A second Friday in a row with fantastic conditions saw another massive field turn up for race six, the HiQ Surfski Challenge, of the 2020 Marine Surfski Series at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club on Friday evening.
It was perennial series winner Hank McGregor who was far too powerful for the rest of the field as he cantered to a second consecutive win of the series and reasserted his dominance of the series and surfski paddling in Durban.
“It was an absolute pearler of an evening and the conditions were brilliant,” McGregor said. “We’ve had some tough conditions so far this year but the last two weeks have been brilliant and it showed in the turn out.
“The race was exciting with everyone in good shape with Dusi next week so it was a good dice on the first lap but then I managed to stretch the guys on the second lap and pull away to take the win.
“I then focused on catching the lead doubles so there was a bit of a race within a race which was exciting.”
McGregor is constantly getting stronger following a dose of shingles late last year that forced him to pull out of the 2019 Marathon World Championships and he feels that each race is getting him back to where he wants to be.
“Every week I feel that I am getting better and stronger,” he commented. “It feels like ages ago that we raced the Drak Challenge but I am building on that momentum and am looking forward to the rest of 2020!
“The Marine Series has always been an important gauge for me to see where my fitness levels are early in the year and I am feeling good at the moment.
“It’s going to be an exciting year of racing and I am looking forward to it.”
McGregor was challenged by Brandon van der Walt and Gene Prato on the first lap and it was Van der Walt who claimed second while Prato finished third.
In the ladies race it was young Saskia Hockly who managed to take home the women’s singles honours while the pair of Tracey van Greunen and Georgina Howard were the first double over the line
Hokly triumphed by over a minute in the singles race with Natalie Beuster finishing second and Lyn Bennett coming home in third.
Bongani Ntinga and Alex Masina were the first double home ahead of Jason Ekstrand and Soren Maretti in second and Max Howard and Jeppe Maretti in third.
The short course saw the mixed double of James Matthews and Raquel Gomes Robbins who crossed the line first with Oliver Burn and James Blackwood finishing just under a minute behind them in second while Kevin Duke and David Glassom finished third.
Thomas Ross was the first single ski over the line in the short course and he was followed home by George Edward in second and Conna Steadman in third.
Jon Ivins won the stand-up paddle board event in front of Alan Marnitz and Terrence Wulfsohn.
Race seven of the Marine Series, the annual Lettie Love Fund Surfski Challenge, takes place on Tuesday, 25 February.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – HiQ SURSKI CHALLENGE, RACE SIX MARINE SERIES
1.Hank McGregor 36:15
2.Brandon van der Walt 37:23
3.Gene Prato 38:19
4.Brendon Waters 40:00
5.M de Rauville 41:13
6.Luke Simons 41:27
7.Nicolai Thomsen 42:08
8.Matthew Elliott 42:22
9.Joshua Simpkins 42:24
10.Jarryd Walker 42:56
1.Saskia Hockly 45:25
2.Tracey van Greunen/Georgina Howard 45:23
3.Natalie Beuster 46:53
1.Bongani Ntinga/Alex Masina 36:53
2.Jason Eckstrand/Soren Maretti 37:27
3.Max Howard/Jeppe Maretti 39:37
4.Gary Waud/Glenn Hilliar 40:15
5.Clive Hockley/Ray van der Pol 40:24
1.James Matthews/Raquel Gomes Robbins 21:54
2.Oliver Burn/James Blackwood 22:40
3.Kevin Duke/David Glassom 23:01
4.Thomas Ross 23:13
5.George Edward 23:27
1.Charleen Baird 26:48
2.Monique Boshoff 27:37
3.Vanessa Mayhew/Tori Galloway 29:39
1.Jon Ivins 34:00
2.Alan Marnitz 41:10
3.Terrence Wulfsohn 42:56