Kenny Rice Wins in Cape Town

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 15:55 | Written by 
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Kenny Rice wins the Fish Hoek There and Back race in Cape Town, South Africa Kenny Rice wins the Fish Hoek There and Back race in Cape Town, South Africa Credits: Cape Town Sport Photography

The wave reared up, curling over and dumping over the ski, stopping me dead in my tracks; the other two surged past and I thought, “will that bloody buoy EVER get any closer?!”

We were a few hundred metres from the turn at Miller’s Point, roughly half-way into the annual Fish Hoek Galley/ETE There and Back Challenge.

The southeaster, gusting to 25kt, had turned the bay white with breaking waves and the organisers shortened the course from the full 27km to a still-demanding 7km upwind followed by what would be a glorious 11km downwind section, nearly the whole of the (in)famous Miller’s Run.

At the Front End…

…Kenny Rice had been expecting the race to be turned into a pure downwind event. “Good on the organisers for pushing through,” he said. “The course ended up being perfect; it would have been horrible paddling from Fish Hoek, but it wasn’t bad going along the coast.”

Simon van Gysen and Ian Black, paddling doubles, got off to a quick start across Simon’s Bay to the harbour – but not quite fast enough, and Rice, Stuart MacLaren and Mark Keeling as well as Luke Durr/Tayne Thompson (junior doubles) reeled them back in and the group of five surfskis worked in a bunch upwind, the single skis slipstreaming the doubles.


Heading out into the 25kt southeasterly gusts...

In the middle…

…of the pack I knew we were in for a hard grind. Having put in an interval at the start to catch up to a double, I’d settled in for the ride when an errant single ski (no names, no pack-drill) came blundering across from the right, the paddler apparently not seeing me. With barely a curse word (being out of breath) I swerved, losing the double and expecting the other single to take the slip. He didn’t! And now we were both off the double’s slip and there was no way I’d find my way back into this wind.

Aaaargh! Onwards towards the harbour, and just before we got there a gust flipped a paddler in front, his ski instantly being whipped downwind, restrained only by the leash.

As we passed (sorry for you, mate) a couple of other skis now latched onto me – and leading the group of three, I steered into the shelter of every harbour wall, rock or patch of weed I could find, making ground at times but slowly falling behind the group in front when we were exposed to the direct wind and waves.


The Strava "flyby's" show how the field diverged on the downwind leg...

And finally…

…at the front of the race, way out of sight, the leading group of five turned around the buoy, to head downwind to the finish at Fish Hoek.

“The first section, sheltered by Miller’s Point, was almost flat and the doubles got away,” said Rice. “So, I headed right, taking an offshore line to get into the bigger runs.”

By the time they reached the lighthouse he’d caught the leaders. “I had a great km after the lighthouse and dropped them,” said Rice. “After that I was working to stay ahead of the doubles.”

Rice won the race in 1:19:05, beating Ian Black/Simon van Gysen by nearly a minute (and crossing the line when I was still 20min back, half way across the bay…)

“Thanks as always to the organisers for a superb event,” said Rice, “and a shout out to my sponsors: Think Kayaks and EuroSteel.”

First Doubles

Ian Black and Simon van Gysen won the doubles race

Back in the mid-pack…

…we too finally turned the buoy, and like Kenny, I headed diagonally out to sea to find the bigger, better runs.

As usual, the field scattered, and only one or two other surfskis were visible, showing themselves occasionally on the top of a wave and it was only as we arrived in Fish Hoek Bay that suddenly other paddlers popped up to right and left as we converged towards the finish.

And then it was a final effort to work the big runs into the bay and to avoid swimming in the surf onto the beach.

A superb race in fabulous conditions.


The smile says it all - hard race, fabulous downwind



At the same time as our race (as well as short and intermediate surfski courses), a SUP contingent raced downwind from Miller’s Point and Hobie Cat sailors raced around False Bay – all to raise funds for the National Sea Rescue Institute.


rescue 10The NSRI kept a close eye on the race

Rice Heads to Europe

For Kenny Rice it was the last race before he heads overseas on Thursday to take part in the Naxos Cup in Sicily and then EuroChallenge in Spain, where Rice will be racing his brother Sean and a host of Europeans including Daniel Sanchez Viloria (Esp), Esteban Medina (Esp), Ignacio Soler (Esp), “Flash” Gordan Harbrecht (Ger), Noé Pelliza, Benoît Le Roux (Fra), Nicolas Lamber (Fra) and many more.

After EuroChallenge, Rice returns home to tackle the marathon season before taking part in the US surfski tour.


Pos. Name Time Results Single/Double
1 Kenny Rice 01:19:05 1st Male S1
2 Ian Black + Simon Van Gysen 01:19:55 1st Double D1
3 Stu MacLaren 01:20:45 2nd Male S2
4 Luke Durr + Tayne Thompson  01:21:50   D2
5 Mark Keeling 01:22:19 3rd Male S3
6 Graeme Solomon 01:24:25   S4
7 Scheepers Schoeman + Melanie van Niekerk 01:25:11 1st mixed doubles D3
8 Peter Cole + Wendren Setzer 01:25:56   D4
9 Ian Trautmann 01:26:40   S5
10 Zachery Preyser 01:27:25   S6
11 Fred Cresswell + Mark Preen 01:28:13   D5
12 Gregory Barnard 01:35:40   S7
13 Andrew Ross + David Hudson 01:35:58   D6
14 Gary Kroukamp + Paul Moxley 01:36:32   D7
15 Wayne Willetts 01:37:02   S8
16 Evan Ridge 01:37:25   S9
17 Lee Moran 01:37:49   S10
18 Robin Tindall 01:38:35   S11
19 Rob Mousley 01:39:12   S12
20 David Murray-Smith + Daryll Leach 01:39:44   D8
21 Daniel Jacobs 01:41:51 1st Junior Boys S13
22 Rob Moody 01:42:03   S14
23 Tom Thring 01:43:06   S15
24 Bennie Steyn + Dupré Lombaard 01:43:11   D9
25 Alex Topliss  01:43:52   S16
26 Michael MacLachlan  01:47:25   S17
27 Riaan Stols  + Rickus Gerber 01:48:58   D10
28 Kim Van Gysen 01:49:32 1st Female S18
29 Jeremy Valerga 01:50:46   S19
30 Tim Powell 01:51:46   S20
31 Doug Jenman 01:52:01   S21
32 Andrew Patty 01:55:57   S22
33 Mark Voges 01:56:27   S23
34 Neil Kirkwood 01:58:14   S24
35 Charlie Berrington 01:58:39   S25
36 Thomas Altmann 01:59:59   S26
37 Ryan Powter + Dwight Morkel 02:04:53   D11
38 Rudi Durand 02:05:52   S27
39 Patrick Eley 02:07:06   S28
40 Michael Thorpe 02:09:02   S29
41 Roger Hawkins 02:11:19   S30

Intermediate Course

(Simon's Town -> Ark Rock -> Roman Rock -> Fish Hoek

Pos. Name Time
1 Yul Malzahn 01:11:13
2 Kevin Brunette 01:13:34
3 Tabera Joosten 01:18:45
4 Oscar Miles 01:41:02

Short Course

(3 laps around Simon's Town Harbour)

Pos. Name Time
1 Ryan Leisegang 00:36:13
2 Abby Leisegang 00:41:25
3 Paul Jacobs 00:42:07
4 Zak Jacobs 00:51:14
5 Jarryd Cole 00:52:08
6 Noeleen Vermaak 00:57:22

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