Posts Tagged ‘surfski’
Durban – With hundreds of excited paddlers lining the Addington Beach for the first race of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series on Friday, the race produced a big surprise as former Olympic bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley beat off the tough ladies competition to claim a maiden win at race one while stalwart Hank McGregor took the honours in the men’s race.
Paddlers were greeted to some tame conditions as long course, short course and stand-up paddle boarders took some time to work out the rust and Christmas pudding on Friday, however the racing at the sharp end of the field was as tough as ever with paddlers jostling for an early advantage.
Hartley and race favourite and Euro Steel team mate Hayley Nixon spent a lot of the race together however when the paddlers turned into the wind for the final time Hartley came into her own and managed to get ahead all the way to the finish line.
“Tonight was really fun and I was really excited to race with so many other paddlers and against some strong ladies,” Hartley mentioned.
“I really didn’t know what to expect so I was fairly cautious at the start of the race but I managed to catch Hayley just before the first buoy.”
Hartley was going to have her work cut out for her against an experienced paddler like Nixon but she believed that if she turned for home with Nixon she had a chance of winning.
“I tried to interval as much as I could into the wind and we had so much fun trying to catch some runs with the wind!
“It was so much fun and I am really excited that I managed to get a win at the first race of the series,” she added.
The ladies field was rounded out by Euro Steel/Carbonology’s Hayley Nixon in second, who finished 44 seconds behind Hartley, and young Euro Steel/Fenn Kayaks’ star Kyeta Purchase, who came home in third a further two minutes behind Nixon.
Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ Hank McGregor managed to pick up where he left off in 2016 with another win at the FNB Surfski Challenge as he eyes an impressive eighth FNB Surfski Series title. McGregor was in a class of his own as he dominated the entire field to win the race by 38 seconds over long-time rival Matt Bouman with Wade Krieger coming home in third.
Clinton Cook and Hamish Lovemore finished second overall in the race just behind McGregor and managed to just pip the pair of Jason Ekstrand and Richard Lowe to the win.
Emanuel Zaloumis was the best placed junior when he finished tenth overall just two seconds ahead of Hamish Mackenzie with Sabine Lawrie being the best placed junior girl.
The short course was dominated by Matthew Maroun who took the overall honours over Shane Maguire in second and Jasper Gaylard in third.
The SUP category was a tough race with Nick Park-Ross taking the race one honours ahead of Brandon Read in second and Robbie de Billot in third. The ladies category was won by Charlotte Anderson ahead of Lande Williamson and Danica Bartho in second and third respectively.
The The Funky Pants Surfski Challenge, Race Two of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 13 January at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – FNB SURFSKI CHALLENGE
RACE ONE OF THE 2017 FNB SURFSKI SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 32:46
2.Matt Bouman 33:14
3.Wade Krieger 34:20
4.Grant van der Walt 34:21
5.Bailey de Fondaumiere 35:32
6.Gene Prato 35:37
7.Lee McGregor 35:39
8.Tyron Maher 36:34
9.Oliver Burn 37:22
10.Emanuel Zaloumis 37:28
1.Brigitte Hartley 36:50
2.Hayley Nixon 37:34
3.Kyeta Purchase 39:35
1.Clinton Cook/Hamish Lovemore 32:58
2.Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 33:09
3.Darly Bartho/Clinton Pretorius 34:27
1.Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 34:41
1.Emanuel Zaloumis 37:28
2.Hamish Mackenzie 37:30
3.Brendon Delport 39:56
1.Sabina Lawrie 42:44
1.Matthew Maroun 20:59
2.Shane Maguire 22:17
3.Jasper Gaylard 23:00
1.Justin Swart/Stefan Swart 21:21
2.Mark Taylor/Richard Taylor 22:09
3.Jason Ward/Nigel Ward 22:12
1.Nick Park-Ross 26:26
2.Brandon Read 26:58
3.Robbie de Billot 27:42
1.Charlotte Anderson 30:19
2.Lande Williamson 30:41
3.Danica Bartho 32:26
Durban – The Durban surfski fraternity will once again be treated to a spectacle when the coutnry’s best surfski stars battle it out over the 10-leg FNB Surfski Series as world leaders and beginners alike take to the warm Indian Ocean waters from this Friday until March in one of the most popular series on the East Coast.
The Durban surfski scene has been dominated over the years by two of the world’s leading paddlers – Hank McGregor and Matt Bouman. The two have built up an impressive rivalry that has seen the pair trade series titles, although in recent years McGregor has been the dominant force and will be back to defend the title he won in 2016.
McGregor, who recently took home the overall honours in the World Surfski Series, is in top racing form and will return to the familiar waters of KwaZulu-Natal with his eyes on another overall title at the 2017 FNB Surfski Series.
“I think last year was my seventh title at the series so it really is a series that I enjoy and have done for years,” Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ McGregor mentioned.
“Barry (Lewin) always puts on such a great event and through the ten weeks it becomes tradition for my family so we feel a bit lost with what to do on a Friday night when the series is over!
“I’m really looking forward to another tough series against not only some of the best surfski paddlers in KZN, but in the world too.”
McGregor’s long standing battle with Bouman goes back to well before their professional paddling days and he knows that not only Bouman will pose a threat to his title chase.
“Matthew and I have been racing each other since we were about eight years old so we know each other pretty well.
“The likes of Wade Krieger will also be a tough competitor and I am sure that there are going to be some youngsters looking to make an impact on the series,” he added.
The FNB Surfski Series has become a stalwart event in Durban during the early months of the year and with resolutions being made McGregor feels that this adds to the series’ appeal.
“It’s a great way to get back into the swing of things after a good break over the festive season.
“People are looking for events to get themselves back into shape and with a fairly forgiving course it’s an ideal way for people to get into surfski racing.
“I am looking forward to another competitive year of racing and with my river season training in full swing it will be nice to get into a surfski once in a while,” McGregor added.
The women’s series is set to be one of the most competitive yet with the depth of women’s surfski paddling in KZN growing substantially in the past few years. Hayley Nixon, who won the women’s World Surfski Series title in 2016, is one of those hoping to take top honours this year.
“I love being involved in the FNB Surfski Series as it was probably the first series that I ever did in a surfski,” the Euro Steel/Carbonology star mentioned.
“Each week it is always such a great way to start the weekend and this year I am expecting the battle for the women’s title to be really tough!
“There are girls coming across from river racing and with the likes of Bridgitte (Hartley) also getting into a surfski means that there are so many girls with different strengths. It makes the racing really competitive and each week will be just as tough.”
The FNB Surfski Challenge, Race One of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 6 January at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za
Durban – As many preparing for the fast-approaching festive season, the December holidays represent a golden opportunity for KwaZulu-Natal’s paddling fraternity to enjoy spending time on the ocean, brushing up on their surfski skills ahead of the arrival of the much-anticipated 2017 FNB Surfski Series in January.
The popular ten race series is one of the biggest of its kind globally and attracts hundreds of paddling enthusiasts to Marine Surf Lifesaving Club at Addington Beach each week for the Friday evening contests.
With an 8km or novice-friendly 4km race option, easy surf entry, on-water safety crews and endless lucky draw prizes, the series is the ideal way for beginners to get into the sport while sharing the start line with some of the globe’s top elite racers who also lock horns weekly.
“2017 is set to be another cracking year for the FNB Surfski Series and we’re really looking forward to hosting hundreds of past participants and scores of new faces each week,” says series coordinator, Barry Lewin.
“Coming down to the FNB Surfski Series on a summery Friday evening in Durban and racing with or against your buddies before then swapping a few battle stories and claiming the week’s bragging rights – we don’t believe there is a better way to start the weekend!” he adds.
While much of what has made the series the success it has become remains, one exciting change to the mix sees banking giant First National Bank (FNB) take over as the series’ sole title sponsor having shared this with Varsity College for the past two years.
FNB’s enlarged backing of the series sees them further entrench themselves in South African paddling circles having already established strong ties with the iconic Dusi Canoe Marathon and the Durban Downwind surfski race.
“FNB Business is delighted to be a sponsor of the FNB Surfski Series,” says FNB Business KZN Provincial Head, Howard Arrand.
“At FNB Business, developing and maintaining relationships with our clients forms an integral part of how we do business. The FNB Surfski Series provides us with an exciting platform where we can make a lasting connection with new and existing clients.
“Innovation is central to FNB Business; the annual FNB Surfski event is perfectly aligned to our belief that adventure is the heart of innovation.
“Over and above this, the FNB Surfski Series affirms our commitment to providing an experience for participants through a sport that is ever growing in popularity in the KwaZulu-Natal region.”
Having gone head-to-head during the series’ clashes for the better part of a decade, global surfski stars Hank McGregor and Matt Bouman are again expected to contest the weekly spoils while Wade Krieger, Luke Nisbet, Steve Woods, Gene Prato and Bailey de Fondaumiere add depth to the world class men’s field.
“It is always great to race against a quality field and Durban hosts many of the top ten paddlers in the world, while we also often get some out-of-towners join us too, so you know you’re in for a great race each and every week of the FNB Surfski Series,” says Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ McGregor.
“It’s great to be able to test yourself on a Friday evening and the series is a really nice way start the year again after recharging a bit over the festive season.
“With the racing only being over 8km, you don’t exactly have to be the fittest person on earth to complete the race but up front the pace certainly does get quite intense.
“Barry (Lewin) always creates a really safe environment, especially with all the novices often in the field, so while its fast and furious for those that are racing, its friendly as well!”
The women’s title challenge will too be a hard-fought, richly contested affair as the likes of Nicole Russell, Hayley Nixon, Kyeta Purchase and Jenna Ward square off while Michelle Burn and Donna Tutton could add great experience to the mix as well.
The FNB Surfski Challenge, race one of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, gets proceedings underway on Friday 6 January at 17h30 at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club.
The opening encounter is however preceded by a series registration function at Robsons on Point in Durban’s Point precinct on Thursday 5 January from 16h00-19h00.
While race entry is R100 per paddler, participants are encouraged to take advantage of the series special that gives paddlers 20% discount should they enter all ten races upfront.
Series special purchasers, together with those who complete eight or more races during the series, will also qualify for the series’ loyalty programme giveaway – a limited edition FNB paddle cover.
More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/marinesurfskiseries), Twitter (www.twitter.com/marineseries) or YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/MarineSeries).
By Olivia Jones Communications
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.
The last two and a half weeks have been, as usual, really busy. With the final tying up of loose ends leading up to the start of the surfski calendar for 2017, life becomes a bit of a whirlwind. And, as always trying to balance work and training is a challenge, and I’m sure, a daily struggle encountered by us all.
It is with great excitement to announce our title sponsors for the 2017 Marine Surfski series! If you haven’t heard by now, we are very pleased to have FNB as the sole title sponsors of the Marine Series for next year. We love what FNB has done for the sport of paddling and look forward to another successful series with FNB. The Marine Surfski series would not be the same without the FNB banners decorating our much-loved Durban beachfront.
Mouth 2 Mouth – Richards Bay
On the odd occasion we need an excuse to drag ourselves away from the crowded coast of Durban and head up the road to the untamed coastline of Richards Bay. Mouth 2 Mouth is another of my favorite surfski events. With too much traveling and not enough training I was sure that this event would be a good opportunity to clock some miles in anticipation of the Pete Marlin (SA Champs) and the Hong Kong Dragon Run later in the year.
There were a lot of happy paddlers on the start line with the wind blowing 25knots. White caps from the wind covered the water as far as the eye could see across the harbour, signs normally indicating an awesome downwind.
The wind uncharacteristically swung from NE to a more Northerly direction, making the conditions very challenging. The side on chop made catching the swell going down the coast extremely taxing on the body. Every run required massive amounts of concentration and physical power.
My race turned out to be all that I had expected, a test to see if I still knew how to paddle and an opportunity to log some time in the seat. I was happy with my fourth place behind that of Gene Prato in third place, Luke Nesbit in second and Matt Bouman in first.
With another week of training in the system, my confidence in my fitness was starting to strengthen. I had done a few longer paddles during my training sessions and the body was handling well. In a moment of boldness I decided, very uncharacteristically, to take part in the longest race on the KZN calendar. I would usually avoid these longer events, especially an event that hits the 50km mark. I have not really regarded myself as a long-distance paddler but with the training going well I was excited to have the opportunity to test my endurance levels, which seem to be improving, perhaps with age.
We had favorable wind predictions, which would aid our paddle from Pirates to Tinley. KZN’s hard-core and highly skilled surfski paddlers took to the beach that day to take on the grueling distance.
I got off to a conservative start picking my way through the surf without getting into trouble. The first few kilometers into the race seemed rather slow with not that many runs out of the Durban bay. With the passing of every kilometer however the conditions and swell began to build. By the time we hit La Lucia I was truly surfing.
The leading field, consisting of Luke Nesbit, Gene Prato and Wade Krieger, had attacked the race right at the outset. They had gone out hard. Far harder than I was willing to go in the first 10km of the race. My goal for the day was to ensure I would return to attempt another of these long distances races, I would have to exercise consistency in my pacing. The leaders of the field were all within sight. As the runs built I started to make good ground, picking up Gene about 40 minutes into the race and then, catching up with Wade a further 10 minutes later. I felt good the whole way, and led the bunch for a brief period from around the 20km mark.
I chose to follow my own line, which proved to not be the wisest of choices. Luke went out much wider, which aided him in finding cleaner runs off the Ballito point. My inside line was not so forgiving and I battled with some very bad refraction being too close to the coastline.
Luke claimed a well-earned win, with Wade in second place and myself in third. To have found myself in the mix in a race of this distance, so soon after my break, was awesome.
The next two weeks are going to be used to sharpen up on some of my week points and I am looking forward to some good racing in November.
Well done to all the paddlers who took part and a huge-thank you to the super-seconds for making sure we all get to do what we love!
Durban – As the summer months approach, the surf at Pirates SLC becomes the home of the six-leg 2016 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series which will be kicking off on Friday, 14 October for another edition of the action-packed, drama-laden series that takes paddlers from Suncoast Pirates Lifesaving Club to the harbour wall and back.
The famous surfski series is one of the tougher series on the East Coast’s calendar as the tricky surf at Pirates makes the exit and entry difficult.
That, however, won’t stop droves of paddlers taking on the eight kilometre course to the harbour and back every Friday evening for the next six weeks.
The series’ testing conditions has meant it attracts the crème de la crème of surfski paddlers in the Durban region and the 2016 series will be no different as the intense rivalry between 2015 series winner Hank McGregor and his regular opponent, Matthew Bouman (Epic Kayaks) resumes with the challenge for the ladies title set to be just as competitive.
“It is a great series and I will definitely try and race in as many of the legs of the series as I can this year,” Euro Steel/Epic Kayak’s McGregor mentioned.
“The surf is definitely the most challenging part of the race and as far as surfski races go, it is definitely one of the trickier races as it is not over until you have got through the surf and are back on the beach.
“That element of nature that you have to contend with is one of the main components that makes the Wall and Back series so unique.
“The series ups the skill levels of everyone who takes part and is a proper test for all, setting it apart from the other Durban series.”
A chocker-block international surfski schedule may well curtail McGregor’s march towards another Wall and Back Surfski Series title however he has committed himself to as many races as he can do as he looks to meet the series’ minimum criteria that requires paddlers to complete four of the six races to be in line for the series’ spoils.
“I am off to France next week for a surfski race and I am busy until the end of the year, but I will be at Pirates every Friday that I am available!
“The competition is always so good and it gives me a chance to sharpen up and take on some of the best surfski paddlers in the world on a weekly basis.
“We have conditions here in Durban that international paddlers have never experienced, so it gives us the edge in international competition.
“The high quality of racing also means that I have to be on top of my game week in and week out,” he stressed.
The ladies series honours will be just as exciting with a number of high-class paddlers in the running for the overall title. Training partners Jenna Ward (Euro Steel), Kyeta Purchase (Euro Steel/Mocké Paddling) and Nikki Russell will lead the charge, however others, such as Hayley Nixon (Euro Steel/Carbonology Sport), will be chomping at the bit for a chance at success.
Purchase won the overall women’s title in 2015 however she will have her work cut out for her this year with a stellar field expected to be contesting for the honours.
More information can be found at www.wallandback.co.za
Durban – South African paddling icon Hank McGregor overcame sickness, flat conditions as well as a strong local field to clinch his maiden FNB Durban Downwind win on Sunday while the in-form Nicole Russell claimed the World Surfski Series title event’s women’s crown.
Despite organisers’ best efforts to stage the race in the best available wind conditions of the weekend, Mother Nature didn’t come to the party as hoped and the 26km journey from La Mercy Beach to Marine Surf Lifesaving Club at Addington Beach was a testing one for all.
McGregor, having come close to victory in the race’s debut in 2014, had little hassle second time around as he claimed a commanding triumph, racing home one minute and four seconds ahead of Matt Bouman.
“I’m glad to take the win this time around,” said McGregor. “I narrowly lost it two years ago so it’s nice to win the Durban Downwind for the first time.”
“Conditions were pretty tough; there was hardly any assistance really so it was a hard slog for 26kms.
“I managed to get out in front early and then kept the guys behind me for the rest of the race – there weren’t too many tactics involved really.
“I was in hospital on Friday so it was a hit and miss whether I was going to race but I’m glad I was able to get out there and it’s nice to have gotten the win,” added the Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks athlete.
Bouman echoed McGregor’s sentiments regarding the conditions while sang the praises of the victor and the organisers alike.
“It’s sad that it was as flat as it was because there aren’t many races where the organisers genuinely search for the best downwind conditions and the Durban Downwind is one of them where they do.
“This was one of only a few opportunities where the guys use the whole two day window period to try to find the wind but when Mother Nature says there’s no wind then there simply is no wind.
“I’m not unhappy with how I performed; it was good for me personally but the person who puts in the most work is the guy who wins and it’s something you’ve got to give people credit for.
“Hank was just too strong today and well done to him for that. The man’s commitment to sport and the amount of work he does is one hell of a thing,” added Bouman graciously.
Australia’s Mark Anderson (Fenn Kayaks/Oceanpaddler Sydney) claimed the bottom step of the podium while Gene Prato and Barry Lewin (Jeep Team) claimed positions four and five.
Carbonology Sport’s Bailey de Fondaumiere was the first junior across the line, finishing seventh overall, while birthday boy, Wade Krieger (Epic Kayaks/Falcon World Travel) rounded out the top ten.
In the women’s charge, Russell and Hayley Nixon went head to head from the get-go, the former edging out the latter by thirty three seconds in the end.
“I love the Durban Downwind and it’s great to win again,” said Russell. “Winning SA Marathon Champs a couple of weeks ago definitely gave me a bit of confidence in these flat conditions because I do normally prefer the bumps, runs and a bit of swell.”
“I knew it was going to be a grind but it was even tougher than I was expecting.
“Haylz (Nixon) was there the whole way and it was a ding-dong battle between us. I went deep early on and I didn’t see Hayley until we met up at about halfway. I then went on the inside and she stuck to the middle, which worked out for me in the end but it was very close.”
Nixon was pleased with her effort. “It was an awesome race and a titanic battle. I’m stoked with second place and well done to Nikki on her win,” the Carbonology Sport competitor said.
While a predominantly local field, eleven paddlers from Gauteng and one each from Western and Eastern Cape made the journey to Durban for the race with Johannesburg’s Anna Clifford Arwidi rounding out the women’s podium while Durbanville Hills’ Anton Holtzhausen was the first Masters competitor home.
Through the support of title sponsors FNB, a prize money purse of R40000 was given away across all age groups and categories while all finishers stood the chance winning various Thule and Funky Pants lucky draws prizes.
“KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s second largest economy and is well positioned in the tourism and sporting sectors,” commented Howard Arrand, FNB Business – KZN Provincial Head.
“We relish the opportunity to be involved with the Durban Downwind event as the sport continues to grow in popularity as one of the key activities in the province and the South African sporting calendar.
“Congratulations to all those who took part in the race as well as the families, spectators and the various communities who showed their support,” he added.
More information can be found at www.durbandownwind.co.za.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
2016 FNB DURBAN DOWNWIND
1.Hank McGregor 1:44.50
2.Matt Bouman 1:45.54
3.Mark Anderson (AUS) 1:48.54
4.Gene Prato 1:49.27
5.Barry Lewin 1:50.40
6.Luke Nisbet 1:50.52
7.Bailey de Fondaumiere (U18) 1:52.35
8.Jason Ekstrand 1:53.06
9.Steve Woods 1:53.43
10.Wade Krieger 1:54.10
1.Nicole Russell 2:01.32
2.Hayley Nixon 2:02.05
3.Anna Clifford Arwidi 2:27.49