International flavour savours Durban Downwind Series finale

It was another dominant performance from Fenn Kayak's Michelle Burn who cruised to victory at the 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Surfski Race on Saturday which was the fifth and final race of the 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Series.

It was another dominant performance from Fenn Kayak’s Michelle Burn who cruised to victory at the 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Surfski Race on Saturday which was the fifth and final race of the 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Series. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Durban – The final race of the 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Series saw some fantastic downwind conditions as paddlers made their way from La Mercy on the North Coast to the Marine Surf Lifesaving Club on Saturday with Australian Michael Booth narrowly claiming a beach sprint over Matt Bouman with Michelle Burn showing her class to claim victory in the women’s race on Saturday.

In what were epic conditions the men’s race was a tightly contested affair all the way to Marine however it was the young Australian who managed to hold his nerve and just pip Bouman with Western Cape surfski hero Dawid Mocké finishing in third.

“It was great to beat the ‘Saffas’ on their home turf,” Booth chuckled. “Getting a win here is a great step forward to me as it was my first international win so I am really happy.

“The race was really good and it was a straight dice up the beach which was exciting,” he added.

Booth has been a serious follower of the World Surfski Series and so getting those all important points was the main goal when coming to South Africa however the young Australian got more than he bargained for and thoroughly enjoyed his race.

“The conditions were fantastic out there, exactly what you want from a downwind actually.

“Some good swells and some favourable winds meant that we could really have a good go and it was anyones race right up to the beach but I heard Matt injured his calf a few months back so that gave me an advantage.

“Who knows what would have happened if he was fit!” Booth concluded.

With some World Surfski Series points on the line Fenn Kayak’s Michelle Burn once again proved that she is in the form of her life as she pulled off her second masterclass race in two weeks to back up her win in Mauritius last weekend however she was quick to say that the conditions were in her favour.

“The conditions in the past two weeks have definitely given me a bit of an advantage considering that I enjoy a bit of a bump and I am sure that if it had been flatter we could have seen different results.

“I haven’t had as much time in the boat as a lot of the other girls so being able to use my wave riding skills was something that I could rely on and not just pure fitness so that was good for me,” she explained.

Although she was well clear of Nikki Russell, who finished second, Burn did not see the race as that straight forward and spent quite a bit of the race having to battle to pick up some runs as well as getting in a good enough position for the run in to Marine.

“It was not as simple as it could have been,” she chuckled. “It was some hard work out there but it seemed like it was hard for a lot of paddlers.

“I had a little swim at the beginning but it wasn’t a problem and I’m just really happy with the win!” she said.

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1.Michael Booth (AUS) 1:28.47
2.Matthew Bouman 1:28.50
3.Dawid Mocké 1:29.38
4.Jasper Mocké 1:30.36
5.Tom Schilperoot 1:30.49
6.Mark Anderson (AUS) 1:31.24
7.Herman Chalupsky 1:34.05
8.Wade Krieger 1:34.31
9.Gene Prato 1:36.17
10.Mark Keeling 1.:38.57

1.Michelle Burn 1:46.26
2.Nikki Russell 1:49.50
3.Danica Bartho 1:54.12
4.Sharon Armstrong 1:58.00

1.Ross Fountain/Brett Hadiaris 1:34.38
2.Bryce Hatton/Marc Stanton 1:35.34
3.Matthew Collins/Carl Folscher 1:38.51