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Bouman in control with Marine win number four

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

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


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

Junior Boys
1.Bailey De Fondaumiere 38.34
2.Luke Criticos 39.24
3.Dante Lahore (U16) 47.12

Junior Girls
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

Mixed Doubles
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

Russell thrives in stunning Durban conditions

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

Durban – Against a picture-perfect Durban summer’s evening backdrop, Nicole Russell outshone a richly talented women’s field to claim the spoils in Friday evening’s Bay Union Surfski Challenge, her fourth race win of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series.


Russell continued her sublime run of form as she edged out fellow elite women’s racers and Fenn Kayaks team mates Kyeta Purchase (Euro Steel) and Jenna Ward – who enjoyed a titanic tussle of their own that produced yet another sprint for the line – while Carbonology/Pink Lady’s Hayley Nixon finished fourth.

“The paddling talent amongst Durban’s ladies at the moment is just unbelievable and it makes for such exciting racing week in and week out!” exclaimed Russell.

“Every time you line up for a race, you know you have to give it you all and you just cannot afford to make any mistakes because the other girls will punish you for it straight away.

“It’s also great because a lot of us are training together and so it’s great to see everyone’s hard work paying off,” she added.

With a decent surf zone to overcome before being rewarded with sublime runs in Durban’s bay, Russell started cautiously, her mistakes in the surf in recent races lingering on her mind.

“There was a bit of surf to deal with at the start and finish, which I was a bit worried about having had a couple of swims recently,” chuckled Russell. “Fortunately I managed to get out cleanly though!”

“Most of us girls were all together for the first stretch before I managed to get away a bit after we went around the second can and that’s when I just put my head down and went for it!

“There were some awesome runs out there, which also gave us a little bit of a chance to rest briefly as well, which was great!

“I looked to just work the runs as best I could and it was great to be able to come home first.”

The ding-dong nature of each leg thus far of the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series appears to have brought the best out of Russell, who is currently preparing for a big challenge during this year’s World Surfski Series.

“I’m really happy with my form at the moment; I’ve been training really hard and it’s great to see that paying off so nicely.

“You can’t take winning for granted though because all the other girls are just so strong!

“I’m very happy with how things are going though, especially ahead of the World Surfski Series,” explained Russell.

In the men’s race, Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ Hank McGregor bagged his second win on the bounce as he surged home ahead of Wade Krieger (Herbalife) and a resurgent Grant van der Walt.

The doubles clash saw Zoog Haynes and Linton Hope clinch the spoils once more, charging home ahead of Jason Tucker and Brett Bartho, who in turn narrowly edged out winning mixed double crew Jason Ekstrand and Kerry Segal.

Luke Criticos claimed a rare win over Bailey de Fondaumiere in the junior boys’ category while Purchase’s effort at the sharp end of the women’s race saw her clinch the junior girls’ win as well.

The 4km short course race went the way of Keaton Riddle with Malcolm Pitt and Max Maunier winning the doubles race.

Next week’s FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon from Thursday, 18 to Saturday, 20 February sees a change from the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series’ regular Friday evening slot with the Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge instead taking place at 17h30 on Tuesday, 16 February at Marine SLC, Addington Beach.

More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za


1.Hank McGregor 34.15
2.Wade Krieger 35.03
3.Grant van der Walt

1.Nicole Russell 40.23
2.Kyeta Purchase 41.06
3.Jenna Ward 41.10

Junior Boys
1.Luke Criticos 38.04
2.Bailey de Fondaumiere 38.06

Junior Girls
1.Kyeta Purchase 41.06

1.Zoog Haynes/Linton Hope 35.48
2.Jason Tucker/Brett Bartho 36.26
3.Jason Ekstrand/Kerry Segal (Mixed) 36.27

Mixed Doubles
1.Jason Ekstrand/Kerry Segal 36.27
2.lee Furby/Pippa McGregor 38.50
3.Yohan Keulder/Louisa van Staden 44.26

Women’s Doubles
1.Sharon Armstrong/Lynne Haupfleisch 49.05

1.Keaton Riddle 24.53
2.Dave Rees 25.26
3.Debbie Gillett (1st Woman) 25.29

1.Malcolm Pitt/Max Maunier 22.54
2.Bruce Pender-Smith/Matthew Pender-Smith 23.24
3.Byron Volek/Bridgette Parker 26.37

McGregor opens his Marine Series account

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events


Durban – The Friday night racing at the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series has got gradually hotter over the weeks and race five, the FNB Surfski Challenge, was no exception with defending men’s champion Hank McGregor getting one over current series leader Matt Bouman whilst Nicole Russell overcame a disastrous start to claim the women’s winners crown.

Over the years the name Hank McGregor has become synonymous with the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series but he has not had it is way in 2016 as he has had to wait until the fifth race of the series to get his first win.

“I missed the first three races and then wasn’t feeling well last week so to get a win finally is great,” said the Euro Steel/Epic Kayak star. “This is always a busy period for me with Dusi coming up so to get back in the ocean is fantastic and Friday’s conditions were great.”

McGregor, who has had an epic dice with Epic Kayak’s Matt Bouman in the past, had him to contend with again on Friday evening which made the racing even that more enthralling. Despite the fact that McGregor got away he always knew that Bouman was going to provide a major threat.

“It was a big race against Matt, as it always is. We were together on the first lap and then I put in a surge which gave me a bit of a gap going into the downwind.

“This put some time between him and me and I just kept up the pace and am just happy with my first win of the series,” added McGregor.

2016 has been a busy one for McGregor with the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon his next focus as training for that takes up the majority of his time however he knows that whenever he gets back into the ocean it is always going to be a difficult task to come up triumphs.

“The Marine Series is definitely one of my favourite series’ because the competition is always so intense and when you have a guy like Matt on top of his game it means that every Friday you are coming up against some formidable paddlers.

“The series provides people with the perfect start to the weekend and with conditions like they were on Friday it is no surprise that it is so popular and keeps on getting people back.

“The light westerly meant that there was a bit of assistance on the downwind but with the little bump at Marine it is a great way to spend your Friday,” McGregor beamed.

With five races left in the series and the best six results counting towards your overall position McGregor knows that he has a lot of work to do to catch the in-form Bouman.

“Matt got himself a bit of a head start in the first three races but I am hoping that the next five races are as good as this one was for me and I can contest for the series title again.

“I know that this is a big ask and it is going to be tough because I am going to have to be on top of my game in every race but it is exciting and I am hoping for some good results going forward,” a positive McGregor stated.

The ladies race was another humdinger with the ever-present Nicole Russell managing to shake of a woeful start where she swam twice to pip the young Jenna Ward in a beach sprint to claim her third win of the series.

Two disastrous swims heading out meant that she had all of the catching up to do however she managed to claw her way through the field and eventually won it on the beach in another dramatic beach sprint.

This takes the Fenn Kayak’s star one win clear of Kyeta Purchase after five legs of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series.

The doubles race was another close affair with the mixed crew of Luke Nisbet and Kerry Segal taking the overall win in the long course over Shaun Burgin and Lee Muir.

The short course was once again dominated by the impressive youngster Brendon Sharp with Keaton Riddle finishing in second place.

The Bay Union Surfski Challenge, race six of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 12 February at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za


1.Hank Mcgregor 34.25
2.Matthew Bouman 36.11
3.Grant van der Walt 36.12
4.Wade Krieger 36.14
5.Bailey de Fondaumiere 37.55

1.Nicole Russell 41.31
2.Jenna Ward 41.34
3.Kyeta Purchase 42.24

Junior Boys
1.Bailey de Fondaumiere 37.55
2.Luke Criticos 39.18
3.Kyeta Purchase 42.24

Juniors Girls
1.Kyeta Purchase 42.24
2.Sabina Lawrie 51.35

1.Shaun Burgin/Lee Muir 35.59
2.Tristan Wilson/Shaun Dias 36.54
3.Dave Chaplin/Greg Chaplin 37.09

Mixed Doubles
1.Luke Nisbet/Kerry Segal 35.55
2.Lee Furby/Pippa McGregor 39.02
3.Barry Lewin/Carly Davidson 39.49

Women’s Doubles
1.Lynne Hauptfleisch/Sharon Armstrong 46.31
2.Stacy Bowley/Angela Ferreira 54.15

1.Brendon Sharp 23.00
2.Keeton Riddle 23.16
3.Dave Rees 24.24

1.Rob Drummond/Dave Gwynn 22.14

1.Nick Pack-Ross 30.14
2.Brandon Read 30.38
3.Grantley Read 33.02

1.Jackie de Billot 33.52
2.Danica Bartho 35.27
3.Lande Williamson 35.59

In-form Bouman conquers mighty McGregor

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events


Durban – The renowned, age old rivalry between two of the world’s top surfski competitors, Matt Bouman and Hank McGregor, resumed again for the first time this Varsity College FNB Surfski Series at Friday evening’s Thule Surfski Challenge with Bouman getting a rare victory over the six time Marathon World Champion.

The pair have gone head to head with one another in a fascinating, sometimes ferocious, yet ultimately hugely respectful manner for more than a decade which, despite neck-and-neck encounters on a near weekly basis, has seen McGregor gain the supremacy on the scoreboard in recent years.

That, however, wasn’t going to deter Bouman from staking a claim for the Thule Surfski Challenge spoils and, after yet another hotly contested affair, it was the Epic Kayaks star who managed to pull one back on McGregor.

“These are the only races I really like winning; when everyone’s there racing,” explained Bouman.

“Hank (McGregor) coming along and racing makes it all worth it (for me)!” he added.

Despite the ability of all of his fellow elite stars, Bouman’s downing of McGregor remains his primary goal weekly.

“We’re all going really fast, the times we’re all doing and the speeds we’re going at is just ridiculous!

“Hank has had the psychological edge over me though; physically we’re the same but in recent times he’s managed to manage me better – which has been both incredibly frustrating and extremely intriguing – but it was great to get one over him this time.

“I tried something different and it was great to see it work!” described an elated Bouman.

While McGregor may not have be at full fitness after being struck down by illness midway through the recent N3TC Drak Challenge, the Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks ace was full of praise for Bouman.

“I’m still struggling a bit after being sick last weekend but hats off to Matthew, he’s going really nicely at the moment!” said McGregor.

“It was great to be back at the Marine Surfski Series again after missing the first three races and it was awesome to see such a huge turnout; it was probably one of the biggest fields I’ve seen at a surfski race recently!”

While a tricky wave close to shore tested paddlers surf skills, a relatively flat ocean which offered little assistance made for a tough day’s work for much of the 8km long course clash.

Bouman and McGregor were closely followed across the line by Wade Krieger and Luke Nisbet while junior talent Bailey de Fondaumiere rounded out the top five.

The women’s race was yet another hotly contested affair as the wealth of women’s paddling talent again went head to head for the week’s honours.

With young Kyeta Purchase – winner of the first and third legs of the ten race series – in Johannesburg for a swimming gala, it was race two winner Nicole Russell (Fenn Kayaks) who edged out the rest of the women’s field to clinch her second win of the series.

The ever-popular doubles category saw Shaun Burgin and Richard Lowe head home ahead of Cape Town pair Kenny Rice (Think Kayaks) and Tyron Maher while Daryl Bartho and Jackie de Billot again won the stand-up paddle board (SUP) clashes.

The 4km short course singles challenge saw Brendon Sharp claim line honours in the singles category while father/son combo, Bruce and Matthew Pender-Smith were the first double across the line.

The FNB Surfski Challenge, race five of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 5 February at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za


1.Matt Bouman
2.Hank McGregor
3.Wade Krieger
4.Luke Nisbet
5.Bailey de Fondaumiere

1.Nicole Russell
2.Hayley Nixon
3.Jenna Ward

Junior Boys
1.Bailey de Fondaumiere
2.Brett Evans
3.Luke Criticos

Juniors Girls
1.Sabina Lawrie

1.Shaun Burgin/Richard Lowe
2.Kenny Rice/Tyron Maher
3.Zoog Haynes/Linton Hope

Mixed Doubles
1.Jason Ekstrand/Kerry Segal
2.Lee Furby/Pippa McGregor
3.Anke Malan/Shaun Dias

Women’s Doubles
1.Lynne Hauptfleisch/Sharon Armstrong
2.Kelly Biljoen/Wilma Deysel

1.Brendon Sharp
2.Keeton Riddle
3.Dave Rees

1.Bruce Pender-Smith/Matthew Pender-Smith

1.Daryl Bartho
2.Grantlee Read
3.Brandon Read

1.Jackie de Billot
2.Lande Williamson
3.Charlotte Atholton