Matt Bouman tops in East London

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East London - Durban surfski ace Matt Bouman outsmarted a quality field to win the Automall Pete Marlin Memorial surfski race in East London in superb big downwind racing conditions, using a direct inside line to set up a handsome two and a half minute victory margin.

Matt Bouman
Matt Bouman Credits: Bruce Viaene/ Gameplan Media

The Marine SLC stalwart set off the with strong field of 140 surfski racers, minus the Mockè brothers, Tom Schilperoort and Grant van der Walt who are all en route to Hong Kong for next weekend's Hong Kong Dragon Run, from Orient beach in East London bound north for Yellow Sands beach in classic 15 knot South Westerly conditions.

Bouman quickly proved dominant and got the upper hand over Eastern cape pacesetter Richard von Wildermann, who was left to press home a solo charge to try and keep in contact with the flying Bouman in the closing stages of the race.

Pete Marlin Singles Race

The paddlers emerge from behind the breakwater

"I am pretty happy with the way I went, and I would have loved to test my form against the guys who had already left for Hong Kong," said Bouman. "I just kept a steady pace, watching my GPS and noting how slowly I was going because of the oncoming currents, but I guess everyone had the same problem. I took virtually a dead straight line while others tried to do what worked for Dawid Mockè last year and go deep."

"I was focusing my energies on the Dubai Shamaal which has now been cancelled, which is a bummer, so I was able to give this race a good go. It was a superb weekend, and one of the best organised races I have ever been to," he added.

Pete Marlin Race

Superb downwind conditions...

"It was a great paddle. I saw plenty of sharks and a big sunfish," said Bouman. "Some guys slammed into a dead shark in the water, which gave them a bit of a scare. I saw it in time and managed to avoid it!"

East London Duncan Boyd was third, keeping another Durban star Clint Pretorius off the podium, with the evergreen Port Elizabeth racer Hennie Roos excelling in the big downwind conditions to finish fifth and comfortably the first Master paddler home.

Barry Lewin

Barry Lewin gambled with an offshore line - and lost out.

Durbanite Barry Lewin gambled big and went for a deep, wide line, a move that backfired as he ran into oncoming currents and was left soldiering home in sixth place overall. "I was humbled by the sea and the big obstacles on the course today," he said. "There were very strong currents out there and the ocean showed me who is the boss." 

The veterans category was taken by series boss Billy Harker, who was irrepressibly delighted at making the top ten overall

Kirsten Wessels

Kirsten Wessels won by twenty minutes.

In the women's race Summerstrand star Kirsten Wessels was in rampant form and posted a lopsided twenty minute victory over East London schoolgirl Catherine Atkinson and PE veteran Janine Linder.

Doubles Race

A contingent of Gauteng surfski enthusiasts dominated the double ski race, which was eventually won by Pete O' Connor and Dave Gillmer, with another upcountry crew Brad Breetzke and Keith Flemmer taking second, twenty five minutes further back.

On Sunday the doubles race saw Richard von Wilderman and Ryan Louw bring home the bacon for the Eastern Cape, while Steve Woods, struggling with his broken leg and his partner Clint Pretorius were awarded second over Bouman and his mixed doubles partner Kerry Worlock, who may have crossed the line in second, only to feel the empathy of the linejudges sway in favour of Woods.

Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series

The Discovery Sunglass Hut surfski series moves back to Cape Town on November 20th for the Brian's Kayaks Mellerware Oceana race.

More details can be found at


1. Matt Bouman (Marine) 1:28:45 
2. Richard von Wildeman (Summerstrand) 1:31:06 
3. Duncan Boyd (EL) 1:35:33 
4. Clinton Pretorius (Pirates) 1:36:21 
5. Hennie Roos (BCC) 1:36:22 (1st Master Under 55)
6. Barry Lewin (Marine) 1:36:22 
7. Steve Woods (EL) 1:39:25 
8. Johan Zeelie (Summerstrand) 1:41:56 (1st Junior Under 18) 
9. Brendon Thompson (BCC) 1:43:49 (1st Submaster Under 50)
10. Billy Harker (Marine) 1:46:51 (1st Vet Under 45) 

1. Kirstin Wessels (Summerstrand) 2:02:47
2. Catherine Atkinson (EL) 2:22:50 (1st Junior Under 18)
3. Janine Linder (PE) 2:25:31 (1st Vet Under 45)
4.Daynie Loots (BCC) 2:28:41 (2nd Vet Under 45)
5.Anje Manfroni (Jhbg) 2:30:35 (3rd Vet Under 45)
6. Kerri Louw (Summerstrand) 2:33:56 

1. Peter O’Connor / David Gillmer (Gau) 1:53:16 
2. Brad Breetzke / Keith Flemmer (Gau) 2:19:54 
3. Clifton Donald / Border C-Club (EL) 2:45:52
4. Angus Tanner / Megan Alderman (BCC) 3:04:35 (1st Mixed Doubles)

Event information

  • Venue: East London, South Africa
    Date: 12-13 Nov, 2011
  • Organiser: Billy Harker
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Published in Africa

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