Friday night’s conditions couldn’t have been better for the series-opening Global Trader Surfski Challenge. Glassy water conditions with many open ocean runs suited both novice and top paddler alike and the electrical thunderstorm out to sea provided the perfect backdrop to the heated battles that unfolded on the water.
“I got off to a good start and it was all pretty neat going into the first can,” said McGregor. “Matt was right there with me at first but I opened up a bit of a gap and managed to keep ahead of him.”
“Hank reads other paddlers so well. He opens up a small gap and then forces you to push harder than you should,” said Bouman. “He’s great competitor and it’s great to be able to race against him.”
Matt Bouman will miss the next race; he’s heading off to compete in The Doctor in Perth, Australia, which is set to be one of the most hotly contested international races this year. He’ll be joining fellow Durban paddler Herman Chalupsky and Cape based current ISPA World Surfski Champion Dawid Mocke, Tom Schilperoort and Jasper Mocke. They’ll be taking on the best Australia has to offer, including Tim Jacobs, Ben Allen, Jeremy Cotter and the athletes hot off the Iron Man circuit such as the Eckstein brothers and Zane Holmes.
Despite always looking in control at the front of the pack and never being seriously challenged for the top spot on the podium, McGregor was very pleased with the result, particularly when one considers the size and strength of the field he was up against.
“There was just such a great calibre of paddler out there this evening,” he said. “Guys like Matt, Grant van der Walt and his brother Brandon, all former world champs at various levels. It’s fantastic to be racing against these guys.”
Michelle Eder of Amanzimtoti surprised everyone by entering the women’s race in a K1 and was made to dig deep for her victory, particularly by the ever consistent Donna Winter. After being boxed in up front Eder had to work hard to break free from Winter. Every break she made Winter would reply straight away and it was only on the final run home that saw Eder make the decisive move.
“Donna’s always such a great competitor and I was exhausted towards the end but fortunately my recent sprint training helped me on the run leg home and I managed to hold her off” said Eder.
“I love Friday night racing so it’s awesome to have gotten off to a winning start,” she added.
“...doesn’t get any better than this”
Men’s singles winner, Hank McGregor, also explained his fondness of the series.
“It’s like New Year’s Day down here. It’s just fantastic to see how many boats there were lined up at the start. It doesn’t get any better than this,” he said “Even if you race around the world you don’t get a bigger field than there was this evening. Everyone should definitely come down and take part in at least one race!”
The second race in the series, the Billy the Bums Surfski Challenge, takes place next Friday, 21 January 2011, at 17.30 at Marine SLC.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS - GLOBAL TRADER SURFSKI CHALLENGE
FIRST LEG OF THE VARSITY COLLEGE MARINE SURF SKI SERIES
Long Course Singles - Men
- Hank McGregor 27:28
- Matt Bouman 27:48
- Herman Chalupsky 29:13
- Brandon van der Walt 29:23
- Grant van der Walt 29:35
- Marc Holtzhausen 29:53
- Mark Mulder 30:43
- Matthew Collins 30:50
- Oliver Burn 31:03
- Steve Cohen 31:20
Long course Singles - Women
- Michelle Eder 33:26
- Donna Winter 33:56
- Natalie Veckranges 36:57
Long course Doubles
- Zoog Haynes/Warren Jacobs 28:14
- Brett Bartho/Brett Challenor 28:39
- Barry Lewin/Sthembiso Mbatha 28:42
Short course Singles
- Jabin Lyons 20:27
- Dennis van der Zee 21:40
- Richard de Rauville 21:49
Short course Doubles
- Greg Strachan/Mark Lewin 20:19
- Mark Kelly/Tamryn Kelly 20:38
- Kean Nicholson/Melissa 21:53
More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za
VARSITY COLLEGE MARINE SURFSKI SERIES CALENDAR
- Friday 21 January 2011 - Billy the Bums Surfski Challenge
- Friday 28 January 2011 - MultiSport Magazine Surfski Challenge
- Friday 4 February 2011 - Thule Surfski Challenge
- Friday 11 February 2011 - Hansa Surfski Challenge
- Friday 25 February 2011 - USN Surfski Challenge
- Friday 4 March 2011 - IT Works Surfski Challenge
- Friday 11 March 2011 - Sunday Tribune Surfski Challenge
- Friday 18 March 2011 - Billy the Bums Surfski Challenge
- Friday 25 March 2011 - Varsity College SA Schools Champs 2011