Mixed double bombshell at race three

Durban – The mixed double surfski crew of Hamish Lovemore and Saskia Hockley upset the applecart by claiming overall line honours at the Thule Challenge, the third race of the popular Friday night Marine Surfski Series.

As part of the evolving Covid-19 protocols being rolled out for the series, the mass start was replaced with separate singles and doubles starts, before the short course paddlers were set on their way.

This added a new layer of intrigue as the elite singles and doubles crews had no idea how fast the leaders in the respective batches were going, and had to wait for the official results to see who had taken the overall line honours.

Lovemore and matric pupil Hockly clicked in the sublime conditions, racing a course that took them out into the southerly runs to a turn can before the return leg to Marine SLC, and won the double ski batch from perennial contenders Jason Eckstrand and Richard Lowe and the crew of Nic Burden and Paul Rabinowitz.

“That was a great dice for the Peacock bragging rights!” said Lovemore, referring to Jason Eckstrand, who won last week’s race with his partner Richard Lowe.

They were stunned to learn that their race time was five seconds faster than Hank McGregor, who won the single ski batch on his first outing at the Friday night series this year, cantering away from last weeks winner Matt Bouman and Gene Prato.

“In fact the banter all this week in the MacSquad training group has centred on the Marine Series race. I even had a bet going with Hank McGregor to see who would be first boat home!” said Lovemore.

The partnership of training group colleagues Lovemore and Hockly proved to be peerless as they took the lead once they were in the downwind leg, setting up a race winning lead by the time they reached the northern turn can off the Bike & Bean.

“Saskia was so strong!” said Lovemore. “When we turned into the home headwind leg I asked her if she wanted to take it a bit easier as I was tired, but she did the opposite. She asked to pick it up on the way back to the finish. She is an absolute machine.”

A mixed double crew winning the race overall is a rare feat, and sent the organisers of the worlds longest running surfski series scrambling for the record books to see if it has ever happened before.

Seasoned surfski ace Michelle Burn continued her winning ways in the series with an emphatic win in the women’s race, aided by her rival Jenna Ward opting to paddle with her brother Jason. Valmajean Hockly was fully value for her second place in the women’s race after her maiden win last week, with Tannah Smith making up the women’s virtual podium.

The short course, which again featured a number of Stand Up Paddleboarders, was won by the charging Kwanele Banda, while Murray James and Jeanne Grace took the SUP honours.

Race Four takes place this coming Friday night 5 March at 5:30pm.

1 Saskia Hockly/Hamish Lovemore 0:33:31.00
2 Hank McGregor 0:33:36.05
3 Jason Ekstrand/Richard Lowe 0:34:19.00
4 Nic Burden/Paul Rabinowitz 0:34:19.05
5 Matthew Bouman 0:34:26.05
6 Gene Prato 0:34:54.09
7 Bevan Manson 0:35:08.00
8 Brandon Van Der Walt 0:35:25.00
9 Colin Simpkins/Joshua Simpkins 0:35:55.05
10 Bruce Wenke/Clinton Cook 0:36:15.05
11 Dave Harker/Steven Schnell 0:36:17.05
12 Benjamin Bradford/Trevor Maher/Quintus vd Merwe 0:36:17.09
13 Jason Ward/Jenna Ward 0:36:18.09
14 Shaun Burgin/Lance Howarth 0:36:19.00
15 Wayne Jacobs 0:36:23.00
16 Conna Steadman 0:36:50.00
17 Jean Luc Mauvis 0:37:31.00
18 Mhlengi Mngadi/Kwanele Mngoma 0:37:42.00
19 Grant Van Der Walt 0:37:45.00
20 Brad Pearse/Craig Coombe 0:38:07.00
1 Michelle Burn 0:39:41.00
2 Valmajean Hockly 0:44:48.00
3 Tannah Smith 0:45:14.00

1 Kwanele Banda 0:24:06.00
2 Jordan Deeble 0:25:30.00
3 Greg Vogt/Sara Agostini 0:26:28.00
4 Wandile Dube 0:26:32.00
5 Vince King 0:27:00.00
6 Clint Lawson/Gemma Lawson 0:27:19.00
7 Kate Clarence 0:27:24.00
8 Mikaila Brown 0:27:37.00
9 Keith Ward 0:28:00.00
10 Deon Woodley 0:28:09.00

1 Murray James 0:39:51.00
2 Jeanne Grace 0:42:21.00

Updated: February 27, 2021 — 9:50 am
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