Prato wins again at surfski series race three

Pippa McGregor won the women’s single ski race at the Funky Pants Race Three, the third leg of the Winter Surfski Series on Sunday morning. Lynne Hauptfleisch/ Gameplan Medi

Durban – Gene Prato followed up his maiden series win two weeks ago with an impressive victory in tough, windy conditions at the Funky Pants Race Three of the Marine Surfski Series on Sunday morning. 

With a Southerly gale forecast to come through during the morning the organisers opted for a three-lap race course to try and keep the paddlers in the shelter of Durban Bay.

Fifteen minutes after the race started the Southerly buster arrived, making for tough conditions for the paddlers and a demanding return leg into the teeth of the wind.

On his first lap Prato had the opportunity to assess the lines being take by the double-ski field ahead of him, and opted for a different race strategy.

“Everyone was following the doubles, who seemed to be heading for the river mouth, so I thought I would take my chances and duck a little closer in,” said Prato.

“That’s where I managed to break away from the group and get ahead of Brandon van der Walt. I focussed on trying to keep that distance between me and him and then tried to chase down the first doubles.

“They managed to beat me last week so I really wanted to beat them!” he added.

He said that the conditions had been difficult in the strong wind with the runs coming from a forty-five degree angle from the side, and the strong-head wind on the return leg making each lap challenging.

Second home was consistent Maritzburg racer van der Walt, with Kyle Friedenstien securing the small step on the podium.

The double-ski duo of Carl Folscher and Shane Millward maintained their unbeaten record in the S2 division, finishing two minutes clear of Quinton Rutherford and Derek Hompes.

Hayley Nixon continued her return to competitive surfski racing by partnership Hilary Bruss to victory in the women’s division, with Pippa McGregor the first female paddler home in a single ski.

The six-leg series gradually increases the distances of the race as part of a build-up to the longer offshore races, encouraging surfski paddlers to ultimately take on the 46km Scottburgh2Brigthon marathon at the end of June.

The series moves on to it’s fourth leg, the Bay Union King of the Bay, on Sunday 30 May.

1 Gene Prato 1:23:46.82 
2 Shane Millward/Carl Folscher 1:24:21.90 
3 Brandon Van Der Walt 1:26:03.93 
4 Quinton Rutherford/Derek Hompes 1:26:30.51 
5 Kyle Friedenstein 1:26:41.90 
6 Murray Behn/Jack Shooter 1:26:43.43 
7 Gary Behn/Gavin Dundas-Starr 1:26:57.01 
8 Jean Luc Mauvis 1:27:34.92 
9 Brad Pearse 1:29:45.03 
10 Nicholas Cook/Craig Cook 1:29:50.30 
11 Gary Waud/Glenn Hilliar 1:29:57.94 
12 Matthew Millward 1:30:32.00 
13 Nic Burden 1:30:46.44 
14 Bryce Hatton/Marc Stanton 1:30:50.07 
15 Brendon Waters 1:30:58.02 
16 Jason Ward 1:32:15.41 
17 Jody Taylor/Duane Taylor 1:32:20.14 
18 Allan Hold/Geoff Thompson 1:32:34.33 
19 Kelvin Trautman 1:32:51.06 
20 Gavin Botha/Grant Fowlds 1:33:20.13 
1 Hayley Nixon/Hilary Bruss 1:36:39.11 
2 Pippa McGregor 1:44:47.54 
3 Louisa Van Staden/Wilma Deyzel 1:49:50.19 
4 Tamara Sneyd/Kate Frost 1:52:09.32 
5 Jacqui De Billot/Kirsten Oliver 1:58:10.85 

Short Course
1 Michael Walsh 0:43:28.15 
2 Jonathan Hollinshead/Matthew Hollinshead 0:46:20.41 
3 David Douglas/Lucy Markewicz 0:47:37.43 
4 Ethan Fuller 0:47:41.41 
5 Sarah Jones/Tayla Isaac 0:47:46.81 
6 Senzo Ngcobo 0:48:22.20 
7 Tim O’Brien 0:48:44.25 
8 David Cobbold 0:48:55.73 
9 Greg Vogt/Keegan Vogt 0:50:15.09 
10 Deon Woodley 0:51:01.27 

Sunday 30th May – Bay Union King of the Bay (9km / 21km)
Saturday 12th June – Pirates – Umhlanga – Pirates (26km)
Saturday 26th / Sunday 27th June – Scottburgh2Brighton (47km)
More information can be found at