Adventure Sport

McGregor claims Surfski series

2011-07-10 16:36
Hank McGregor (File)
Durban - Having already secured this year's Dunlop Surfski World Cup title Hank McGregor added the 2011 Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series to his hugely impressive list of paddling achievements despite not being able to take part in the tenth and final leg of the series.

McGregor, currently in the Cape ahead of his title defence of the Windhoek Berg canoe marathon which gets underway on Tuesday, stamped his authority on the series when he won all five of the races he took part in and looked in sublime form throughout.

"I'm really chuffed to have been able to take the series and to have won both the Varsity College series and this one in the same year is really great!" said McGregor.

"I'm not able to take part in as many races as I would like to but every race I do participate in I give my all and fortunately Neptune was on my side this year and five races counted which meant my five wins was enough," he added.

With a couple of the other top paddlers also unavailable for this week's HiQ Marine surfski race, many of the series' next tier of paddlers were eager to earn themselves some crucial last minute points and finish this year's unusual series on a positive note.

Typical winter conditions made a welcome return to Durban bay and Grant van der Walt lead the field around the 12km course from start to finish and showed just why he is held in such high regard by many in the paddling fraternity.

"I haven't been able to race much recently and I've really missed it so it was really awesome to be back in the ski again!" said van der Walt.

"I'm not quite used to the distance so it was a little tough but the surf turns along the beachfront were such good fun and broke things up nicely," he added.

Despite van der Walt's recent absence due to sprint commitments he finished comfortably ahead of the rest of the field with Mark Mulder narrowly edging out Oliver Burn from Amanzimtoti for second spot a little way behind.

Last year's champion Matt Bouman's consistently strong performances saw him claim the series' runners-up prize whilst Umhlanga's Barry Lewin claimed the bottom step on the podium overall.

In the ladies section has been all Donna Winter throughout the series and even though she too missed the closing race the well experienced paddler deservedly claimed the 2011 Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series title.

"I started a little slowly having been not been able to paddle for a while but I was happy with how I progressed throughout the series and to have won overall is really fantastic," said Winter.

"It obviously would have been nice to have had a little more competition in the ladies section this year but a win's a win nonetheless and I'm really chuffed with the result," she added.

In the doubles section it was another strong performance by Brett Hadiaris and Ross Fountain which saw them take the win whilst in the short course Tim Drummond edged out Luke Steenkamp in the singles section and Wayne and Eiljah Symington claimed the doubles race.

With the series having wrapped up those brave souls now turn their attention towards next week's 46.5km Discovery Scottburgh to Brighton surfski race which gets underway at 07h00 from Scottburgh's main beach and will test paddlers' endurance and mental toughness like few other races.



Long Course - Men

1.Grant van der Walt 57.29
2.Mark Mulder 1:00.50
3.Oliver Burn 1:00.53
4.Quinton Rutherford 1:01.09
5.Shadrack Mkhize 1:04.16
6.Stuart Waterworth 1:05.17
7.Shaun Austin 1:06.11
8.Mark Lewin 1:06.47
9.Andrew Neal 1:06.57
10.Warren Beuster 1:07.07

Long Course - Women

1.Sharon Armstrong 1:23.26
2.Anna Clifford Arwidi 1:25.57
3.Thea van der Westhuizen 1:26.18

Long Course - Juniors

1.Gene Prato 1:07.49
2.Lyall Whitehead 1:09.37
3.Calvin McKie 1:14.23

Long Course - Doubles

1.Brett Hadiaris/Ross Fountain 1:02.11
2.Mark Ussher/David Chaplin 1:03.19
3.Gary Waud/Glenn Hilliar 1:03.23

Short Course - Singles

1.Tim Drummond 34.36
2.Luke Steenkamp 34.56
3.Alaistair Urquhart 37.07

Short Course - Doubles

1.Wayne Symington/Elijah Symington 34.26

Read more on:    hank mcgregor

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