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PRESS RELEASE- Barry Lewin to defend his title in the 2016 Winkle-Toti-Winkle Sea and Sand Marathon

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in Racing

By Olivia Jones Communications

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Renowned South African paddler, Barry Lewin, will be returning to Winklespruit Beach on Friday, 16 December to compete in the 2016 Winkle-Toti-Winkle Sea and Sand Marathon.

Last year Lewin, of Varsity College/Jeep Team SA, took the top position in the singles surfski race in a time of 54:17.47 and is looking to beat that time this year.

“I really love this trademark race which is just every paddlers’ dream,” said Lewin. “This section of the South Coast between Winklespruit and Toti Beach has great surf and the hospitality is always amazing.”

Lewin said that, because organisers adapt the race depending on conditions, it always makes for great paddling.

“They change the course according to wind conditions and last year went from Winklespruit to Widenham Beach, downwind, which was ideal. I’m really looking forward to this year’s contest.”

Now in its 44th year, the much-anticipated fundraising event is organised by the Winklespruit Surf Lifesaving Club and sanctioned by both the South African Canoe Union and South African Road Runners’ Association. There are three events including the 12.6km surfski race and the 12.6km beach run, which both start and end at Winklespruit Beach after a journey to Toti Beach. There is also a 4.8km short course beach run and walk goes until Warnadoone Rocks before returning to Winklespruit Beach.

“This is the club’s biggest annual fundraiser,” explained Gary Barber, chairman of the Winklespruit Surf Lifesaving Club. “It’s a very popular event with both locals as well as paddlers and runners from around the province which is great for raising the image of lifesaving. All the funds raised go towards costs related to getting the members to champs which will be in Port Elizabeth for the Nippers and Cape Town for the juniors and seniors.”

Barber said the event also gives the community a chance to go ‘behind the walls’ of the Winkle Lifesaving Clubhouse, often attracting new members.

Categories for the 12.6km run include juniors (18 years and under), seniors (under 40 years) and veterans (40 and over) for in both male and female divisions. For the short course, there will also be a Nippers’ category. Surfski competitors will be able to compete in junior, senior and veteran categories in either the single or doubles’ division.

The beach run and walk is open to everyone while entry to the surfski event is limited to lifesaving members as well as those of the South African Canoe Union because of the risks involved.

“Over the years the format has changed from a ‘beach festival’ to a more streamlined ‘sea and sand marathon’ focusing on the two primary activities; surfski and running,” explained Monique Botha, chairman of Sapphire Coast Tourism. “As the event is held in the middle of the high tourism season it is a perfect opportunity to market our spectacular beaches to the visiting public.”

Ensuring public safety throughout, there will be qualified lifesavers every 2kms for the beach run and walk as well as a support vehicle and paramedics on hand. Two rescue boats will be dispatched for the surfski race with professional lifeguards at Toti Main Beach on standby to assist if necessary. There is also a third rescue boat available depending on weather conditions.

All entries will be taken on the day at Winkelspruit Surf Lifesaving Club from 7.30am at a cost of R100 for the long course and R60 for the short course, with every entrant receiving a free hamburger on the day. Participants are encouraged to be at Winklespruit Beach in time for the 9am start with prizegiving taking place at the clubhouse after final event completion at about 11.45am.

2015 Varsity College FNB Surfski Series kick starts Durban paddling year

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

Durban – The popular Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series makes a welcome return on Friday evening for KwaZulu-Natal’s elite and social ocean paddlers alike after the recent festive season downtime.

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With the New Year comes a fresh start for many and the Marine Surf Lifesaving Club based chain of races on Durban Bay is no different as banking giant First National Bank joins forces with the incumbent title sponsor Varsity College for the 2015 edition.

“We are really excited for this year’s Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series,” says series coordinator Barry Lewin.

“It is great to have Varsity College back with us again for the sixth year running as well as to welcome FNB to the Marine Surfski Series fold for the first time,” he adds.

On the water more of the same can be expected in the men’s title race as Hank McGregor (Team Jeep/Epic Kayaks) and Matthew Bouman (Epic Kayaks) look set to resume their age-old rivalry with Varsity College youngster Grant van der Walt likely to be hot on their heels throughout the ten-week long competition.

It is however the women’s clash that has much of the local surfski fraternity abuzz as the unrivalled depth in world class ability promises a mouth-watering title challenge.

Regular victor and series defending champ Michelle Burn (Team Jeep/Fenn Kayaks) is set to make a welcome return to action this Friday evening after a lengthy lay-off from the sport due to the birth of her and husband, and fellow top paddler, Oliver Burn’s first child last year.

Despite Burn’s sublime pedigree and unmatched success in the Marine Surfski Series, it is in fact Fenn Kayaks’ paddler and 2014 Marathon World Championships Under-23 Women’s bronze medallist Jenna Ward who is set to start this year’s series as favourite.

The young star finished third in last year’s series behind Burn and Varsity College/Fenn Kayaks’ Nikki Russell before going on to clinch victory in the Bay Union Surfski Series and the Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall & Back Surfski Series in the winter and spring of 2014 respectively, which catapulted Ward into the limelight.

2014 was however a year of great success for Russell as well and so Ward will certainly have her work cut out for her.

“It would be really great to win the Marine Surfski Series this year but the likes of Michelle (Burn), Nikki (Russell), Danica (Bartho) and others make just winning a Friday evening race tough enough, let alone the overall series title!” says Ward.

“I’ve been training pretty hard though for all of marathon, river marathons, sprints and surfski so hopefully I can just go out there and try be as consistent as possible throughout the series,” she adds.

While the battles at the front of the field remain fierce, the races within a race a little further back in the vets, masters and junior categories also promise to produce many a post-race war story.

The Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge, race seven of the ten leg series, is the only exception to the series’ Friday evening stagings. Tuesday 17 February’s surfski action provides the ideal pre-Dusi Canoe Marathon final touch up opportunity ahead of that weekend’s river marathon major.

For the second year running, the race adds a charitable element to the series as the paddlers show their support of Danica Bartho’s Lettie Paddle initiative.

The 2015 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series gets underway with the FNB Surfski Challenge this Friday, 9 January at 17h30 at Addington Beach while pre-series registration takes place on Thursday 8 January at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club from 16h00-19h00. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za

ENDS

2015 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series dates:

8 Jan: Registration at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club
9 Jan: FNB Surfski Challenge
16 Jan: McCarthy Toyota Durban Kingsmead Surfski Challenge
23 Jan: Borland Surfski Challenge presented by Marriott
30 Jan: Thule Surfski Challenge
6 Feb: Bay Union Surfski Challenge
13 Feb: Hansa Surfski Challenge
17 Feb: Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge
27 Feb: IT Works Surfski Challenge
6 Mar: HiQ Surfski Challenge
13 Mar: Varsity College Surfski Challenge & Varsity College SA Schools Surfski Champs
17 Mar: Varsity College FNB Surfski Series Final Prize Giving @ Billy The Bums

Maiden Wall & Back series titles for Mauvis & Ward

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

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Durban – Five time Marathon World Champ Hank McGregor returned from his second place finish at last weekend’s Steelcase Dragon Run in Hong Kong to comfortably win the sixth and final leg of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series while Jean Luc Mauvis and Jenna Ward wrapped up the men’s and women’s series titles respectively.

In just his second appearance of the series due to his busy international racing schedule, McGregor (Team Jeep/Epic Kayaks) soared to a massive two and a half minute victory however it was the scrap just behind him that was of real interest as the pre-race series title contenders went head to head.

Prior to the final clash of the 2014 edition of the series getting underway, Mauvis, Gene Prato, Barry Lewin and Wade Krieger all sought a solid final race effort to see the scales tip in their favour for the overall spoils.

Despite a determined effort from the former lifesaving ironman Krieger, in the end Mauvis’ two victories in race four and five and hard-fought third place on Friday evening saw the Fenn Kayaks paddler narrowly edge of series consistent performer Prato and clinch the top step of the podium.

“It’s my first ever series win so I’m really stoked and its particularly pleasing because I started at Pirates Lifesaving Club as a nipper and the series is one of the oldest in the world,” said a pleased Mauvis.

“We always knew Hank (McGregor) was probably going to get the win so it was more about the rest of us racing amongst ourselves.

“Wade (Krieger) and I have enjoyed a great battle all series and he and I went hammer and tongs at each other which probably ended up playing an important role in my series win because it meant we got away from Gene (Prato) and I only realized afterwards just how close it was between Gene and I for the title,” he added.

With other early-series front runner Kyle Friendenstein in Australia for the Perth Doctor surfski race, Lewin managed to charge home in fourth place on the night to secure the same position overall ahead of the ever-present Oliver Burn who wrapped up fifth place on the series’ log.

The women’s clash was a fascinating affair throughout the six-leg competition as Varsity College/Fenn Kayaks’ Nikki Russell clinched victory in the first three races ahead of Fenn Kayaks’ Jenna Ward before Ward then claimed two race victories of her own, including the win in Friday evening’s sixth and final leg, to claim the overall series spoils.

Ward’s success comes off the back of her maiden surfski series win in the Bay Union Surfski Series in Durban this winter as well as a remarkable bronze medal in the under-23 women’s clash of the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Oklahoma City in September.

The young star’s victory was then made even sweeter when her name was drawn as the recipient of the lucky draw prize of a brand new surfski compliments of Fenn Kayaks and Illovo Sugar.

The doubles division has been a hotly contested one throughout the six weeks of racing from Suncoast Pirates Lifesaving Club to the harbour wall and back and in the end Wayne Wilson and Clinton Cook’s race six win had little impact on the overall standings as Greg Worthington and Malcolm Pitt clinched victory from Wayne Ashford and Bryan Taylor.

St Benedicts matriculant Jordan Clauson claimed the Varsity College SA Schools Surfski title in March and a clean sweep in the junior boys category of the Wall and Back Surfski Series saw him add this series title to his list of achievements for the year.

The Durban surfski scene now enjoys a break from competitive racing for the festive season however the FNB Surfski Challenge on 9 January 2015 gets the ten-leg Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series underway early in the new year.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ILLOVO SUNCOAST WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
RACE SIX

Men
1.Hank McGregor 32.35
2.Wade Krieger 35.17
3.Jean Luc Mauvis 35.19
4.Gene Prato 36.09
5.Barry Lewin36.34

Women
1.Jenna Ward 45.58

Junior Boys
1.Jordan Clauson 38.13
2.Luke Criticos 38.55
3.Brett Evans 39.25

Doubles
1.Wayne Wilson/Clinton Cook 34.05
2.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 34.13
3.Greg Worthington/Malcolm Pitt 34.42

Mixed Doubles
1.Rowan Matthews/Stacey Bowley 38.26
2.Russell Sadler/Savannah van Rooyen 39.15
3.Terry Henebrey/Louisa van Staden 44.20

FINAL SERIES LOG

Men
1.Jean Luc Mauvis
2.Gene Prato
3.Wade Krieger
4.Barry Lewin
5.Oliver Burn
Women
1.Jenna Ward
2.Nikki Russell

Junior Boys
1.Jordan Clauson
2.Brett Evans
3.Bailey de Fondaumiere

Doubles
1.Greg Worthington/Malcom Pitt
2.Wayne Ashford/Bryan Taylor
3.Russell Sadler/Carmel Billson

Mixed Doubles
1.Russell Sadler/Carmel Billson
2.Rowan Matthews/Stacey Bowley
3.Terry Henebrey/Louisa van Staden

Banking giant backs SA’s biggest surfski series for 2015

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

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Durban – The east coast of South Africa has a reputation globally of being a surfski paddler’s paradise and the country’s biggest surfski series, the Marine Surfski Series is set to reach new heights in 2015 after banking giant First National Bank (FNB) recently confirmed their generous support of the next year’s edition of the popular ten-leg summer series.

Through the generous support of tertiary educators Varsity College over the past five years, the series has become a shining beacon for the sport both nationally and internationally.

Varsity College and FNB’s new co-title sponsorship of the series is however set to continue building on the platform laid down already.

“Durban has a huge number of some of the top paddlers in the world and the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series is fortunate enough to see many of these guys and girls in action on a Friday evening throughout the first quarter of the year,” says series coordinator Barry Lewin.

“The series is however about far more than just the incredible tussles that go on week in and week out at the front of the field.

“It offers ten quality events for paddlers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the unbelievable paddling conditions Durban has to offer and it really is quite something that we can have World Champions and surfski beginners all on the same start line!” he adds.

For Varsity College, their involvement in the Marine Surfski Series is one that they cherish and which goes hand in hand with the healthy lifestyle they seek to promote through their Sport Life programme.

“Paddlers can only expect bigger and better things from the 2015 Marine Surfski Series,” says Carole Adam, Varsity College National Sport and Social Manager.

“The new partnership with FNB has been a seamless one for us and I hope this translates into the series for both paddles and spectators.

“I think the beauty of the series is the shorter race distances, great weather and location enables paddlers from all skill levels to participate,” she adds.

FNB joined the world of surfski for the first time in June 2014 when they backed the inaugural edition of the Durban Downwind event which hosted the SA Surfski Championships.

Their positive first taste of the sport has prompted a further investment in ocean paddling, one that has both the series organisers and participants as well as the sponsors themselves excited.

Preggie Pillay, FNB KZN Provincial Head says “In line with our vision ‘to be a great business, helping to create a better world’, we believe in developing the sporting talent in South Africa. This sponsorship reaffirms our commitment to sport in the region and provides individuals with the platform to take surfski to another level.”

Participants of the 2015 series can look forward to even greater value for money due to the generosity of both Varsity College and FNB which will see the first 300 entrants receive a little something extra with a significantly bolstered prize pot.

“The first 300 paddlers to enter the series can look forward to a great something extra thanks to our sponsors!

“The series’ prize money has also been doubled from 2014 to a massive R100 000 which we’re certain will create even greater clashes at the front of the field.

“The easy launch from Marine and the option of either the 4km short or 8km long course races weekly gives newbies the ideal opportunity to take on the sport and once again guarantees the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series to be the best way to start your weekend!” confirms Lewin.

The series’ tenth and final race will once again double as the Varsity College South African Schools Surfski Championships.

The ten-leg 2015 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series gets underway at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club at Addington Beach on Friday 9 January. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za

ENDS

2015 dates:

8 Jan: Registration at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club
9 Jan: FNB Surfski Challenge
16 Jan: Borland Surfski Challenge presented by Marriott
23 Jan: McCarthy Toyota Durban Kingsmead Surfski Challenge
30 Jan: Thule Surfski Challenge
6 Feb: Bay Union Surfski Challenge
13 Feb: Hansa Surfski Challenge
17 Feb: Lettie Paddle Surfski Challenge
27 Feb: IT Works Surfski Challenge
6 Mar: HiQ Surfski Challenge
13 Mar: Varsity College Surfski Challenge & Varsity College SA Schools Surfski Champs
17 Mar: Varsity College FNB Surfski Series Final Prize Giving @ Billy The Bums

Wall & Back on a knife’s edge with one race to go

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

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Durban – After race five of the six-leg Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series the men’s title race is wide open after Jean Luc Mauvis became the first paddler to clinch a second race victory having stood on the top step of the podium last Friday evening as well.

With regular front runners Hank McGregor (Team Jeep/Epic Kayaks), Matt Bouman (Epic Kayaks) and Grant van der Walt (Varsity College/Epic Kayaks) all on international duty ahead of this week’s Steelcase Dragon Run in Hong Kong, Mauvis took full advantage and soared to his second consecutive victory of the Durban-based series.

“It was a bit tougher field this week compared to last but Matt (Bouman), Hank (McGregor) and one or two others were obviously still away so I wanted to try make hay whilst the sun was out,” explained the Umhloti based entrepreneur.

“I knew I needed to try bag this one before the big boys get back next week in order to try get myself in the mix as far as the overall series standings go.

“I was however a little worried coming into this week’s race though as I’ve been in Cape Town all week and so haven’t been able to get much training in at all so all things considered I’m really stoked to have got the win again,” added the Fenn Kayaks paddler.

Mauvis narrowly edged out one of the most consistent performers of this year’s Wall and Back Surfski Series, Gene Prato while Team Jeep/Varsity College’s Barry Lewin rounded out the men’s podium.

63 year-old Lee McGregor, father of South African paddling icon Hank McGregor, continued his remarkable paddling feats as he clinched fourth place despite being more than double the age of the majority of his nearest rivals while new father Oliver Burn finished fifth.

“Conditions were pretty flat out there although there was a decent little bump on the way down to the harbour wall.

“Barry (Lewin), Gene (Prato) and I managed to get away from the start and then Gene made a bit of a move on the way down to the wall and that’s when he and I dropped Barry.

“I then just put my head down and looked to work as hard as I could on the way back and fortunately managed to just get ahead of Gene,” said Mauvis.

With paddlers’ top four results counting towards the overall series’ log positions, there is everything still to paddle for in Friday 28 November’s sixth and final leg.

“I’ve already booked my ticket down to Cape Town for the end of year races down there where I’ll be racing the singles and then the doubles with Adam Nisbet so I’m really looking forward to next week’s final Wall and Back race before the focus then shifts to Cape Town,” explained 28 year-old Mauvis.

The women’s race saw a third new face at the front of the field as weeks’ one, two and three’s second place finisher Jenna Ward (Fenn Kayaks) went one better in week five, claiming the women’s race honours while the competitive junior boys’ category was again won by Jordan Clauson.

The result is Clauson’s fifth consecutive victory in his age group and hence the junior boys’ series title is his already however the young St Benedicts matric pupil who clinched the Varsity College South African Schools title in March will undoubtedly be aiming for a clean sweep of victories next week.

Jason Ekstrand and Richard Lowe teamed up successfully as they clinched the doubles category race victory while Russell Sadler and Carmel Billson were the first mixed doubles crew home.

Friday 28 November will see the staging of the sixth and final leg of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series. The race takes place at Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club and gets underway at 17h30. More information can be found at www.wallandback.co.za

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ILLOVO SUNCOAST WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
RACE FIVE

Men
1.Jean-Luc Mauvis 34.34.50
2.Gene Prato 34.58
3.Barry Lewin 35.29
4.Lee McGregor35.32
5.Oliver Burn 36.28

Women
1.Jenna Ward 40.49
2.Hayley Arthur 41.45

Junior Boys
1.Jordan Clauson 36.53
2.Bailey de Fondaumiere 37.20
3.Brett Evans 38.08

Doubles
1.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 33.58
2.Wayne Ashford/Bryan Taylor 35.39
3.Tristan Wilson/Lance Howarth 36.13

Mixed Doubles
1.Russell Sadler/Carmel Billson 38.12
2.Steve Blankenberg/Anna Blankenberg 51.32

Winner number four for 2014 Wall & Back Surfski Series

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

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Durban – Race Four of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series saw the fourth new face on the top step of men’s podium as Jean-Luc Mauvis took full advantage of a weakened field while Durban’s wealth of talented veterans and masters talent enjoyed yet another tight tussle in the doubles category.

With many of the region’s top men and women were absent from the Wall and Back start line due to their participation in the Dischem Automall Pete Marlin surfski race, race ten of twelve of the 2014 World Surfski Series, in East London this weekend, the door was opened for Mauvis to clinch a rare victory in Durban’s competitive surfski scene.

Mauvis follows in the footsteps of the first three races’ winners – Australian Brendon Rice, Epic Kayaks’ Matt Bouman and Team Jeep/Epic Kayaks’ Hank McGregor – and with two races to go and many of the top paddlers’ set to be absent again in the near future due to the Dragon Run in Hong Kong in a couple of weeks’ time, has thrown the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons in the race for the series’ spoils.

Lifesaving Ironman Wade Krieger finished second while Brett Bartho claimed third.

Varsity College/Fenn Kayaks’ Nikki Russell has been in dominant form in the series thus far however her absence saw Danica Bartho climb to the top step of race four’s women’s podium while Jordan Clauson clinched yet another win in the junior boys’ category.

The doubles contest was another fascinating affair as numerous strong, experienced crews squared off for the week’s bragging rights which ultimately went the way of Greg Worthington and Malcolm Pitt as they edged out the father/son combo of Wayne and Tristan Wilson while Wayne Ashford and Bryan Taylor finished third.

The field was treated to light Easterly winds and moderate swell off Pirates, with the weather helping to create runs on both legs of the paddle to the harbour wall and back.

The penultimate race of the six leg series takes place at 17h30 at Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club at Battery Beach on Friday 21 November. More information can be found atwww.wallandback.co.za

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ILLOVO SUNCOAST WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
RACE FOUR

Men
1.Jean-Luc Mauvis 38.18
2.Wade Krieger 39.29
3.Brett Bartho 40.51
4.Gene Prato 41.20
5.Oliver Burn 42.14

Women
1.Danica Bartho 48.27

Junior Boys
1.Jordan Clauson 42.57
2.Brett Evans 46.00

Doubles
1.Greg Worthington/Malcolm Pitt 37.35
2.Wayne Wilson/Tristan Wilson 40.22
3.Wayne Ashford/Bryan Taylor 40.25

Mixed Doubles
1.Rowan Matthew/Stacey Bowley 45.05
2.Russell Sadler/Carmel Billson 48.40

Wall and Back triple play for Russell

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

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Durban – Current national S1 champ Nikki Russell clinched her third consecutive victory in the women’s category of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series on Friday evening, putting her in prime position to clinch this year’s series title while five time Marathon World Champ Hank McGregor claimed the overall race spoils in his maiden appear at this year’s series.

Russell has enjoyed a great run of form of late and has been relentless in her drive for this year’s women’s Wall and Back series honours despite emphasizing that her primary focus is just to have fun out on the ocean.

“I’m just loving my paddling at the moment!” said Russell. “I’m super stoked to have won these three races in a row but just enjoying being out there is so awesome.”

“I had a great start and managed to string together a couple of runs which meant I was able to break away quite early.

“Once I went around the can at the [harbour] wall then I just put my head down and ground my way to the finish as best I could,” she added.

Russell was somewhat of a surprise entry for the race after announcing last week that she would not be on the start line due to her participation in the four day Da’Real Richards Bay to Durban race which finished at Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club on Saturday.

“The day before the Richards Bay to Durban race started I wasn’t feeling too great and so my coach, Lee McGregor and I just decided that it wouldn’t be all that clever to put my body under that sort of strain, especially with me trying to build towards the Pete Marlin in East London next weekend.

Russell eventually cruised to a comfortable victory over second place Jenna Ward, in stark contrast to the battle that had unfolded at the front of the men’s race a little earlier.

Team Jeep/Epic Kayaks’ McGregor had enjoyed a hard-fought three-way tussle with Varsity College/Epic Kayaks’ grant van der Walt and Epic Kayaks’ Matt Bouman throughout the eight kilometer clash.

With just under the final kilometer to go McGregor made his definitive surge, opening up enough of a gap that saw him round the final buoy first and head to the finish line a wave ahead of the chasing duo.

“For the past little while I’ve been working towards Marathon Worlds, the Fish and then more recently a couple of international surfski races so it’s was great to come back down and take part in my first local ski race in quite some time,” said McGregor.

Having welcomed his first child, Thorsten into the world just a few weeks ago, McGregor has found the going a bit tougher as far as spending time in the boat goes but still has some big assignments on the horizon for the near future.

“I’m a father now, not a racer. The whole racing thing is for the youngsters!” he chuckled afterwards.

“Next weekend is Pete Marlin which should be a pretty good race and then I’m off to Hong Kong the following weekend for the Dragon Run which I know plenty of guys are going to so that should also be quite a tough event.”

With McGregor sealing the win, becoming the third new victor the men’s race has crowned in the opening three encounters of the 2014 series, the spotlight was turned to Van der Walt and Bouman’s battle for second.

Having opted for different race tactics in the closing stages of the battle before arriving at the shoreline together it was Van der Walt who eventually clinched second place, narrowly edging out Bouman in a sprint up the beach.

“Hank and I had stayed a bit deeper over the final couple hundred meters while Matt cut in quite early,” explained Van der Walt. “As we started turning in I saw Matt change his mind and turn back out towards which meant as we neared the last buoy, he and I were side by side and so it was then just a footrace up the beach.”

The doubles category’s spoils went to veterans Gary Brummer and Craig Stuart while Jordan Clauson was the first junior across the line.

Race four of the six-leg Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series takes place on Friday 14 November at 17h30 at Suncoast Pirates, Battery Beach. More info can be found atwww.wallandback.co.za

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ILLOVO SUNCOAST WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
RACE THREE

Overall
1.Hank McGregor 32.37
2.Grant van der Walt 32.44
3.Matt Bouman 32.45
4.Gene Prato 34.21
5.Jean-Luc Mauvis 34.51

Women
1.Nicole Russell 38.17
2.Jenna Ward 40.02
3.Lara Edward (U18) 55.37

Juniors Boys
1.Jordan Clauson 37.39
2.Brett Wilken 38.44
3.Bailey de Fondaumiere 38.52

Junior Girls
1.Lara Edward 55.37

Doubles
1.Gary Brummer/Craig Stuart 36.36
2.Wayne Ashford/Duncan Nisbet 37.11
3.Russell Sadler/Carmel Billson (Mixed) 38.40

Mixed Double
1.Russell Sadler/Carmel Billson 38.40
2.Skye Prato/Louisa van Staden 39.59

Familiar faces at front of second Wall & Back bout

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

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Durban – It was a return of the titans at race two of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series as series defending champion Matt Bouman lead home a powerful men’s to record his race victory of this year’s series while Nikki Russell made it two from two in the women’s clash.

Bouman returned from his fourth place effort at the Breizh Ocean Race in Quiberon, France last weekend to return to the front of the field in the competition in which he clinched 2013’s crown despite not claiming a single race victory of his own.

The Epic Kayaks ace went head to head with Varsity College/Epic Kayaks’ Grant van der Walt throughout the eight kilometer showdown from Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club at Battery Beach to the north pier of Durban’s harbour mouth and back and in the end just a mere ten seconds separated the two.

“I couldn’t really ‘get ahead’ of Grant (van der Walt) at any stage; it was just about eking out those inches the entire way and in the end it was a just a wave or two between us so it really was a close, tough race between the two of us,” explained Bouman.

“Wade (Krieger) has a lifesaving World Champs third place in the ski competition to his name as well and he finished third here tonight which just goes to show what a town little town Durban is to paddle in.

“It’s a Friday night and yet one’s having to push as hard as we did tonight just to try stay ahead of a heap of guys just behind you,” he added.

In stark contrast to race one’s conditions, Neptune offered a relatively easy break zone affording paddlers a comfortable start and finish while a slight tail wind and ocean swell on the return leg offered some assistance.

“Obviously I wasn’t here last week but I heard it was pretty tricky. Tonight it was a very gentle wave on the way out and the wind made the sea look a lot angrier than it really was out there.

“I quite enjoyed the conditions; there was a bit of a bump on the way back and the wind was actually quite polite,” described Bouman.

Like Bouman, van der Walt is busy building towards his international assignment in Hong Kong – the Dragon Run – in a few weeks’ time and was satisfied with his second place effort.

“There wasn’t much in it between Matt and I; it was a pretty good race in the end,” he said. “I’m gearing up for Hong Kong, the Pete Marlin in East London and then maybe the Cape Town Downwind in December so this is all part of getting ready for those.”

Rapidly developing young talent Kyle Friedenstein continued his positive start to the series as he added a fourth place to his second last Friday while fellow under-23 Gene Prato rounded out the top five.

Jason Ekstrand and Richard Lowe just pipped Greg Worthington and Malcolm Pitt in a sprint up the beach for the spoils in the doubles category while Varsity College/Fenn Kayaks’ Russell finished over a minute ahead of Fenn Kayaks’ Jenna Ward in the women’s tussle.

“It’s just so cool paddling with and against such a good friend (Ward); it almost doesn’t really matter to us which one ends up winning,” said Russell.

“Jen did however win the Bay Union Surfski Series in the winter though so it would be nice if I could get this one,” she admitted.

Russell was forced to recover from a poor start before a strong return leg saw her shake Ward however the former Eastern Cape resident will disappointingly miss out on the opportunity to make it three from three next Friday due to a packed schedule.

“A wave broke square on my head at the start so when I caught up Jenna and the bunch I decided to stay with them rather than try go off on my own. We turned at the can together and that’s when I just put my head down and went for it and fortunately I managed to string a couple of good runs together.

“This Sunday I’ll be racing in the Mouth2Mouth race on the north coast, which I’m really looking forward to, and then from Wednesday to Saturday I’ll be taking part in the four-day long Richards Bay to Pirates race,” said Russell.

Race three of the six-leg series takes place on Friday 7 November at 17h15 at Suncoast Pirates, Battery Beach. More info can be found at www.wallandback.co.za

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ILLOVO SUNCOAST WALL AND BACK SURFSKI SERIES
RACE TWO

Overall
1.Matt Bouman 33.17
2.Grant van der Walt 33.27
3.Wade Krieger 34.35
4.Kyle Friedenstein 35.01
5.Gene Prato 35.01

Women
1.Nicole Russell 38.45
2.Jenna Ward 39.57

Juniors
1.Jordan Clausen 37.45
2.Bailey de Fondaumiere 39.08
3.Brett Wilkin 39.11

Doubles
1.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 34.48
2.Greg Worthington/Malcom Pitt 34.49
3.Luke Chalupsky/Sean Dias

Mixed Double
1.Russell Sadler/Carmel Billson 38.43
2.Paul van Achterbergh/Sam Rowe 38.50
3.Terry Henebrey/Louisa van Staden 41.51

Weather gods give 2014 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall & Back opener the all clear

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

Durban – After last week’s false start, the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series is set to get underway this Friday evening with many of KwaZulu-Natal’s top elite stars and their social paddling accomplices set to line Battery Beach’s shoreline.

matt

Massive seas and gale force winds forced organisers to postpone the start of this year’s series last Friday however a favourable weather report sees everything on track for the action to finally get underway second time round.

“The angry ocean that battered the KZN coastline last week has thankfully gone and the weather for the first race of the Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series is back to normal!” explained a relieved Barry Lewin.

“The whole series has been pushed out by a week due to last week’s storms but we’ve still got a full series in store for the paddlers and we’re excited to get things underway this week!” added the Team Jeep/Varsity College paddler and series assistant coordinator.

Held every Friday evening for six consecutive weeks, the Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club-hosted Wall and Back Surfski Series received a much-needed revival in 2013 and this year’s edition is eagerly anticipated by the region’s ocean paddlers.

The 2013 men’s title race was a topsy-turvy one with no fewer than four paddlers clinching individual race victories. Surprisingly, Epic Kayaks ace and eventual title winner Matt Bouman wasn’t one of those however the powerhouse’s consistency throughout the six leg competition handed him the overall spoils.

Week in and week out Bouman went head to head with the likes of Team Jeep/Epic Kayaks’ Hank McGregor, van der Walt brothers Grant and Brandon as well as Bartho brothers Brett and Daryl and with all but the younger of the van der Walt brothers set to make an appearance again in 2014, the men’s contest will be yet another mouth-watering affair.

Last year’s women’s series winner Michelle Burn (Team Jeep/Fenn Kayaks) will be out of action for the near future as she expects the birth of her first child next week, opening the doorway for the region’s top ladies surfski paddlers to battle it out for this year’s honours.

Under-23 women’s 2014 ICF Canoe Marathon World Champs bronze medallist Jenna Ward came of age in her ski earlier this year when she clinched a maiden senior women’s title in the Bay Union Surfski Series and will undoubtedly be the one to beat going into this year’s Wall and Back contest.

She will however have fellow MacSquad Elite training partner Nikki Russell to contend with while Lettie Paddle’s Danica Bartho’s two race victories last year proved just what she is capable of as well.

2014 sees the series welcome back title sponsors Illovo Sugar with series organiser Anton Fouche looking forward to their support producing another stellar six weeks of ocean paddling in Durban.

“Having Illovo on board for a second year running is fantastic as it allows us to gather good momentum in the series, run things professionally and offer some great prizes to the paddlers each week,” said Fouche.

“Through both Fenn Kayaks and Illovo’s support we also have a brand new Fenn ski up for grabs at our series prize giving so a big thank you to both of them for their very generous support!” he added.

Race one of the 2014 Illovo Suncoast Wall and Back Surfski Series takes place on Friday 24 October at 17h15 from Suncoast Pirates SLC, Battery Beach in Durban.

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