Durban - Hank McGregor made good on his promise to start the 2019 Marine Surfski Series with a bang by delivering a commanding performance in winning the 8km Season Starter in benign ocean conditions on Friday night.
Showing impressive base form as he prepares for the N3TC Drak Challenge and Dusi season, the Fenn Kayaks/Euro Steel star romped home more than a minute clear of the evergreen Matt Bouman, with Gene Prato making up the balance of the overall podium a further minute back.
"It is great to take a win against a good competitive field, with the likes of Matt Bouman, Gene Prato and Wade Krieger always making the racing interesting in Durban ," said McGregor.
"The conditions were fantastic," he enthused. "I don't Durban could have produced a better evening for the first race.
"I was stoked to take the win and I hope I can keep this shape and performance for the rest of the series," he added.
In the women's race Jenna Ward revealed how much training she has been doing over the holiday season by posting an impressive win over Michele Burn and Kyeta Purchase.
"It was a great way to start the year's racing with a win," said Euro Steel team racer Ward.
"I got away well with Michele (Burn) and Kyeta (Purchase) on the first North East lap, and on the second lap, after trying to catch some bumps I got a little bit of a lead and managed to hold onto it.
"I was really excited to be back racing on the sea, and it was good to get the racing nerves out of the way before the 50 Miler on the weekend.
"I think it is going to be a very competitive year for women's paddling," she added.
Brett and Cyndi Hadiaris won the doubles race from Gavin Searle and Grant Smith and the father-and-son crew of Copper and Josh Simpkins.
The event was supported by a big field of paddlers, entrenching the popularity of the summer Friday evening series.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
1 Hank McGregor 0:24:422 Matthew Bouman 0:25:083 Gene Prato 0:26:254 Steve Woods 0:26:344 Lance Wyly 0:26:345 Matthew Fenn 0:26:396 Tyron Maher 0:26:497 Hamish Lovemore 0:27:168 Hamish Mackenzie 0:27:199 Lee McGregor 0:27:2110 Brendon Delport 0:27:44
1 Jenna Ward 0:30:252 Michelle Burn 0:30:413 Kyeta Purchase 0:31:094 Cara Waud 0:34:065 Alice Edward 0:34:49
1 Brett Hadiaris/Cyndi-Mae Hadiaris 0:25:402 Gavin Searle/Grant Smith 0:27:093 Colin Simpkins/Joshua Simpkins 0:27:184 Nic Burden/Colin Burden 0:27:595 Skye Prato/Don Gobey 0:28:116 Claudio Manfron/Craig Bruton 0:28:367 Steve Evans/Nigel Oxenham 0:29:138 Warren Valentine/Reece Valentine 0:29:439 Danica Bartho/Donna Winter 0:30:00 (1st Women's S2)
1 Matthew Swemmer 0:21:432 Brendon Germaine 0:24:283 Jackie De Billot 0:24:534 Karisa Grace 0:26:565 Jeanne Grace 0:27:026 Alan Marnitz 0:31:11
1 Shaun Burgin/Paige Dennison 0:16:142 Sean Uys/Daniel Uys 0:16:463 Sabina Lawrie And Daniel Lawrie 0:17:044 Justin Swart/James Swart 0:17:075 Bruce Pender-Smith 0:17:086 Lungelo Shange 0:17:197 Ntombela Minenhle 0:17:208 Simon Grolt/Chiristopher Grolt 0:17:249 Greg Worthington/Natascha Chitlenden 0:17:2610 Scott Wilkinson/Travis Wilkinson 0:17:38
The second race of the Marine Surfski Series is this Friday 18 January.
More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za.
Marine Surfski Series 2019 Calendar:
Race 2 - 18 January: Race Two
Race 3 - 25 January: Borland Surfski Challenge Presented by Marriott
Race 4 - 1 February: Thule Surfski Challenge
Race 5 - 8 February: Race Five
Race 6 - 12 February: Lettie Love Fund Surfski Challenge
Race 7 - 22 February: Funky Pants Surfski Challenge
Race 8 - 1 March: Gara Surfski Challenge
Race 9 - 8 March: HiQ Surfski Challenge
Race 10 - 15 March: Race 10