McGregor and Burn claim Bay Union Surfski spoils

2013-08-12 00:00

HANK McGregor and Michelle Burn brought the curtain down in style on the popular Bay Union Surfski Series as they blitzed their way to victory in the Bay Union Reef Challenge presented by Durban Undersea Club (DUC), the third and final leg of the series.

They earned themselves the overall series spoils before the pair added the men’s Bay Union Shoot-out title to their collection as well.

The final battle of the series, staged at DUC for the first time ever, was a hard fought one of four short, sharp laps. Despite efforts from Grant van der Walt (Team Jeep/Varsity College), Matt Bouman (Epic Kayaks), Brandon van der Walt (Team Jeep) and Barry Lewin (Team Jeep/Varsity College), it was McGregor who cruised to victory to make it win number three of the three-race affair.

Having then eased through the heat and semi-final of the novel Bay Union Shoot-out, presented by DUC, a surfski sprint-type event around Durban’s landmark Vetchies Reef, McGregor (Team Fenn) then managed to claw his way back from the worst possible start in the final to edge out a determined Bouman and take the shoot-out spoils as well.

In the day’s feature race, it was Brandon van der Walt who completed the first lap first, claiming the Lion of Africa Insurance hotspot prize in the process, before bac-and-forth racing between the lead group ultimately saw McGregor claim the spoils.

“I could not believe it when I fell out,” explained a flabbergasted McGregor afterwards. “I hopped in, took my first stroke, but my paddle blade was skew so over I went.

“I hopped back on, but the others were gone and I had to work as hard as I possibly could to get back up to them. Fortunately I managed to close the gap, stuck with them run for run coming back down and then I had the inside line on the final turn so I was pretty relieved to take the win in the end.” he added.

The novel idea saw paddlers dice it out over a short, 800 m triangular course with winner taking all in the age groups while a process of elimination finally saw the top four battle it out in the senior men’s category.

Having wrapped up second place in the day’s feature race, Grant van der Walt was then forced into third place in the shoot-out by Bouman although a storming, creative effort from Van der Walt’s younger brother, Brandon, tested the judges somewhat.

Having turned the final buoy in fourth place, instead of paddling along the shoreline and through the finish line, a route that would have guaranteed he remained behind Bouman and his older brother, Brandon opted to beach early and run the final 150 metres.

Much to the delight of the crowd the youngster’s efforts saw him narrowly edge out the other two. This move was, however, unfortunately deemed against the rules as paddlers were required to finish in the water, and hence he was relegated to fourth.

In the women’s sprint out, it was once again Burn, Danica Bartho and Jenna Ward (Varsity College) who claimed first, second and third. Gene Prato (Glenwood High School) took the juniors title, Quinton Rutherford the over 40 men, Oscar Chalupsky the over 50 men and Oliver Burn and Warren Beuster the doubles title.

“It was great to win the main race and the series title today and then the shoot-out was great fun and definitely something I’d love to see more of,” said Burn.

Results: 1. Hank McGregor 37.16, 2. Grant van der Walt 37.26, 3. Matt Bouman 37.44, 4. Brandon van der Walt 38.14, 5. Barry Lewin 39.43.

Women: 1. Michelle Burn 43.38, 2. Danica Bartho 46.01, 3. Jenna Ward 47.34.

Shoot-out: 1. Hank McGregor, 2. Matt Bouman, 3. Grant van der Walt, 4. Brandon van der Walt, 5. Barry Lewin.

Women: 1. Michelle Burn

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