackenzie stressed.
Segal will be pairing up with Kyeta Purchase for the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon and Mackenzie will team up with Bridgitte Hartley which will mean the ladies race is going to be an exciting showdown come February.
Completing the podium in the ladies race was the junior pair of Amy Peckett and Caitlin Mackenzie and the Peek sisters, Jordan and Cana, in second and third respectively.
Six-time FNB Dusi champion Andy Birkett is also currently in the build-up for the Dusi and with his partner away he teamed up with Jenna Ward for the Ozzie Gladwin and the duo paddled to victory in the mixed doubled category.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, Presented by Parklane Super Spar
1.Siseko Ntondini/Sbonelo Khwela 1:31:14
2.Jacques Theron/Thulani Mbanjwa 1:31:18
3.Stewart Little/Khumbulani Nzimande (U23) 1:32:02
4.Banetse Nkhoesa/Alex Masina 1:32:48
5.Mmeli Cele/Maswenkosi Mtolo 1:35:09
6.Mthobisi Cele/Mpilo Zondi (U23) 1:36:44
7.Ant Stott/Clinton Cook 1:37:14
8.Minenhle Mbhele/Sandile Mtolo (U18) 1:37:35
9.Jason Graham/James Speed 1:38:14
10.Carl Folscher/Craig Carter-Brown 1:38:45
1.Christie Mackenzie/Kerry Segal (U23) 1:50:44
2.Amy Peckett/Caitlin Mackenzie (U16) 1:55:44
3.Jordan Peek/Cana Peek (U23) 1:56:33
4.Kim Peek/Cayleigh Shaw 2:01:03
5.Lorna Oliver/Melissa van Rooyen 2:01:36
Under 23 Men
1.Stewart Little/Khumbulani Nzimande 1:32:02
2.Mthobisi Cele/Mpilo Zondi 1:36:44
3.Jabulani Gwamanda/Nkosikhona Mabaso 1:39:09
4.Xolile Kondile/Bongani Ntinga 1:41:01
5.Siyanda Gwamanda/Khwandokuhle Mzolo 1:42:11
Under 18 Boys
1.Minenhle Mbhele/Sandile Mtolo 1:37:35
2.Dominic Leslie/Sam Speed 1:42:26
3.Kelly Tarr/Andile Mtolo 1:43:12
Video blur-by of Mackenzie Hynard's Doctor race.