Van der Walt and Hartley master downwind runs to claim spoils


Bridgitte Hartley paddles in front of the Moses Mabhida Stadium during the Citadel Race, the second leg of the 2019 Bay Union Open Ocean Surfski Challenge. Lynne Hauptfleisch/ Gameplan Media

Durban – Brandon van der Walt grabbed his first win of the Bay Union Open Ocean Surfski Challenge on Sunday while on her birthday Bridgitte Hartley cemented her place on top of the women’s standings with a second win in the series.

Racing a Westerly out-and-back course from the Durban Undersea Club, van der Walt powered away from last week’s runner-up Gene Prato, Tyrone Maher and Stew Little to claim his first win in the series, after finishing second to Hank McGregor last weekend.

“The four of us at the front pushed the pace pretty much from the gun, as we were trying to work out which line to take and where the turn can would be,” said van der Walt.

The leaders turned around a rubber duck that was hastily established as a turning point and then turned for the downwind return leg to Vetch’s Beach.

“I was in front after two kilometres and got away and managed to keep it there all the way to the finish, but the pace was firing!” said the Maritzburg College schoolmaster.

He added that he was looking forward to next week’s Geriatskis double-ski race as he will be paddling with Tyron Maher as part of their preparations for the Dolphin Coast Challenge.

Master lee McGregor raced to an impressive sixth overall, Oscar Chalupsky making a welcome appearance in his old home town was ninth and Under 23 Marathon star Alex Masina wrapped up the top ten.

In the women’s race Hartley led home a carbon-copy top three of the series opener women’s podium as she outlasted Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase in the rolling swells.

“It was a tough race and I decided to go out hard from the start again and stay on some of the men’s waves,” said Hartley.

“On the return leg I managed to catch quite a few runs and track from left to right, which helped me to take the win again,” the Euro Steel/Nelo athlete said.

Jenna Ward was second in the women’s race ahead of Kyeta Purchase and visiting Australian Under 23 paddler Montannah Murray.

Connor Botha was the first junior home and Lungelo Shange took the prize for the best development paddler.

Hamish Mackenzie and Tayne Thompson shaded last week’s double ski winners Quinton Rutherfoord and Mark Perrow to take the doubles title, with Gavin Searle and Donna Winter taking the mixed doubles title.

The third race of the Sunday morning series next week is the Geriastskis Doubles Race offering the same options of a six kilometre short course and a twelve kilometre long course race.

1.Brandon van der Walt 48:23
2.Gene Prato 48:42
3.Tyron Maher 49:40
4.Herman Chalupsky 50:13
5.Lee McGregor 50:23
6.Stew Little 51:04
7.Oliver Burn 51:45
8.Brendon Delport 51:49
9.Oscar Chalupsky 52:21
10.Alex Masina 52:42

1.Bridgitte Hartley 52:48
2.Jenna Ward 55:57
3.Kyeta Purchase 56:00
4.Montannah Murray 58:41
5.Lyn Bennett 1:00:20

1.Hamish Mackenzie/Tayne Thompson 47:54
2.Quinton Rutherford/Mark Perrow 48:42
3.Matt Millward/Shane Millward 50:00
4.Colin Simpkins/Joshua Simpkins 50:56
5.Gavin Searle/Donna Winter 51:59

1.Matt Swemmer 58:53
2.Jean Grace 1:17:40

1.Murray Smith/Dylan Smith 44:33
2.Lungelo Shange 45:34
3.Dylan Riddle/Caleb Daly 46:27
4.Stuart Carter 47:07
5.James Law/Matthew Doyle 47:33

More information can be found at

2019 Bay Union Open Ocean Surfski Series Calendar
Race Three – Geriastskis Doubles Race 21 July 2019
Race Four – Geriatskis Team Relay Race 8 July