Herman Chalupsky beats record field in Durban

Saturday, 14 January 2012 14:17 | Written by  Gameplan Media
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Herman Chalupsky (seen in a file photo from 2007!) Herman Chalupsky (seen in a file photo from 2007!) Credits: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

Durban – The Borland Financial Services Surfski Challenge got the 2012 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series underway on Friday evening with the vastly experienced Herman Chalupsky leading the record field of over 350 surfski paddlers across the line in testing conditions.


Chalupsky got off to a good start with Team Jeep’s Barry Lewin and then raced a conservative first half of the race before really knuckling down and edging away from his nearest competitors and claiming a victory which could possibly signal the start of formidable comeback for the paddling ace.

“Yeah it was nice to be able to get a win in today. I didn’t expect too much coming into the race as I’ve only been training a couple of times a week, mainly to try work off a couple beers more than anything else, but I enjoyed the conditions,” said Chalupsky.

“Barry (Lewin) and I got away quite nicely and we sat together for the first lap and then I managed to drop him on the second lap,” he added.

Novice-friendly series

The former great was also hugely impressed by the turn out for the first leg of the ten race series and looks forward to the new record field turning out in their droves for the remainder of the novice-friendly series.

“It’s great to see such a massive turnout for the start of the series. At one point not so long ago numbers were dropping off quite a bit but to see how big things have gotten recently is fantastic. The numbers on the line tonight was really something special!” said Chalupsky.

Meanwhile a slightly frustrated Lewin had to settle for second after struggling on the second lap of the eight kilometer course and having a rare swim on his way in to the finish with Oliver Burn claiming the final step on the podium.

Barry Lewin

Series Director Barry Lewin came second

“Conditions certainly weren’t easy this evening. We all had to punch quite a few foamies on the way out and then it was all about timing your charge through the impact zone right,” said Lewin.

“Fortunately Herman and I managed to get away from the rest quite quickly but then I just ran out of steam on the second lap, Herman came through and that was that,” he added.

Women’s Race

In the ladies race it was another legend who claimed the spoils with lifesaving great Jenna Venter coming back from the surfski wilderness however despite her lengthy layoff from the sport her form of old and many years of experience saw her comfortably across the line in first place.

“It was really awesome to be able to test my surf skills again. I haven’t been in the water for quite some time and I was actually really nervous on the startline,” said Venter.

“I’ve really missed the whole crowd and the swapping of war stories after a race so I really enjoyed being back and I will certainly be there for as many races as I can but I’m just enjoying myself and having a good time at the moment.

“It was also absolutely amazing to see so many young girls in particular getting into the water and doing really well in difficult conditions. I was really impressed and it bodes really well for the future of the sport!” she added.


In the doubles category it was the Nisbet brothers of Westville who took the top honours whilst Jeffrey Smith and Wayne Thompson were second and Warren Valentine and Ken Collins third.

Luke Nisbet

“I broke my single recently so I was just really lucky Adam offered to do tonight’s race in a double and fortunately everything managed to work out for us quite nicely,” said Luke.

“We’re doing Dusi together so I just thought a bit more time in the boat together was good for us, especially with me having been overseas for a couple weeks recently and so am down on bit of fitness. Luke was really strong in the back tonight and hopefully we can keep things going in the races to come,” added Adam.

Race two, the Billy the Bums Surfski Challenge takes place on Friday 20 January at 17h30 at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club. More info can be found at www.marineseries.co.za

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – Borland Financial Services Challenge 



  1. Herman Chalupsky 34:08
  2. Barry Lewin 35:31
  3. Oliver Burn 35:55
  4. Murray Smith 36:01
  5. Mark Lewin 37:42
  6. Matt Carlisle 38:07
  7. Shaun Austin 38:14
  8. Simon D’Aubrey 38:17
  9. Konrad Karcz 38:45
  10. Gene Prato (U18) 38:52


  1. Jenna Venter 44:46
  2. Natalie Veckranges 47:21
  3. Sharon Armstrong 52:18


  1. Luke Nisbet/Adam Nisbet 32:40
  2. Jeffrey Smith/Wayne Thompson 33:52
  3. Warren Valentine/Ken Collins 34:30

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