McGregor and Russell shine in Discovery Best 4 Surfski Series

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 11:11 | Written by  Gameplan Media
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Team Best 4 Kayak Centre's Hank McGregor charges to victory in the Stellar Kayaks surfski race, race two of the Discovery Best 4 Surfski Series. Team Best 4 Kayak Centre's Hank McGregor charges to victory in the Stellar Kayaks surfski race, race two of the Discovery Best 4 Surfski Series. Credits: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Durban – Team Best 4 Kayak Centre captain Hank McGregor reclaimed his customary place at the top of the pile when he cruised to victory in the Stellar Kayaks surfski race, race two of the Discovery Best 4 Surfski Series, on Sunday morning.

Jet Lag?

After missing the series’ opening encounter due to competing overseas last weekend McGregor was head and shoulders above the rest of the remarkably strong elite men’s field and after leading from start to finish ambled across the line comfortably ahead of his team mates Grant van der Walt and Len Jenkins. 

“It’s great to start things off with a win having missed last week’s race,” said McGregor. “I didn’t know how I was going to feel after all the traveling and then racing at the KZN marathon K2 champs yesterday but I ended up feeling quite good so it was a really good training session and another really good day out for me.” 

“There wasn't much assistance out there but there was a bit of a wave which made going out and coming a bit interesting but otherwise it was just a matter of trying to settle into a rhythm and work hard,” he added.

Bad start and a lucky wave!

Despite a disastrous start for Grant van der Walt which left the youngster considerably off the pace and with a mountain to climb, a strong second half of the race and a somewhat lucky break at the end saw him edge out last week’s victor Len Jenkins.

“I just couldn't get going early on. It felt like I was going nowhere so when we turned at the first can I was only just hanging onto the back of the bunch and when Hank (McGregor) went that was the last time I saw him the whole race,” said van der Walt.

“I managed to catch Len (Jenkins) towards the end and then fortunately I managed to get onto a wave ahead of him on the way in but it was a bit of a frustrating day because no one wants to just be racing for second place,” he added.


Barry Lewin negotiates the surf en route to his fourth place in the Stellar Kayaks surfski race.

Jenkins rounded out the top three however many an interesting tussle ensued as the cream of Durban’s surfski paddlers battled it out for the minor placings with Barry Lewin (Team Jeep) claiming fourth and Grant van der Walt’s younger brother, Brandon, finishing fifth.


Jeffrey Smith and Warren Jacobs were too strong for the Long Course doubles field, winning in a time of 1:13:11.

The Women's Race, and just 11 seconds...

Having also missed the first of the ten-leg series former East London, now Durban North, resident Nicole Russell narrowly edged out Danica Vorster to claim victory in the ladies race, a result which gets her title hopes off to the perfect start.

“I went down to East London to do the Three Sisters which I managed to win which was great but it was awesome to be back in Durban this week and to have won today is fantastic,” said a visibly happy Russell.


Nicole Russell got her campaign off to the perfect start when she won the Womens category by a close 11 seconds.

“There weren’t too many bumps out there to work with so it was quite a grind but its such an awesome day and it was just great to be out there again.”

“This (the Discovery Best 4 Surfski Series) is such an awesome event so I’m definitely hoping to be able to all of the remaining races and I would absolutely love to try win the series but we’ll just have to see,” she added.

With ladies paddling ace Michelle Eder missing the race having tied the knot with ever consistent men’s surfski paddler Oliver Burn the day before things were left to young Kingsway High School pupil Kerry Segal and Varsity College student Jenna Ward to fly the flag for the South Coast with the pair finishing third and fourth respectively.


Garnett Wilson charging through the surf on the Short Course race.

The Junior Talent

In the junior boys section racing was fierce as the sudden emergence of an abundance of top young paddling talent battled it out for the overall spoils. 

Despite having given it his all at the provincial marathon K2 champs the day before young Glenwood pupil Gene Prato raced to a commanding victory ahead of Travis Wilson (Maritzburg College) and Lyall Whitehead (DHS). 

Race Three

Race three of the series, the McCarthy Toyota King of the Bay race, which starts at Stellar Canoe Club inside Durban’s harbor and affords paddlers the rare opportunity of paddling out the harbor mouth before finishing at Marine SLC, takes place on Sunday 20 May at 09h00. More info can be found at





1.Hank McGregor 1:11.04
2.Grant van der Walt 1:11.26
3.Len Jenkins Jnr 1:11.29
4.Barry Lewin 1:12.57
5.Brandon van der Walt 1:13.57
6.Luke Nisbet 1:14.32
7.Mark Mulder 1:14.45
8.Adam Nisbet 1:14.56
9.Jean-Luc Mauvis 1:16.41
10.Murray Smith 1:16.51
1.Nicole Russell 1:29.58
2.Danica Vorster 1:30.09
3.Kerry Segal 1:32.36
1.Jeffrey Smith/Warren Jacobs 1:13.11
2.Robin Tindall/Richard Lowe 1:13.31
3.Gavin Searle/John Edmonds 1:14.06
1.Blaine Wood 37.39
2.Rob Drummond 41.02
3.Vernon O'Connell 41.47
1.Andrew Atkinson/Matt Atkinson 39.29
2.Trent Baird/Sandile Shange 40.30
3.Bill Trotter/Doug Trotter 42.15

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