Adventure Sport

Eray eyes top Surfski title

2011-06-22 10:45
Michele Eray (File)

Johannesburg - Olympic canoeist Michele Eray hopes to go one better than last year, when she narrowly lost out to fellow South African Nikki Mocke, at the Dunlop Surfski World Cup in Durban on Sunday.

Eray was locked in a duel with Mocke in the 2010 race and seemed to have it well under control, but as they neared the finish at Winklespruit, Mocke scampered up the beach and pulled clear to clinch gold.

"I have dissected that race so many times to work out what went wrong," Eray said on Thursday.

She said she had focussed on training for next month's Berg River Canoe Marathon, but was not worried that most of her time had been spent in a kayak rather than a surfski.

"Actually my K1 feels a lot like my Nelo ski, so I am not unhappy about where I am," she said.

Eray, the 2009 Surfski World Cup champion, pleaded for the organisers to allow the women to start separately from the men in future events.

"It is so difficult for the top girls in a race like the World Cup because we get seeded in a back batch and we race through the field," she said.

"In no time at all we are not only mixed up with guys from other batches but we also have no idea where the other girls are in the race.

"One day, maybe one day, we will be allowed to start 30 minutes ahead of the guys in our own batch, and race purely against each other. I hope it happens during my time."

She said she looked forward to the new 26km leg, shortened by six kilometres from previous events.

"It will be a lot tighter and there will be a closer bunch of girls together at the finish if the race is shorter, which will be exciting."

And while another strong challenge was expected from Mocke, Eray predicted a tight battle between a number of competitors in the women's race.

"Watch out for Ruth Highman from Perth. She enjoys a good downwind," Eray said.

"I am also sure that Michelle Eder and Tiffany Kruger will be strong from their sprint training, and Donna Winter is really fit."


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