Hank McGregor hungry for Dunlop Surfski World Cup

Tuesday, 21 June 2011 19:06 | Written by  Gameplan Media
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Hank McGregor - resplendent in the Dunlop WC stripe heads out through the surf Hank McGregor - resplendent in the Dunlop WC stripe heads out through the surf Credits: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

Durban - Double champion Hank McGregor has set his sights on a third victory in his hometown surfski international when the Dunlop Surfski World Cup gets underway on Sunday.

...hates losing

When he looks back on his record McGregor, who famously hates losing, sees the Durban World Cup as being half empty rather than half full.

"I have raced four Dunlop Durban Surfski World Cups and won two," he says. "I lost one to Oscar Chalupsky that year we had had to cross the harbour and I lost to Dawid Mocke last year. This year I want to get back to the top step on the podium."

Hank McGregor - 2006

Hank McGregor won the inaugural ARB Surfski World Cup in Durban in 2006 in flat conditions

Hank McGregor - 2008

...and then again in 2008 in anything but flat conditions...

Superb Form

McGregor is in superb form as he builds towards the defence of his title in the tough four day Windhoek Berg River Canoe Marathon in the Cape on the occasion for that race's 50th anniversary. It's a far cry from the dejected athlete who failed in last year’s Dunlop World Cup.

With his Canoeing SA suspension overturned less than 48 hours before the 2010 Dunlop Surfski World Cup, McGregor made the muster and dictated proceedings before blowing spectacularly less than ten kilometres from the finish at Winklespruit.

"My lack of fitness showed for sure," he recalls. "I was there in heart but not in body."

“…my turf and my World Cup”

"This year I want to bounce back. This is my turf and my World Cup," he adds ominously after dominant performance over the classy likes of Matt Bouman and Barry Lewin in the regional winter Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series.

It is going to be juggernaut month for McGregor as he plans to take the biggest cheques on offer in the Dunlop Surfski World Cup and the lucrative Windhoek Berg sixteen days later. "I am being tempted to go to Mauritius to defend my title there as well, but I am not sure yet if that is a good idea," says McGregor.

McGregor is not afraid of the prospect of a tough grind in the Dunlop World Cup should the downwind conditions fail to materialise.

"I would actually prefer it if there wasn't a huge swell," he says. "When the swell is big you actually don't know where the other paddlers are until you hit the beach, and even then you have to ask someone whether you have won or not."

Tough Challenge

McGregor is also aware that any one of at least eight paddlers could win the race this year, including a very powerful Cape challenge that includes defending champ Dawid Mocke, his younger brother Jasper, Molokai runner up Tom Schilperoort and Sean Rice, as well as Eastern Cape strongman Richard von Wildemann. 

Joining them are Aussie contenders Bruce Taylor, Mark Anderson and Dean Gardiner who arrive in South Africa on Thursday ahead of a tour that includes both the Dunlop World Cup in Durban and the Island Shamaal Mauritius Ocean Classic.

Clint Pretorius

"Seriously, don't downplay Clint Pretorius' chances," says McGregor. "The 'laaitie' has been training like crazy and he wouldn’t enter if he didn't think he had a chance of winning."

The Dunlop Surfski World Cup starts at Marine SLC, Addington Beach on Sunday 26 June, and covers 26km to either Umdhloti or Amanzimtoti.

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

Clint Pretorius

Clint Pretorius won in 2009


Depending on the wind (and the forecast has been flip-flopping wildly over the last couple of days), the race will either head north or south from the start at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club.

If the southwester comes in, the finish will be at La Mercy near Umdloti.  “It’s much nicer than Umdloti itself,” said race organizer Billy Harker.  “For one thing the beach is sandy – not rocky like Umdloti.”

In the event of a northeaster, the race will finish at Amanzimtoti.

Barry Lewin tripped the race courses over the last few weeks and posted his GPS tracks on his website (www.barrylewin.co.za)

North Course (SW wind)

See Barry's comments here

South Course (NE wind)

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