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.
Nick Park-Ross was the first SUP home
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.
Hank McGregor Dominates
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.
In a class of his own
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.
New year, new me... Hundreds of paddlers lined the Addington Beach in anticipation
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
- Hank McGregor 32:46
- Matt Bouman 33:14
- Wade Krieger 34:20
- Grant van der Walt 34:21
- Bailey de Fondaumiere 35:32
- Gene Prato 35:37
- Lee McGregor 35:39
- Tyron Maher 36:34
- Oliver Burn 37:22
- Emanuel Zaloumis 37:28
- Brigitte Hartley 36:50
- Hayley Nixon 37:34
- Kyeta Purchase 39:35
- Clinton Cook/Hamish Lovemore 32:58
- Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 33:09
- Darly Bartho/Clinton Pretorius 34:27
- Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 34:41
- Emanuel Zaloumis 37:28
- Hamish Mackenzie 37:30
- Brendon Delport 39:56
- Sabina Lawrie 42:44
- Matthew Maroun 20:59
- Shane Maguire 22:17
- Jasper Gaylard 23:00
- Justin Swart/Stefan Swart 21:21
- Mark Taylor/Richard Taylor 22:09
- Jason Ward/Nigel Ward 22:12
- Nick Park-Ross 26:26
- Brandon Read 26:58
- Robbie de Billot 27:42
- Charlotte Anderson 30:19
- Lande Williamson 30:41
- Danica Bartho 32:26