Adventure Sport

McGregor hungry for glory

2011-06-21 15:31
Hank McGregor (File)
Durban - Double champion Hank McGregor has set his sights on a third victory in his hometown surfski international when the Dunlop Surfski World Cup gets underway on Sunday.

When he looks back on his record McGregor, who famously hates losing, sees the Durban World Cup as being half empty rather than half full.

"I have raced four Dunlop Durban Surfski World Cups and won two," he says. "I lost one to Oscar Chalupsky that year we had had to cross the harbour and I lost to Dawid Mocké last year. This year I want to get back to the top step on the podium."

McGregor is in superb form as he builds towards the defence of his title in the tough four day Windhoek Berg River Canoe Marathon in the Cape on the occasion for that race's 50th anniversary. It's a far cry from the dejected athlete who failed in last year's World Cup.

With his Canoeing SA suspension overturned less than 48 hours before the 2010 Dunlop Surfski World Cup, McGregor made the muster and dictated proceedings before blowing spectacularly less than ten kilometres from the finish at Winklespruit.

"My lack of fitness showed for sure," he recalls. "I was there in heart but not in body."

"This year I want to bounce back. This is my turf and my World Cup," he adds ominously after dominant performance over the classy likes of Matt Bouman and Barry Lewin in the regional winter Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series.

It is going to be juggernaut month for McGregor as he plans to take the biggest cheques on offer in the Surfski World Cup and the lucrative Windhoek Berg sixteen days later. "I am being tempted to go to Mauritius to defend my title there as well, but I am not sure yet if that is a good idea," says McGregor.

McGregor is not afraid of the prospect of a tough grind in the World Cup should the downwind conditions fail to materialise.

"I would actually prefer it if there wasn't a huge swell," he says. "When the swell is big you actually don't know where the other paddlers are until you hit the beach, and even then you have to ask someone whether you have won or not."

McGregor is also aware that any one of at least eight paddlers could win the race this year, including a very powerful Cape challenge that includes defending champ Dawid Mocké, his younger brother Jasper, Molokai runner up Tom Schilperoort and Sean Rice, as well as Eastern Cape strongman Richard von Wildemann.

"Seriously, don't downplay Clint Pretorius' chances," says McGregor. "The 'laaitie' has been training like crazy and he would not enter of he didn't think he had a chance of winning."

The Surfski World Cup starts at Marine SLC, Addington Beach on Sunday 26 June, and covers 26km to either Umdhloti or Amanzimtoti.

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