Durban – Hundreds of paddlers are expected to return to Durban’s ocean racing scene this Sunday when the annual five-leg Bay Union Surfski Series gets underway at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach with the Bay Union Season Starter, signalling the start of the autumn surfski season.
Organisers have done away with the traditional series log standings and prizes, paving the way for local surfski enthusiasts to focus their full attention on each of the races’ unique paddling experiences over the coming five Sundays.
Renowned for its spectacular conditions at this time of the year, Durban’s bay offers the perfect, protected stage upon which all the action can unfold while the iconic Golden Mile, Moses Mabhida Stadium and the spectacular cityscape provides the ideal backdrop.
“We are extremely privileged to be able to have such incredible conditions at our disposal here in Durban during the autumn and winter months and thanks to the generous support of Bay Union, we are thrilled to host KZN’s surfski community for what promises to be another fantastic five weeks of racing,” explained series organiser, Barry Lewin.
“We’ve changed things up a little this year, with the focus of this year’s series being all about paddlers enjoying what each of the individual races have to offer,” he added.
As a unique theme runs through each of the five races, paddlers can look forward to enjoying many of the various elements that make the sport so popular on the East Coast.
“Sunday’s race is all about embracing the fun that comes with the sport of surfski,” said Lewin.
“We have prizes for the best dressed paddlers, spirit awards and a special family category which, together with some great new course routes, should get the series off on a really fun, relaxed, family orientated note – the essence of why many of us paddle!”
Sunday, 24 April’s Bay Union King of the Bay presented by Zurich provides paddlers with a once-a-year opportunity to paddle across Durban’s harbour and out the mouth to sea – an annual highlight for many – while race three, the Lion of Africa Surf Challenge on Sunday, 1 May takes participants back to their paddling roots and tests their basic ocean paddling skills.
“The King of the Bay is such an iconic Durban event and one not to be missed!
“The Lion Of Africa Surf Challenge will see participants make multiple turns in amongst the waves, taking paddlers back to the lifesaving ‘around the cans’ heritage of the sport.
The final two events of the popular autumn series then focus on teamwork as paddlers tackle the Bay Union Dairy Doubles Challenge and Bay Union Team Challenge on Sunday, 8 May and Sunday, 15 May respectively.
“We have such a strong doubles racing culture here in Durban and yet very few dedicated doubles events.
“The Dairy Doubles Challenge at Durban Surf should be a fantastic day’s racing where some of the country’s, if not the world’s, top doubles crews go head-to-head while the competitive vets and masters age groups also promises to serve up some fierce competition.
“The concept of a Team Challenge was born a couple of years ago and this year’s event is a refinement of that.
“Much like how mountain bike stage races are run, teams will consist of two skis – either singles or doubles – with both craft needing to cross the line within a boat length of the other to qualify for the prizes.
“Paddlers having to work together whilst also trying to compete against the other teams around them is a novel concept to surfski paddling and we cannot wait for the action that the format promises to produce!” said Lewin.
The Bay Union Season Starter, race one of the 2016 Bay Union Surfski Series, takes place from 09h00 at Marine SLC, Addington Beach on Sunday, 17 April. Entry fee for races 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the series is R80 per paddle while race 2 costs R120 per paddle.
More information can be found at www.pitchandpaddle.co.za
Durban – The 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series came to an end on Friday evening with the Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships taking centre stage as the Mark Keeling and Kyeta Purchase became national champions whilst Hank McGregor took the overall spoils in the series.
Keeling finished second the Bailey de Fondaumiere in 2015 however he was too strong for the rest of the schools field as he cantered to a win by just over a minute whilst Kyeta Purchase repeated her win of 2015 as she outgunned the other girls to take the national championship title.
The overall series title was up for grabs as Euro Steel/Epic Kayak’s Hank McGregor was chasing Matt Bouman for the spoils however it was the former who produced the goods to claim yet another Varsity College FNB Series title.
“It was a perfect evening for racing with a light westerly wind blowing,” McGregor said. “There was a great field there and I knew that I was under a bit of pressure because I needed this result if I was going to win.
“It was an awesome evening for racing and I am really glad that I have another title,” he added.
McGregor always knew that he had to finish at the front of the field if he wanted his sixth and final result to count in his favour so when he started the race he made sure that he got himself in front of the rest of the field early.
“I decided that I wanted to deliver the hurt from the beginning of the race as I needed to get myself away.
“I had a great start and got a substantial lead quickly because I really didn’t want to leave it to the final lap because you never know what can happen.
“When I got ahead I just tried to chase down the doubles and the paddlers in the schools race so I always had a marker to chase.
“It was a fantastic win for me and I am glad that I could get another series win!” he added.
The series has become known for its strong field that it accumulates every week and Friday night’s racing was no different.
“It was good to have the likes of Kenny Rice here which just added the strength of the field.
“Being able to race against some of the best surfski paddlers in the world is such a privilege. Taking them on in my own back yard is something that I have always appreciated,” added a satisfied McGregor.
With the focus of the final race being on the SA School’s championships, Hayley Nixon managed to get her second win of the series despite the fact that Nicole Russell had already wrapped up the women’s series title.
The popular short course was won by Nic Riosa whilst the Wilkinson pair of Travis and Rachel were the quickest double across the line.
More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – VARSITY COLLEGE SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE TEN OF THE 2016 VARSITY COLLEGE FNB MARINE SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 32.41
2.Matt Bouman 34.04
3.Kenneth Rice 34.43
4.Wade Krieger 34.47
5.Charl Massyn 34.49
6.Grant van der Walt 35.00
7.Steve Woods 35.19
8.Gene Prato 35.26
9.Darren Swales 36.30
10.Jean Luc Mauvis 36.56
1.Hayley Nixon 38.29
1.Thomas Lovemore/Lee McGregor 33.41
1.Jason Ekstrand/Kerry Segal 35.16
2.Lee Furby/Pippa McGregor 37.07
3.Gareth Miles/Raquel Arcediano 38.22
1.Nic Riosa 21.55
2.Dave Rees 22.08
3.Dylan Riddle 23.10
1.Travis Wilkinson/Rachel Wilkinson 20.24
2.Philip Symons/Lauren Norton 20.31
3.Bruce Pender-Smith/Matthew Pender-Smith 21.40
1.Daryl Bartho 26.52
2.Brandon Read 27.45
3.Grantley Read 29.16
VARSITY COLLEGE FNB SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS SURFSKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
Under 18 Boys
1.Mark Keeling 35.00
2.Bailey de Fondaumiere 36.01
3.Zachery Preyser 36.23
4.William Wood 37.32
5.Emanuel Zaloumis 39.04
1.Kyeta Purchase 40.45
2.Teegan Hardwick 49.20
Keli Reynolds 58.34
Under 16 Boys
1.Uli Hast 39.16
2.Hamish Mckenzie 42.43
3.Dante Lahore 45.03
Under 16 Girls
1.Tayla Gilmore 48.09
Durban – The 2016 Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships take place this Friday, 11 March at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club in Durban with talented youngsters from throughout the country eager to stake a claim for this year’s spoils.
Adding to the hype of the final race of the ten leg 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, the national schools champs are set to be a ding-dong battle across both the Under-18 and Under-16 age groups.
Durban’s Bailey de Fondaumiere narrowly edged out Cape Town’s Mark Keeling last year and many expect the pair, now both in their final year of school, to once again go head to head for the title.
Carbonology’s De Fondaumiere has been in fine form throughout this year’s Marine Surfski Series, mixing it up with some of the country’s top senior men and clinching multiple top ten finishes along the way.
Meanwhile, Orka Squad’s Keeling focused much of his recent efforts on his Under-18 boys FNB Dusi title winning effort with his partner Mpilo Zondi (Computershare Change a Life Academy) but has shown great form on the ocean as well, often pushing the likes of Kenny Rice, Brandon van der Walt and Stu Maclaren in the Cape’s weekly ADT SeaDog Paddle Series races.
Keeling’s fellow Western Cape ace Zach Preyser is better known for his flat water sprinting abilities but is another to have strong great for in his surfski of late and represents somewhat of a dark horse contender.
East London’s William Wood finished second in the Under-16 clash in 2015 and, having now graduated into the Under-18 age group, is another out-of-towner eager to take on Durban’s local stars of tomorrow for a place on the podium.
Junior girls flyer Kyeta Purchase (Fenn Kayaks), who claimed the Under-16 girls title in 2014 and Under-18 girls crown last year, goes into this year’s championships as favourite to defend her title and walk away national champion.
The Our Lady of Fatima Convent pupil has been in such strong form throughout this year’s Marine Surfski Series that she is currently locked in a battle for second place overall, despite Durban’s wealth of talented senior women’s competitors, and is likely to push some her male junior counterparts this Friday.
Christie MacKenzie and Sabine Lawrie may well battle it out for the remaining Under-18 girls podium positions while the Under-16 age group is likely to see Oli Hart from Cape town feature strongly together with Durban’s Hamish MacKenzie and Dante Lahore.
The 2016 Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships take place over an eight kilometer course that starts and finishes in front of Marine SLC at Durban’s Addington Beach on Friday, 11 March. Racing gets underway at 17h30 and more information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za
Durban – The Indian Ocean along KwaZulu-Natal’s East Coast was as flat as a mill pond on Friday evening for the Hi-Q Surfski Challenge, race nine of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, with Hayley Nixon’s unrivalled power handing her a maiden race surfski race victory while Hank McGregor’s fourth victory of the series keeps his title hopes alive.
With no wave or swell in sight and hot, humid and windless conditions to contend with, the clash took on a flat water marathon-like facade with Carbonology’s Nixon (nee Arthur) drawing on the strength and power from both her former national rowing days as well as the endless hours of hard work she has put in during her training of late.
Despite some sublime form already having seen her wrap up the women’s 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series title, Fenn Kayaks’ Nicole Russell had no answer to Arthur’s relentless attacks and intensity, ultimately having to settle for second place with Euro Steel/Fenn Kayaks junior star Kyeta Purchase claiming third.
While the series title race may already be over, Arthur and Purchase find themselves locked in a titanic battle for second place with Friday’s result aiding significantly in Arthur’s claim.
Despite there being just one race left in the series, the men’s series spoils are still very much up for grabs with Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ McGregor and Epic Kayaks’ Matthew Bouman once again squaring off for this year’s silverware.
A race win earns paddlers’ 100 points while there are 99 points for second place and 98 for third with competitors’ best six results contributing towards their series points total.
McGregor, having only taken part in five races thus far, goes to 499 points after his most recent win while Bouman, having already achieved the minimum six race scores, has an aggregate of 598 points.
A win for McGregor this coming Friday would see him finish on 599 points while if Bouman were to clinch the final race spoils and McGregor finish second, Bouman would claim the title with a final tally of 599 points with McGregor finishing with one point less.
The doubles racing was no less interesting as Zoog Haynes and Linton Hope clinched yet another race win, edging out Shaun Burgin and Lee Muir while junior boys clash went the way of Luke Criticos who held off Bailey de Fondaumiere.
While Friday 11 March sees the curtain come down on the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series with the mouthwatering action of the Varsity College Surfski Challenge, the day’s programme will also see some of the country’s finest junior talent go head to head during the 2016 South African Schools Surfski Championships.
Both events take place from 17h30 at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – HI-Q SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE NINE OF THE 2016 VARSITY COLLEGE FNB MARINE SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 36.21
2.Matthew Bouman 36.34
3.Grant van der Walt 38.05
4.Steve Woods 38.16
5.Wade Krieger 39.41
1.Hayley Nixon 42.37
2.Nicole Russell 42.53
3.Kyeta Purchase (U18) 43.53
4.Jenna Ward 45.04
5.Donna Tutton 46.47
1.Zoog Haynes/Linton Hope 38.29
2.Shaun Burgin/Lee Muir 38.48
3.Warren Valentine/Marc 40.42
1.Lee Furby/Pippa McGregor 42.18
2.Sharon Armstrong/Carl 44.50
3.Keith Bennett/Lyn Bennett
1.Luke Criticos 40.01
2.Bailey de Fondaumiere 40.02
3.Hamish MacKenzie (U16) 46.49
1.Kyeta Purchase 43.53
2.Christie MacKenzie 51.41
1.Malec Odendaal 23.26
2.Keaton Riddle 24.54
3.Rochard Hogg 25.18
1.Mark Lewin/Keli Reynolds 23.49
2.Philip Symons/Lauren Norton 24.10
3.Graeme Johnston/Alastair 25.07
1.Nick Park-Ross 28.42
2.Daryl Bartho 28.49
3.Grantley Read 29.51
1.Danica Bartho 33.07
2.Bianca Groeneveld 37.16
3.Karisa Grace (U16) 38.34
Durban – As the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series heads into the business end the IT Works Surfski Challenge, Race 8 of the series, provided Matt Bouman the ideal chance to give himself the overall edge in the series as he claimed his fourth win whilst Nicole Russell asserted her dominance on the ladies standings on Friday.
The race began with a backline start due to the bumpy conditions before the south westerly wind came through which made the race slightly more interesting however it was Bouman who relished the conditions as he paddled away from race 3 winner Wade Krieger.
With the win Bouman moves ahead of Hank McGregor in the standings with one more win than the defending series champion with just two races left in the series.
With six of your best results counting, the absence of McGregor on Friday has given Bouman the edge as McGregor will need to produce positive results in the final two races if he wishes to qualify for the final standings.
The epic rivalry between the two is expected to come to a head in the final two weeks of the ten-week series. With eight races under the belt having the series come down to the final two races gives the popular surfski contest the finale it deserves.
The ladies race was another one-sided affair as Fenn Kayaks’ Nicole Russell stormed home ahead of a strong field. It was another impressive win for Russell which gives her an unassailable lead going into the final two races as she registered her sixth win of the series.
Russell, who was under pressure through the early races of the series, has come through strongly towards the end and her sixth win of the series meaning that those six results count towards her overall series result.
Hayley Nixon (Nee Arthur) was the strongest of the rest of the field as she finished second with impressive junior Kyeta Purchase staving off the challenge of friend Jenna Ward to take the finah podium spot.
The doubles race was won by Luke and Adam Nisbet who were the first boat across the line. In the junior showdown Bailey de Fondaumiere continued his good form with another win in the junior category as the rivalry with Luke Criticos continues with the latter finishing in a close second.
The popular short course was dominated by Malec Odendaal who finished just under two minutes ahead of the second single ski of Daryn Brown whilst the mixed pair of Travis Wilkinson and Rachel Wilkinson finished as the first double.
The HiQ Surfski Challenge, race nine of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 4 March at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – IT WORKS SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE EIGHT OF THE 2016 VARSITY COLLEGE FNB MARINE SURFSKI SERIES
1.Matthew Bouman 34.24
2.Wade Krieger 36.38
3.Steve Woods 36.39
4.Jason Ekstrand 37.31
5.Gene Prato 37.45
6.Bailey De Fondaumiere (U18) 38.34
7.Luke Criticos (U18) 39.24
8.Paul Rabinonitz 39.55
9.Greg Worthington 40.55
10.Shadrack Mkhize 41.16
1.Nicole Russell 41.24
2.Hayley Nixon 42.28
3.Kyeta Pruchase (U18) 43.16
4.Jenna Ward 43.38
5.Donna Tutton 44.07
1.Bailey De Fondaumiere 38.34
2.Luke Criticos 39.24
3.Dante Lahore (U16) 47.12
1.Kyeta Purchase 40.48
1.Adam Nisbet/Luke Nisbet 34.17
2.Grant van der Walt/Lee Furby 35.01
3.Zoog Haynes/Linton Hope 35.58
1.Jody Taylor/Kerry Segal 41.32
2.Yohan Keulder/Louisa van Staden 49.59
1.Malex Odendaal 20.41
2.Daryn Brown 22.32
3.Keaton Riddle (U18) 23.32
1.Travis Wilkinson/Rachel Wilkinson 21.45
2.Bruce Pender-Smith/Matthew Pender-Smith 22.58
3.Philip Symons/Lauren Norton 23.00
1.Brandon Read 30.52
2.Shayne Chipps 31.35
3.Grantley Read 32.25
1.Jackie de Billot 34.29
2.Lande Williamson 42.43