Durban – Canoe Marathon World Champion Hank McGregor and South African women’s surfski standout Michelle Burn’s dominance of the 2014 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series continued in Friday’s Bay Union Surfski Challenge, race five of the ten-leg series, as they stormed to their fourth victories of competition.
With the rapid growth of women’s surfski paddling in the region, competition amongst KZN’s female stars has also enjoyed a sharp rise in recent years. This increased level of competition amongst the ladies, coupled with a poor start, did however see Burn having to dig far deeper than she had hoped.
“It was nice to get my fourth win of the series but that was much harder than necessary!” chuckled Burn (Fenn/Team Jeep) afterwards.
“I had the worst start ever! I was the last person off the beach because I just wasn’t ready and so, by the time we got out to the first buoy, the other girls already had about 50 meters on me!
“It was great to see so many girls back on the water again but that also meant I really had to work hard to get back up to them!”
“I’d taken a bit of time off at the start of the year but the other girls have been getting just a little too close recently so I started training again this week. Hopefully that will help in a couple of weeks’ time but I really had to work hard this week,” she added light-heartedly.
A North Easterly wind in the hours leading up to the event meant paddlers had to deal with tricky yet enjoyable conditions however the early exertion meant it wasn’t until the second half of the race that Burn was able to take advantage of the open ocean runs and stamp her authority on the encounter.
“Once I finally managed to catch Nikki (Russell) I decided to just sit on her wave for a while to try and recover and only then did I manage to get ahead a little later in the race,” said Burn.
“The North Easter meant conditions were really fun. It was quite tricky going into the wind but I really enjoyed the stretch back from North Beach to Marine,” she added.
Having led the women’s clash initially, Russell crossed the line to claim second place with Danica Bartho (Fenn/Bartho Fish Co.) finishing third.
Like Burn, McGregor (Fenn/Team Jeep) claimed his fourth victory of the series after he cruised home ahead of Matt Bouman (Epic Kayaks) and Grant van der Walt (Varsity College/Epic Kayaks) and now requires just two more positive results from the remaining five races in order to win yet another series title.
Wayne Wilson and Shaun Dias regained the top step of the podium in the doubles category after they edged out Dusi Canoe Marathon combo Adam Nisbet and Len Jenkins while Ryan Atkins and Julie Cornelius stormed to yet another mixed doubles race win.
With the widely anticipated Dusi Canoe Marathon set to take place from Thursday 13 to Saturday 15 February, race six of the series – the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge – will instead take place on Tuesday 11 February at 17h30 at Addington Beach.
The series’ affiliation with Lettie Paddle, an initiative started by Danica Bartho in support of her good friend and fellow paddler Nikki Heynes currently fighting against cancer, is the first charitable cause the series has enjoyed and one series organiser Barry Lewin is extremely excited by.
“The Lettie Paddle initiative is one very close to the hearts of many of our paddlers in KZN and we are really looking forward to welcoming the campaign to the series for the first time on Tuesday,” said Lewin.
“Tuesday is all about paddlers showing their support of others they know who are currently fighting the fight against cancer as well as raising awareness about the deadly disease.
“Paddlers are encouraged to really go to town on Tuesday and dress up in pink paddling gear. Pink Funky Pants paddling shorts can also be purchased ahead of the race which, together with wigs, accessories and anything else pink, will really be great to see out on the water!” he added.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – BAY UNION SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE FIVE OF THE VARSITY COLLEGE MARINE SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 33.23
2.Matt Bouman 33.41
3.Grant van der Walt 35.00
4.Barry Lewin 36.17
5.Herman Chalupsky 36.35
1.Michelle Burn 40.21
2.Nicole Russell 41.20
3.Danica Bartho 42.20
1.Jordan Clauson 39.03
2.Keagan Kok 43.06
3.Joshua Evered-Hall 43.59
1.Wayne Wilson/Shaun Dias 34.01
2.Adam Nisbet/Len Jenkins 34.09
3.Brett Bartho/Wayne Thompson 34.11
1.Ryan Atkins/Julie Cornelius 38.47
2.Paul Scruby/Angela Scruby 40.52
3.Bruce Jackson/Lindy Bradshaw 45.04
1.Sipho Luthuli 23.53
2.Mitchel Tees 26.31
3.Christopher Walthew 26.40
1.Craig Stuart/Jon Wiseman 22.20
2.Savannah van Rooyen/Luke 22.56
3.Thando Thusi/Lauren Coleby 24.32
Durban – No surf and magnificently flat seas saw Friday evening’s Thule Surfski Challenge, race four of the 2014 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, turn into a raw, unforgiving 8km sprint which played right into the hands of the remarkably fit Hank McGregor and Michelle Burn as the respective men’s and women’s series defending champions extended their lead at the top of the 2014 standings whilst hundreds of others enjoyed getting back on the water.
With two wins under the belt from the series’ first three races to date, triple Canoe Marathon World Champ Hank McGregor (Fenn/Team Jeep) notched up his third race victory when he narrowly edged out perennial rival Matt Bouman (Epic Kayaks) after a tightly contested affair throughout the two lap dash around Durban’s bay.
The win sees McGregor halfway to achieving yet another series title with paddlers’ best six results from the ten-leg series counting towards the final standings, however there is still plenty to race for for McGregor, particularly as he prepares for the widely spoken about upcoming Dusi Canoe Marathon.
“It’s great to get another win!” said McGregor. “I will obviously have to start taking iot easy for the next couple of weeks before Dusi so it’s nice to be able to get another win under the belt before then.
With no assistance from Mother Nature, McGregor and Bouman were left to square off against one another in the high tempo frenzy where just a single mistake could well end one’s challenge.
“Out there, there were no waves, no swell, no wind. Nothing!” said McGregor. “Not like the last couple of weeks.
“Matthew (Bouman) and I got away from the start so it immediately became a bit of a two horse battle. I then managed to open up a bit of a gap on him at the start of the second lap and by the end had about 150 meters, so I was happy.
“With no assistance from the conditions it was just a good, hard slog the whole way,” he added.
Having been in the mix for his third bottom step of the podium result of the series, series coordinator and Varsity College/Team Jeep athlete Barry Lewin was once again edged out in a hard fought end sprint, this time by Jean-Luc Mauvis while masters star Herman Chalupsky showed why he was regarded as one of the country’s leading paddlers in by-gone years as he crossed the line in fifth just seconds behind Mauvis and Lewin.
Burn (Fenn/Team Jeep) was the shining light in the women’s race once more as she, like McGregor, claimed her third win of the series, finish exactly a minute ahead of Nikki Russell who in turn was a minute ahead of Jenna Ward.
EuroSteel’s Mark Mulder and Dave Chaplin narrowly edged out regular doubles star Wayne Wilson and his partner Shaun Dias in the doubles section, in the process recording their second consecutive victory in the division and giving themselves good confidence ahead of their Dusi assault.
“With the flat conditions out there it was hard to shake someone off your wave. Dave and I felt really good but we just couldn’t get rid of Wayne and Shaun,” explained Mulder.
“It was nice to get the win over them in the end though and now we just can’t wait for Dusi! Bring it on!” he chuckled.
Keagan Kok clinched the junior boys race victory while Ryan Atkins and Julie Cornelius continued their great run of form, claiming yet another mixed doubles race win themselves.
While the conditions created tight, high intensity racing at the front of the field, the respite in the testing surf participants have had to deal with in the first three weeks of the series was welcomed by most and saw numerous novices head out and complete their first 2014 series race, a first race ever for some.
The Bay Union Surfski Challenge, race five of the 2014 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, takes place at Marine SLC, Addington Beach at 17h30 on Friday 7 February. More info can be found atwww.marineseries.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – THULE SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE FOUR OF THE 2014 VARSITY COLLEGE MARINE SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 34.30
2.Matt Bouman 34.56
3.Lean-Luc Mauvis 36.53
4.Barry Lewin 36.56
5.Herman Chalupsky 36.59
1.Michelle Burn 40.48
2.Nicole Russell 41.48
3.Jenna Ward 42.50
1.Keagan Kok 40.02
2.Jordan Clauson 40.13
3.Brett Wilken (U16) 42.06
1.Mark Mulder/Dave Chaplin 35.00
2.Wayne Wilson/Shaun Dias 35.06
3.Lee McGregor/Allan Hold 35.46
1.Ryan Atkins/Julie Cornelius 37.55
2.Paul Scruby/Angela Scruby 38.59
3.Derek Hauptfleisch/Lynne Hauptfleisch 44.04
1.Beverley Guest/Louisa van Staden 47.57
1.Sipho Luthuli 22.59
2.Tyron Hudson 23.04
3.Gareth Hazell 23.20
1.Terry McDougall/Michael Lyon 20.48
2.Trent Baird/Sandile Shange 21.39
3.Thando Thusi/Lareun Coleby (Mixed) 22.16
The Durban Surfskischool has been proud to team up with the Varsity College Marine Surfski Series over the last 4 years to provide free coaching clinics to the schools ahead of the Varsity College SA Schools Surfski Champs on the 14th of March.
This will be the 5th running of this prestigious event that aims to grow the sport of surfski paddling country wide. The event teams up with Surfskischool branches in Durban and Cape Town to introduce kids to the sport and identify talent that are training for the event.
The coaching clinics in Durban are currently under way with the Glenwood having a number of very promising kids taking part in the clinics and the events so far. There are a couple more clinics to come on the following dates:
1 March 2014
8 March 2014
If anyone is interesting in getting involved or would like their school involved please give the school a shout on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Surfskischool in Durban is up and running again for the year and have had a great response to opening for 2014. New people and big smiles enjoying the stoke of taking up the sport and enjoying some great summer Durban weather.
It has been some time since the Surfskischool in Durban has put up it’s prices.
The ABC of paddle course is now R 500 for 3 lessons. This includes an ABC intro class (10am) followed by 2 practice session in the ocean paddler class (9am).
For more information or to make a booking give us a shout on 0836600936 or email email@example.com
Setting goals are alway important and the key to achieving those goals is putting positive structures in please to get your want to go. Goals can be anything from doing your first downwind to getting through a long tough race like the Fenn Cape Point Challenge.
I have a couple people who took up the massive task of preparing for the latter, one of the hardest races in the world where the traditional downwind is thrown out the window and no matter what the weather at least half the race is into the wind.
A big well done to the crew I coach for taking up and doing this massive race but for loving all the hard work in the middle. Congrats!