King of Surfski wins FNB Durban Downwind
DURBAN – The King of surfski, Hank McGregor (Jeep Team), continues his reign of back-to-back victories, this time winning the FNB Durban Downwind Surfski title in Durban on Sunday, 26 June 2016. This is the first time McGregor has won this title since race inception in 2014.
The third edition of the annual race, which doubled as a World Surfski Series title event, took place in flat ocean conditions, testing paddlers’ endurance and stamina as they raced 26km from La Mercy Beach to Addington Beach.
McGregor set the pace from the start claiming the FNB Durban Downwind title in 1h44m50.
Last year’s winner, Matthew Bouman, placed 2nd in 1h45m54, followed by Mark Anderson in 3rd (1h48m54), Gene Prato 4th (1h49m27) and Jeep Team’s Barry Lewin in 5th (1h50m40).
Said McGregor, “I’m stoked to take the win this time around. I narrowly lost it two years ago so it’s nice to win the Durban Downwind for the first time. I was in hospital on Friday so it was a hit and miss whether I was going to race but I’m glad I was able to get out there. Conditions were pretty tough. There was hardly any assistance really so it was a hard slog for 26kms. I managed to get out in front early and then kept the guys behind me for the rest of the race. There weren’t too many tactics involved really.”
It’s been a busy month for paddling legend, McGregor, with back-to-back victories across surfski and canoe marathon paddling disciplines. On 29 May 2016, he claimed his third Maui Jim Molokai Surfski Challenge title in Hawaii. This 53km surfski ultra marathon is considered the world’s toughest surfski event.
Just days after this victory, and still recovering from jet lag, McGregor won the world’s oldest surfski event, the Illovo Pirates Umhlanga Pirates Surfski Race, which took place in Durban on 5 June.
He then swapped his surfski for a canoe to claim the K1 2016 South African Canoe Marathon Championship, which took place in Cape Town on 11 June. This result means he has qualified for the 2016 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, happening in Brandenburg, Germany, in September.
Now he’s on his way to Mauritius for the 2016 Mauritius Ocean Classic World Surfski Series race, taking place on 2 July 2016. Jeep Team team mate, Barry Lewin will also be competing in the Mauritius Ocean Classic.
2016 FNB DURBAN DOWNWIND RESULTS
- Hank McGregor 1:44.50
- Matt Bouman 1:45.54
- Mark Anderson (AUS) 1:48.54
- Gene Prato 1:49.27
- Barry Lewin 1:50.40
- Luke Nisbet 1:50.52
- Bailey de Fondaumiere (U18) 1:52.35
- Jason Ekstrand 1:53.06
- Steve Woods 1:53.43
- Wade Krieger 1:54.10