3 weeks ago

King of the Bay
Hank McGregor unstoppable in tough harbour raceDurban - Hank McGregor ended a highly successful paddling month of May by winning the iconic Bay Union King of the Bay surfski race in tough, blustery conditions off Durban on Sunday.A week after his successful national marathon championships in Cape Town, the 43-year-old powered away from a class field to win by almost a minute from Matt Bouman, with Gene Prato making up the balance of the podium.Racing across Durban harbour in bumpy conditions and then into a contrasting open ocean sector that featured good runs on the downwind leg to the uMngeni River mouth followed by a brutal slog home into the teeth of the strengthening wind, McGregor took the lead from a big bunch after leaving the harbour mouth, and never relaxed his grip on the race."The wind was building the whole time!" said McGregor. "There were some really nice runs going down to the river mouth, then it was just a hard slog home."I got to the turn can at the river mouth in front and just built on the lead from there," the Team Euro Steel/Fenn racer said.McGregor has been named in the national team for the surfski world championships scheduled for Lanzarote in Spain in July, as well as a the national marathon team to Romania in September.Michaelhouse schoolboys Jack Edmonds and Murray Behn won the double ski honours, handing a first defeat of the winter surfski series to the form crew of Shane Millward and Carl Folscher.Junior Saskia Hockly laid down another marker in her impressive rise through the female paddling ranks by winning the women's race outright, with her younger sister Valmajean and Tannah Smith completing a notable all-junior podium."The harbour leg was very choppy," said Hockly, who, like McGregor, has won seats in both the national marathon and surfski teams to this year's world championships."The downwind leg was really enjoyable, but coming back into the wind was terrible!" said the Danville Park Girl's High School pupil."Speeds dropped right down and you just had to try and find a happy place and tell yourself you are going to make it," she added.The women's doubles spoils went to Jordan Peek and Pippa McGregor, with the runner-ups berth secured by the returning-to-form Hayley Nixon and her partner Hilary Bruss.Kwandokuhle Mzolo and Wongama Makasi won the short course, which involved heading straight to Vetch's Beach on exiting the harbour mouth, in a tight tussle with the crew of Ian Hemingway and Dusi icon Thulani Mbanjwa.The winter surfski series shifts its attention to the Pirates-Umhlanga-Pirates classic in two weeks time.Pics: Anthony Grote Digital MediaSUMMARY OF RESULTSBAY UNION KING OF THE BAY1 Hank McGregor 1:34:32.22 2 Matthew Bouman 1:35:22.23 3 Gene Prato 1:38:01.21 4 Kyle Friedenstein 1:40:09.37 5 Bevan Manson 1:40:34.95 6 Jason Ekstrand 1:41:46.13 7 Jean Luc Mauvis 1:45:00.80 8 Joshua Simpkins 1:46:22.34 9 Brad Pearse 1:48:23.61 10 Brendon Waters 1:49:54.87 WOMEN1 Saskia Hockly 1:56:14.58 2 Valmajean Hockly 2:06:23.90 3 Tannah Smith 2:11:59.09 DOUBLES 1 Murray Behn/Jack Edmonds 1:43:35.64 2 Shane Millward/Carl Folscher 1:43:53.55 3 Quinton Rutherford/Derek Hompes 1:43:58.94 4 Lee Furby/Barry Painting 1:46:20.44 5 Linton Hope/Bruce Wenke 1:47:21.67 6 Luke Symons/Bradley Boulle 1:47:55.94 7 Jordan Peek/Pippa McGregor 1:49:27.69 8 Benjamin Tarr/Angus Dick 1:50:51.99 9 Craig Cook/Nicholas Cook 1:50:57.05 10 Dave Harker/Theo Smit 1:51:11.85 WOMEN1 Jordan Peek/Pippa McGregor 1:49:27.69 2 Hayley Nixon/Hilary Bruss 1:53:34.03 3 Julia Mcalister/Chelsey O'Brien 2:03:38.14SHORT COURSE 1 Kwandokuhle Mzolo/Wongama Makasi 0:43:20.49 2 Ian Hemingway/Thulani Mbanjwa 0:43:25.22 3 Gavin Dundas-Starr/Tamzin Gace 0:46:11.45 4 Garnett Wilson/Tyler Wilson 0:46:35.44 5 Wim Van Herzeele/Sara Agostini 0:46:42.01 6 Richard Tandy/Vallon Kupferberg 0:48:06.84 7 Matthew Coetzer/Grace Coetzer 0:48:31.81 8 Murray Mackenzie/Kevin Oliver 0:48:54.27 9 Matthew Hollinshead/Jonathan Hollinshead 0:49:00.26 10 Wally Bodin/Jeff Schaller 0:49:27.16 ... See MoreSee Less
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4 weeks ago

King of the Bay
Surfski paddlers eager for annual harbour raceDurban - Surfski paddlers will gather at the Silt Canal at the Durban Harbour Bayhead on Sunday morning ahead of the start of the popular annual Bay Union (Pty) Ltd King of the Bay surfski race, which is the only chance in the year that surfski paddlers get to paddle across and out of the Durban harbour mouth.The iconic 26km race from the old Stella clubhouse across the harbour to a turn buoy off the uMngeni River and back to the DUC clubhouse at Vetch’s Beach always attracts the cream of the surfski racers and a large social paddling field.Race organiser Neels Meyer of Stella Canoe Club has assured paddlers that the race has measures in place to ensure full compliance with the Canoeing South Africa Covid-19 protocols, and said he was confident of the paddlers full co-operation.He stressed that the pre-race check procedure would be different to avoid congestion and that paddlers would be required to check into a number of batch pounds for screening, and would be required to wear masks until their batches are called to the water.“There has been good compliance at the Winter Surfski Series so far, and I am confident that we can count on the paddlers and their seconders to keep that up,” said Meyer.He asked paddlers to plan around a drop-and-go system at the Bayhead area as parking was very limited and spectators were not allowed at the start and finish venues.The Bay Union King of the Bay is the fourth race in the Winter Series and is the first of the three longer races that head out into the open ocean.“All the paddlers doing the long course which goes down to the river mouth and back after exiting the harbour will be expected to have their phones in a dry-bag with SafeTrx loaded onto their phones,” said Meyer.“This has become the standard for open-ocean races and paddlers understand that this is the best way to look after their safety,” he added.He added that rules specific to the unusual race across the harbour also needed to be adhered to.“While we have permission to paddle across the harbour, the paddlers need to stay off the shipping lane, especially staying left as they exit the harbour mouth, and to be vigilant at the point where they cross the shipping lane,” said Meyer.He also pointed out that paddlers were not allowed to exit their skis to run across the sandbank near the container terminal.The well-supported Winter Series gradually builds in race distance to help paddlers training for the iconic open-ocean races later in the season, starting with the Pirates-Umhlanga-Pirates on 12 June and culminating in the Scottburgh2Brighton marathon on the last weekend in June. ... See MoreSee Less
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