Epic Kayaks sign Hank McGregor

Thursday, 13 November 2008 06:03 | Written by 
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Yep, it's official - as from 1 November 2008, Hank McGregor is the latest member of Team Epic...

"I'm really chuffed," said Hank.  "River paddling is half my career and now I have a sponsor that can support me on the sea or on rivers - all over the world."


CV second to none

Hank has an incredible CV:

  • Apart from winning every single South African River, Sprint, Marathon and Surfski title (several times each), in 2006 he was the first paddler ever to win K1, K2, single surfski & double surfski South African titles in single year.  (He almost did it again in 2007, but the Mocke brothers took the double surfski title in Durban).
  • 2 x Non-stop Dusi wins
  • 5 x Berg River Marathon champion 
  • 2 x Cape Point Challenge winner
  • 2 x Durban World Cup Surfski Champion
  • USA surfski champion
  • SA lifesaving team and titles (including 3rd in at this year's world champs in Germany)
  • 3 x Breede River Marathon Champ
  • 2 x Vaal champ
  • 2 x Fish River Marathon champ
  • World junior marathon Champ
  • World Senior Marathon Champ

Including this year:

  • K1 Champion (in the Epic Legacy)
  • K2 Champion (with Dawid Mocke) at the Breede River Marathon
  • Berg River Marathon Champion (in the Epic Legacy)
  • Double Surfski Champion (with Dawid Mocke)
  • Durban World Cup Winner
  • USA Surfski Champion
  • Fish River Marathon Champion (with Grant van der Walt in a Legacy K2)

Total Focus on Dubai

Hank already has South African K1, K2 and double surfski championships under his belt this year and was hoping to pull off a clean sweep by winning the single ski title at Knysna this coming weekend.

"But it would mean losing three days of training," he said.  He's not travelling to Hong Kong either.  "I'm throwing everything at Dubai," he said.  "It would just be too much travelling to go to Hong Kong as well."

Welcome to Epic

Anton Erasmus, the newly appointed CEO of Epic South Africa is well pleased.  "Hank's dad Lee McGregor and I go way back," he said.  "It's great to have Hank on board."

One of Anton's tasks is to plan the races that Hank will attend.  "It's going to be a busy year," said Anton.  "Firstly we need enough points for Hank to win the Surfski World Series!  Then he's going to be racing some of the biggest river races around the world like the Ardeche, the Liffy, the Sella - and of course the World Marathon races."

Charles Brand, Epic's chairman said: "We see Hank as a package of excellent marathon, river and surf-ski talent, and have the boats and paddles to support him in all these disciplines as well as have him as a test pilot for further innovation.

"He is also an accomplished all-round waterman who loves what he does and promises to be one of the leading talents for the foreseeable future. Finally, and this is probably the most important, he's a really nice guy and great to have around. It's an honor to have Hank on the Epic team."

"We're excited to have Hank on board with Epic," said Epic's CEO Greg Barton.  "He's proven himself in surf ski, marathon and river races. We look forward to providing him with the best boats and paddles that will allow him to succeed in all 3 disciplines."


A little spice added to the Epic v Fenn rivalry

The last time Hank McGregor and Dawid Mocke met, it was in San Francisco where Hank beat Dawid convincingly.  However, Dawid was not at peak fitness, having just returned from a 3-week holiday to watch his wife Nikki compete at the Beijing Olympics.

The next time they compete it will be as representatives of the rival manufacturers - and what a contest it will be.  The Dubai Shamaal has a totally unprecedented line-up of not only the world's top surfski paddlers, but many of the top canoeists as well (as discussed in another article on this website).

Last December, Dawid came back from a disastrous start at the Shamaal, overtaking the entire field and beating Hank on the downwind leg to take what was then the biggest prize ever in the history of paddling.

This year the stakes are even higher...  I for one cannot wait.

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