Adventure Sport

McGregor on song at Surfski

2012-02-04 11:57
Hank McGregor (Photo: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media)
Durban - Series defending champ Hank McGregor made his first appearance in the 2012 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series count as he overcame an exceptional field to claim the spoils in race four, the Thule Surfski Challenge on Friday evening.

With The Unlimited Dusi just weeks away the Ballito based McGregor has spent many hours in the river in recent months however race four of the ten race series signalled a strong return to the ocean for the paddling ace and once again showed the versatility of the man as he made the transition from one discipline to the other with ease.

“With Dusi just around the corner I haven’t been able to jump into the ski for quite a while. The last time I paddled on the ocean was in Cape Town at the Fenn Cape Point Challenge and I still had the wrapping on my ski from then twenty minutes before tonight’s race,” said McGregor.

“It was great to get back out there though and it’s always nice to start a series with a win and especially when you’re up against such a quality field as what we had tonight! Hopefully now I can just keep things going and try my best to get six races in,” he added.

Having set the early pace a disappointed Bouman came home in second ahead of Varsity College student Grant van der Walt in third.

“I was feeling really good early on so I just went at a pace that I was feeling comfortable at and when I turned around I saw Hank (McGregor) was the only one who had come with me,” explained Bouman. “He then came past me on our way back and opened up a bit of a gap which unfortunately I just couldn’t close.”

“It was great having everyone here tonight. This is far more fun because you can’t ever just settle into a rhythm. There’s always someone looking to go or try something at various times so you always have to be on your toes. It’s just a pity I finished second again tonight,” he added.

Last week’s winner Grant van der Walt put in a solid performance but had to work hard to earn the final spot on the podium with Cape based Jasper Mocke, fresh off a commendable second place in the Australian Perth Doctor, and his younger brother Brandon snapping at his heels in the closing stages of the eight km race.

“I’m up for the Inanda to Durban race this weekend and then will be here until Dusi so surfski is definitely not my focus for this trip but it’s always great to be able to come to Durban and try take on the guys again,” said Mocke.

“It was just so tough tonight. The guys up here are incredibly strong at the moment and right from the first stroke I knew it was going to be a long eight kilometres!” he added.

It was a very similar state of affairs in the ladies race as the series defending champ came to the fore against a powerful women’s field. Last week’s winner Michelle Eder showed her class as she crossed the line first ahead of lifesaving legend Jenna Venter and Natalie Veckranges.

“In these conditions it’s so important that you get a good start and luckily I managed to get onto the wave of one of the doubles early on and so I opened up a bit of a gap which then meant I could ease off a little later on once I started to get a bit tired,” said Eder.

“I really had to work hard though and it was even tougher with it being so warm out there but it was really great to have all the girls back this week and hopefully we can have some really big women’s fields in the next few weeks,” she added.

The mighty Nisbet brothers once again claimed the spoils in the doubles race however the pair were made to work far harder this time around as the vastly experienced pair of Brett Challenor and Brett Bartho pushed them all the way to the line.

The manageable nature of the series and perfect paddling conditions once again produced a massive turnout for the short course where Jabin Lyons narrowly edged ahead of Mthembeni Mkize whilst the man of moment Ryan Roberts once again clinched a top three finish in just his first surfski season.

A balmy Durban evening was enjoyed by both paddlers and supporters alike as once again entries bordered on the three hundred mark whilst numerous friends and family members soaked up all the action from the sand.

The Hansa Surfski Challenge, race five of the Varsity College Marine Surfski Series takes place at 17h30 on 10 February. More info can be found at





1.Hank McGregor 34.42
2.Matt Bouman 34.51
3.Grant van der Walt 34.55
4.Jasper Mocke 35.09
5.Brandon van der Walt 36.42
6.Oliver Burn 38.20
7.Murray Smith 38.33
8.Herman Chalupsky 38.52
9.Scott Rutherford 39.18
10.Michael Collins 39.26


1.Michelle Eder 41.18
2.Jenna Venter 44.35
3.Natalie Veckranges 44.55


1.Adam Nisbet/Luke Nisbet 34.43
2.Brett Challenor/Brett Bartho 34.46
3.Jeffery Smith/Wayne Thompson 35.59



1.Jabin Lyons 23.34
2.Mthembeni Mkhize 23.48
3.Ryan Roberts 24.22


1.Wayne Symington/Elijah Symington 23.50
2.Steve Kitto/Philip Colepeper 23.54
3.Craig Jessop/Thomas Jessop 23.56

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