McGregor and Burn wrap up national surfski title doubles

Go! The start of the SA double ski title raceat the Fenn SA Surfski championships in Durban on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Durban – Hank McGregor and Michelle Burn completed a rare cleansweep of singles and doubles titles at the Fenn SA Surfski Champs held in Durban on the weekend when they won their S2 title races from Durban to Mdloti on Sunday morning.

McGregor partnered Under 23 East London ace Josh Fenn to post a convincing eighty second win over Hamish Lovemore and Bevan Manson to extend his unbroken run of national doubles titles to seven.

The 43 year old Fenn/Euro Steel racer said that he had been looking forward to partnering Fenn, with whom he had travelled to many international surfski events over the years.

“We had a really great paddle together, something I have been wanting to do for a long time after travelling the world together,” said McGregor.

After having won the double ski national title with Hamish Lovemore last year, McGregor grinned sheepishly when asked about his strategy to choose strong younger paddlers for the national championships.

“As you get older you get wiser,” he quipped.

“Conditions lined up quite well, there were a few runs to get onto,” said Josh Fenn. “Hank and I combine well together and I am super stoked to get my first national double ski title with Hank.”

Lovemore and his partner Bevan Manson took the silver medal, thirty seconds clear of the form Cape crew of Kenny Rice and Stu MacLaren, who in turn had to hold off the challenge from eleven-times Dusi champ Andy Birkett and his East London training partner Matt Fenn.

East London schoolboys Jordan Fenn and Luke Swinney contributed to a successful weekend for the Border surfski paddlers by winning the junior race in a close tussle with Josh Simpkins and Matthew Coetzer.

Michelle Burn added the women’s S2 title to the S1 title she gleefully won on Saturday, partnering the emerging talent teenager Saskia Hockly to romp to a comfortable win, finishing in 22nd position overall.

Burn showed her class and form by winning the Wild Dog incentive in the single ski race on Saturday, for finishing less than 15% off Hank McGregor’s winning time. She underscored that result by repeating that feat again in the double ski race with Hockly on Sunday.

“It was hard work from the start,” said Burn. “Paddling with a group of guys, the pace was insane.

“We started to get really tired but then thankfully after Umhlanga the wind picked up and we were able to put our paddles down on a few runs.

“Saskia was such a powerhouse in back,” Burn added.

Nix Birkett teamed up with East London training partner Jade Wilson to take the women’s silver medals while the strong Cape combination of Candice Murray and Kira Bester added the bronze medals to their solid single ski results from the day before.

Umhlanga Rocks schoolgirls Valmajean Hockly and Julia McAllistar bagged the junior girls title, in a fascinating duel with another Under 16 crew in Holly and Tannah Smith.

Adding further swag to the McGregor haul from the weekend, Pippa McGregor and Quinton Rutherford raced superbly well to close out an easy victory in the mixed double category.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
FENN SA DOUBLE SURFSKI CHAMPS
1. Hank McGregor/Joshua Fenn 1:26:32
2. Hamish Lovemore/Bevan Manson 1:27:52
3.Kenny Rice/Stu MacLaren 1:28:28
4.Matt Fenn/Andy Birkett 1:28:58
5.Matt Bouman/Connor Botha 1:29:06
6.Nick Notten/Dom Notten 1:30:28
7.Jason Eckstrand/Richard Lowe 1:30:28
8.Dan Jacobs/Ian Black 1:32:03
9.Gene Prato/Brandon van der Walt 1:32:25
10.Mark Keeling/Hunter Houston 1:32:59

Women
1. Michelle Burn/Saskia Hockly 1:38:45
2. Nix Birkett/Jade Wilson 1:42:33
3. Kira Bester/Candice Murray 1:43:35
4. Bridgitte Hartley/Tracey van Greunen 1:47:31
5. ValmaJean Hockly/Julia McAllistar 1:49:33
6. Holly Smith/Tannah Smith 1:50:33

More information can be found at www.sasurfskichamps.co.za