McGregor retains SA Surfski title

2012-12-17 00:00

FISH HOEK — Paddling superstar Hank McGregor overcame a world- class field to successfully defend his South African S1 Surfski Championships title in the Cape Town Downwind race yesterday, while locally based Dawid Mocké followed as he retained his position at the top of the Oceanpaddler World Surfski Series standings.

With conditions being relatively unhelpful, paddlers were forced to grind away at the 18km course from Miller’s Point to Fish Hoek Beach and a sprint finish always looked likely.

True to form though, McGregor opted to take the race into his own hands and a bold move with six kilometres to go gave the defending champ a rare advantage.

“I’m obviously stoked to have been able to defend my SA title and to have won a big event like this is great,” said McGregor.

“To have won the final leg of the World Series also puts me in really good stead going forward and gives me some good momentum as I look to focus on surfski a little more in 2013.

“I got a bit of a fright early on when I got a piece of kelp stuck on my rudder heading out to the turning can and when I couldn’t shake it, I really thought I was going to have to jump off my ski. Fortunately, it came loose as we turned, by which stage I was quite a long way off the pace, but this probably actually helped me in the long run because it helped me focus on working my way back to the front.”

With a light south-easter and not much swell to work with, taking one’s opportunity and capitalising on any window of opportunity given by competitors became crucial and when McGregor (Team Best 4 Kayak Centre) made his move a kilometre before the Roman Rock lighthouse, he made sure it counted.

The women’s race saw local top performer Nikki Mocké overcame Plettenberg Bay based Michéle Eray and Durban’s Michelle Burn to claim the national title.

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