A strong field of paddlers gathered at Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club for the second race of the Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series which saw Hank McGregor and Jenna Ward get themselves into the winners circle for the first time in 2017 on Friday evening.
Friday’s race was the first hit-out for current World Surfski Series champion McGregor who is currently in the build up to the 2017 Ocean Racing World Championships in Hong Kong and he was very impressed by the turn out.
“It was probably the biggest field I have ever seen for a Wall and Back race,” the ten-time Marathon World Champion said.
“My focus is now definitely on surfski paddling with the world champs in Hong Kong coming up and I have been trying out some new equipment which has been working well.
“I was glad to get the win today against some really good paddlers.”
Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ McGregor took the victory from a strong bunch of paddlers that saw Gene Prato come home in second place with Matt Bouman finishing in third.
“It’s great to be back in my ski after the world marathon champs and to get the focus back on my ocean racing,” he commented.
Friday’s race saw Euro Steel/Nelo Kayaks’ Jenna Ward register her first win of the series. Ward finished first ahead of two junior girls, Teegan Hardwick and Alice Edwards, who finished second and third respectively.
Ward, who won the Wall and Back Series in 2016, has taken strong first steps in defending her crown, and the Umhlanga resident will also be using the series as a fine-tuning exercise in her build-up to the surfski world championships in Hong Kong in November.
The first double ski home on Friday evening was the pair of Jason Ekskrand and the young Hamish Lovemore. The duo finished in second in the surfski category behind McGregor who was nearly a minute quicker.
The Wall and Back Series has also incorporated stand-up paddle boards as well as a malibu board category for 2017 and it was Nick Park-Ross and Connor Botha who took home the win’s in the SUP and malibu board section respectively.
The third race of the 2017 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series takes place at 17h17 on Friday 27 October.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series Race Two
1.Hank McGregor 33:07
2.Gene Prato 34:00
3.Matt Bouman 34:17
4.Wade Krieger 35:10
5.Brandon van der Walt 35:34
6.Steve Woods 35:49
7.Tyron Maher 36:08
8.Gavin Searle 37:55
9.Zoog Heyns 38:35
10.Rowan Matthews 39:13
1.Jenna Ward 42:31
2.Teegan Hardwick 50:53
3.Alice Edwards 51:04
1.Jason Ekstrand/Hamish Lovemore 33:57
2.Clinton Cook/Christie Mackenzie 36:11
3.Lynn Bennett/Jordan Clausen 36:43
4.Brad Pearse/William Pearce 38:14
5.Don Gabey/Skye Prato 39:07
1.Nick Park-Ross 30:32
2.Matt Swemmer 42:51
3.Lande Williamson 43:06
1.Connor Botha 29:23
2.Malec Odendaal 29:34
3.George Edward 34:33