This past Friday October 20th saw 75 local paddlers take on the 8km course from the Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club to the Durban Harbour Wall and back in Race 2 of the Wall and Back Surfski Series.
Ten-time World Marathon and current World Surfski Series champ, Hank McGregor (Jeep Team/Gara Paddles/Euro Steel), racing in his first surfski race since winning the Gara Dolphin Coast Challenge, and claiming the South African Doubles Surfski title in August, once again showed his ocean paddling prowess, powering home a win in a time of 33:07.
Second place in the men’s race went to Gene Prato in a time of 34:00, with Matt Bouman just 17 seconds behind in third place in 34:17.
“It’s been a while since I’ve raced in Durban on my ski and it was flipping awesome!” commented McGregor.
McGregor, one of the finest all-round paddlers in history with multiple South African and World surfski and flat-water titles to his name, now shifts his focus to surfski paddling in preparation for the 2017 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Hong Kong from 18-19 November.
In the women’s race, 2016 Series winner, Jenna Ward, put on a powerful performance to finish some 8 minutes ahead of second-place finisher, Teegan Hardwick, and Alice Edwards in third.
On Sunday, McGregor lined up at the start for the last race of the Da’Real Downwind Series – a 30km downwind race from Durban Underwater Club on Vettie’s Beach to Toti Main Beach. The current World Surfski Series champ out-paddled long-time rival, Matt Bouman, to take his second win for the weekend. Third place in the men’s race went to veteran surfski ace, Herman Chalupsky.
The women’s race was won by Olympic medallist, Bridgitte Hartley, ahead of Friday’s race winner, Jenna Ward in second, and Sharon Armstrong in third.
Race 3 of the Wall and Back series takes place on the 27th of October.
Results – Wall and Back Race 2
- Hank McGregor 00:33:07
- Gene Prato 00:34:00
- Matt Bouman 00:34:17
- Jenna Ward 00:42:31
- Teegan Hardwick 00:50:53
- Alice Edwards 00:51:04
Results – Da’Real Downwind Series Race 4
- Hank McGregor
- Matthew Bouman
- Herman Chalupsky
- Bridgitte Hartley
- Jenna Ward
- Sharon Armstrong