McGregor, Reyntjes win in Mauritius

Tuesday, 05 July 2016 14:30 | Written by 
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Hank McGregor shows his son Thorsten the way to finish a big race...! Hank McGregor shows his son Thorsten the way to finish a big race...! Credits: Pippa McGregor/JJ Fabien

Le Morne Pass, Mauritius - “I saw how wide his eyes were, and thought to myself, ‘this is serious’,” said Jasper Mocke.  His brother Dawid had been hit by a “bommie”, a massive breaking wave just outside La Prairie pass at Le Morne; his leash had broken and his surfski had blown away.

“Leave me!”

A passing kite surfer, seeing the stricken paddler, had chased after the ski.  “Jasper still had a chance at the podium and I told him to leave me,” said Dawid. 

A worried Jasper paddled back into the race, glancing back to see his swimming brother disappear into the distance.

Tamassa Resort

The Tamassa Resort, Southwest Mauritius - venue for the Investec Mauritius Ocean Classic

Lux Surfski Week - Investec Mauritius Ocean Classic 2016

This year’s MOC, the eighth and the first to be sponsored by Investec Bank, had seen perfect conditions for the entire week – the southeasterly trade winds blew every day and the paddlers reveled in the daily downwind runs from Tamassa to Le Morne.

Stellar Field

The men’s field included three-time champion Dawid Mocke (RSA), three-time (and defending) champion Hank McGregor (RSA), current ICF Ocean Racing World Champion and 2015 World Series Champion Cory Hill (Aus), Michael Booth (Aus), 2014 winner Jasper Mocke (RSA) and Matt Bouman (RSA), Mark Anderson (Aus) any of whom could make the podium. 

The women’s race was also packed with stars: Nicole Leigh Russell (who had just won the Durban Downwind at home in South Africa), defending champion Michelle Burn, three-time champ Nikki Mocke and Durban stars Jenna Ward and Hayley Arthur.  The South Africans were unaware of a dark horse in the mix too: Wendy Reyntjes from Geelong, Australia. 

Overall, this was the biggest women’s field ever with over thirty racing.

Grey hairs…

Who’d be a race director?  On Friday, a massive southwesterly swell came in, 3m/15s swells smashing and roaring onto the reefs and preventing the rescue boats operating in the unprotected area south of the island.

“It’s the kind of thing that that gives you grey hairs,” said race director Anton Erasmus.  “We have a range of abilities among the paddlers and safety is paramount.

“At one point it looked as though we might have to race inside the reef.”

Happily by Saturday morning the seas had subsided somewhat, and although the course was shortened by 3km, conditions were safe, if challenging, for the majority of the paddlers.

Clear Mauritius Waters

The paddlers head out to the start of the race - in crystal clear warm water

Race Course(s)

The race was split into two: the main course outside the reef and a gentler option inside the lagoon.

The "wild-siders" paddled 19km from the start at the resort, through the Tamassa Pass, west towards Le Morne, then in a northerly direction towards the L’Ambulante Pass and then back across the lagoon to the finish. 

 Race Course

The "Wild-siders" course

Men’s Race

Jasper Mocke was worried about his ability to compete in this race; he’d fallen sick after Molokai and still wasn’t feeling well.  Nonetheless, he hurtled off the start line, leading the men to the turn buoy before the Tamassa Reef Pass.

“I realized I wasn’t going to be able to compete at that pace,” he said.  “So I reset my expectations and aimed instead for a top 5 result – which I got so I was happy.”

Men's start

L to R: Michael Booth (Aus), Jasper Mocke (RSA), Mark Anderson (Aus), Hank McGregor (RSA) and Matt Bouman (RSA) race out from the start

Men's start

Collision

The Tamassa Reef Pass is wide and easy to navigate – but under race stress all kinds of things can happen…  As Aussie Mark Anderson found when a wave popped up out of nowhere and the foamie hit from the side, knocking him off and sending his ski careering into his neighbor, Matt Bouman.  The two remounted, but Bouman found that the collision had bent his ski’s rudder and he wasted precious seconds straightening it. 

Meanwhile Dawid Mocke had surged out through the pass at the head of the pack, immediately hooking into a couple of runs and taking the lead.

Behind him Hank McGregor had taken a slightly wider line.  “Conditions were pretty wild,” he said.  “When we got to Le Morne we came together and I was actually on the inside when Dawid got eaten by the wave."

Downwind

The paddlers enjoyed the downwind leg

Short Downwind

“The downwind section was actually quite short,” he commented.  “Dawid and I had paddled the course the day before and we agreed that we were going to have to leave something in the tank for the last section – 4km on small bumps and then 1800m into the wind and current across the lagoon to the finish.”

While Dawid Mocke swam, Hank led Cory Hill and Michael Booth around the corner and onto the flatter, protected waters as they headed north.

Aussie Michael Booth also had a swim, but managed to remount within seconds. 

“The swell coming in through Le Morne was massive!” He said. “Hank, Cory and Dawid came together in that section after Hank came in from an outside line.

“Dawid got taken out by a freak set way outside the pass. I missed those sets and took a big one to the inside putting me some 250m inside the other boys. It put me in a great position almost catching Cory and Hank as I was just behind the reef catching waves, while they were out wide catching swells.

“I nearly came unstuck with about 1km to go with a set standing up forcing me to jump off my ski and throw it over the wave. I was lucky and it was easy to recover and only cost me about 10seconds. Cory and Hank were too strong and kept pulling away from me in the small grindy bumps!

“Yeah it was an awesome race. Great conditions for the event.” he added.

Final Stretch

“About 1km from Le Morne, I pushed it and managed to open up a bit of a lead,” said Hank McGregor.  “And after that I just tried to work the bumps and got further ahead.

“Le Morne is like the turning point,” he went on.  “The race jumps to another level of intensity.”

Hank McGregor

Hank McGregor catches the shoulder of a wave on the outside of Le Morne

McGregor won by just under a minute from Cory Hill in 1:08:46.

Cory Hill

Cory Hill chases Hank McGregor on the flat protected waters heading north to L'Ambulante Pass

“What was nice to see, was the performances from some of the other paddlers like Barry Lewin and Oscar who had really good races.  Kyle Friedenstein beat Oscar for the first time.

“It’s fantastic to have such a great line up of paddlers; without them, the title just wouldn’t mean anything.

“It was a fabulous week with my wife Pippa and my son, Thorsten.”

Very Happy

“I’m very happy to have won my fourth MOC.  In fact the trophy only has two names on it: Mocke and McGregor so we’re thinking of changing it to the MockGregor Trophy,” he laughed.

Hank has had a pretty good month – four major titles in four weeks: Molokai, SA Marathon Champs, Durban Downwind and the 2016 Investec MOC.

Final leg

The last 1800m was a hard grind on flat water into the wind and current!

Long Swim

Dawid Mocke was finally reunited with his ski when Mark Anderson arrived at Le Morne.  In a display of sportsmanship, Anderson paddled across and held Mocke’s ski while the kite surfer who had been clutching it, sailed back to pick up Mocke, dragging him across to the ski.  Mocke finished in 13th place, nearly 9min adrift of the winner.

Women’s Race

Nikki Mocke lead Michelle Burn and Nikki Russell through the Tamassa Pass – but they had an unexpected companion.  The unknown (at least to the South Africans) Wendy Reyntjes was also in the group – and as they exited the pass, Reyntjes turned sharp right, on the edge of the reef and close behind the breaking surf.

Women's start

The women head out towards the Tamassa Reef Pass

Tiger Line

“She was on a serious tiger line, right on the edge of the reef,” said Nikki Mocke.  “I just thought to myself, ‘who’s that chick?  She’s flying!  And… she’s gonna die!’”

The three South Africans diced wave for wave down to Le Morne – and to their surprise, Wendy Reyntjes reappeared next to them. 

Nikki Mocke took a wide (safe) line around the corner at Le Morne, and the other three women disappeared.

On a run

Having battled with a recent flu, Michelle Burn didn’t think she would feature in the race.  “But I guess the wind put me in the mix,” she said. “The race was really enjoyable.

“As for Wendy, I didn't even know who she was since I wasn't in Tahiti for world champs,” She added. “All I know is she is very brave and took some extremely close ‘tiger’ lines off the turn outside the start pass at Tamassa, and along from the old Le Morne pass to the finish. It paid off for her and she was super strong the whole way.

“I managed to catch her about 2km from the Le Morne pass, and managed to get a couple runs ahead of her there.  After heading out deeper a bit as I was a bit shallow at the pass, I saw Nikki Russell and managed to keep them both on my tail as we rounded the pass."

Challenging Conditions

"It was massive..."

“It was massive and we were all quite close trying to catch the backline wave off the back since the runs faded out from the protection of the reef.  Shortly after the Le Morne pass I nearly got taken out by a wave, and I had to paddle out to sea to miss it. I looked back to see Wendy doing the same, but poor Nix (Russell) just stayed on the wave and caught it in...

Panicked

“I didn’t see the boat at the turn,” Nikki Russell said.  “And I just panicked and turned over the reef 750m early.”

She quickly realized what she’d done, and paddled on the inside of the reef up to the actual turning point – but the race organisers had no choice but to DQ her. 

“My heart was sore,” she said.  “I was so fit and had worked so hard for it.  But I will never make that mistake again!”

Meanwhile Wendy Reyntjes put the hammer down and inexorably drew away from Michelle Burn on the flat lagoon, beating her in the end by just 21 seconds in 1:22:41.

Reyntjes leads Burn

Reyntjies leads Burn on the protected water, heading north with the kite surfers in Le Morne Pass in the background

Investec Bank Mauritius

Investec MOC 2017

Investec Bank have signed up for a three-year sponsorship and the events team from LUX Resorts will be announcing plans for an even bigger and better event next year… Stay tuned for details.

Full Results

 "Wild-sider" Race

PositionNameTimeNotes
1 Hank McGregor 68.46  
2 Cory Hill 69.43 Aus
3 Michael Booth 70.18 Aus 
4 Jasper Mocke 71.3  
5 Barry Lewin 71.57  
6 Matt Bowman 72.2  
7 Kyle Fridenstein 72.39  
8 Oscar Chalupsky 72.44  
9 Dean Gardiner 74.33 Aus 
10 Mark Anderson 74.57 Aus 
11 Herman Chalupsky 75.12  
12 Joshua Fenn 75.23  
13 Dawid Mocke 76.09  
14 Oliver Burn 77.29  
15 Steve Woods 77.51  
16 Shaun Austin 80.26  
17 Kurt Tutt 80.54  
18 Brendon Thomson 81.08  
19 Oskar Stileau 81.38 NZ 
20 John Jacoby 82.1  
21 Wendy Reyntjes 82.41 1st Woman
22 Michelle Burn 83.02 2nd Woman
23 Keith Fenn 84.02  
24 Keithley Burn 84.1  
25 Jayme Thomson 84.33  
26 Michael Mckeogh 84.39  
27 Tim Fitzsimmons 84.44  
28 Anthony Scott Deveril 85  
29 Hayley Nixon 85.19 3rd Woman
30 Michael Shwan 85.25  
31 Colin Simpkins 85.33  
32 Hein Van Rooyen & Natalie Goedhals 86.11 1st Double
33 Simon de Speville 86.26  
34 Nikki Mocke 86.34 4th Woman
35 Jenna Ward 86.52 5th Woman
36 Brendin Currin 86.58  
37 Richard Allen 87.08  
38 Paul Vernedet 87.48  
39 Ian Carl Marais 88.14  
40 Travis Smith & Jordan Fenn 88.32 2nd Double
41 Laurence Webber 90.19  
42 Dale Jackson 90.35  
43 Gael Brain 91.43  
44 Tayne Thomson 91.48  
45 Kobus Dreyer 91.59  
46 Luke Van Es 92.1  
47 Eric Le Leuch 92.22  
48 Robert Buckley 92.56  
49 David Griffen 93.14  
50 Christopher Bartlett 93.56  
51 Martin Robinson 94.12  
52 Robert Stevenson 94.13  
53 Grant Walker 94.43  
54 Tony Lubner 94.5  
55 Murray Walters 94.54  
56 Jason Northwood 95.46  
57 Sharon Armstrong 96.15  
58 David & Rachel Symington 96.19 3rd Double
59 Jean von Loggenberg 98.53  
60 Alain Teurquetil 99.4  
61 Tricia Gilbert 100.27  
62 Greg Slingerland 100.3  
63 Barry Lewis 100.43  
64 Barry Ashwin 101.06  
65 Justin Ryan 101.44  
66 Andrew Au 102.44  
67 Craig Mc Kenzie 102.54  
68 Ryan Butcher 103.03  
69 Nicholas Yap 103.32  
70 Murray Saul 104.06  
71 Bruce Glenday 104.14  
72 David Gilmer & Michael Frizelle 104.2  
73 Douglas Florence 104.34  
74 Johan de Bryn 105.28  
75 Bernard Fisher 107.18  
76 Neil Kirkwood 110.09  
77 Roger Buck 122.48  
78 Andrew Mc Farlane 124.28  
79 Robert Wallwork 124.57  
80 Richard Vennicker 126.09  
81 Kate Fitzsimmons 127.54  
82 Danela Ashwin 129.16  
83 Tony Balshaw 131.47  
DNF Nicole Russel    

Insider Race

PositionNameTime
1 Matthew Fenn 72.35
2 Mandy Bowman 73.16
3 Mark Muller 74.58
4 Nicholas Barnes 77.03
5 Nico Smit 77.29
6 Gareth Gregory 77.3
7 Kyo Tan 78.43
8 Kate Muezner 80.05
9 Louisa van Standen 82.15
10 Charlie Dutton 82.3
11 Aya Asanuma 82.31
12 Carin Schmidt 82.58
13 David Irwin 82.32
14 Jean Luc Baptist 84.45
15 Shaun Patterson 86.08
16 Jacqueline Yanko 86.24
17 Sharon Tan 87.08
18 Tracey Wallwork 87.09
19 Mark Hickman 92.32
20 Ian Cunningham 92.34
21 Grant Wilson 93.46
22 Desiree Silva 94.48
23 Graham Patterson 98.1
24 Alec Wing 100.02
25 Morag Wilson 113.48
26 Janine Richmond 115.38

Event information

Mauritius

2 July 2016

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