Durban – South African surfski paddlers have dominated a whirlwind month of international surfski events in varying conditions on three different continents, ending the four race mini-season dominating the Surfski World Series standings.
Over the past four weeks ocean racing has taken centre stage, starting with the FNB Durban Downwind, before heading off to the Mauritius Ocean Classic, the Nelo Summer Series in Portugal, the Canadian Surfski Championships and then the Gorge Downwind Championships in the USA this past weekend.
The FNB Durban Downwind title was claimed by Euro Steel/Mocké Paddling’s Jasper Mocké ahead of Hank McGregor who went one better in Mauritius to claim a significant victory off the East Coast of Africa.
When the World Surfski Series action headed into the Northern Hemisphere the South African dominance continued.
The Nelo Summer Challenge in Portugal provided another platform for South African paddlers to thrive and this time around it was Sean Rice who proved to be too strong for the rest of the field and held off the challenge of other South Africans to claim a vital victory in his bid for World Surfski Series glory.
Canada was the next stop on this whirlwind leg of the World Series, where Sean Rice continued his winning ways, taking home the honours ahead of brother Kenny and series leader Jasper Mocké in third.
The race in Canada did not contribute to paddlers’ overall points tally as it was not one of the title races on the World Series.
This past weekend saw the Gorge Downwind Championships on the Columbia River take centre stage and this time the shoe was on the other Rice’s foot as Kenny took home the race victory ahead of his brother Sean and Jasper Mocké in third.
Despite only one win over this leg of the series, Jasper Mocké still remains in the driver’s seat at the top of the World Surfski Series standings, followed by Hank McGregor in second and Jasper’s older brother Dawid in third.
Incredibly, out of the top ten paddlers in the standings there are seven South Africans, with the Rice brothers, Kyle Friedenstein and Oscar Chalupsky the other South African paddlers in the top ten.
The ladies standings and results follow a very similar pattern with Hayley Nixon dominating the standings as she did in 2016. Despite not recreating her best form recently she still tops of the ladies standings.
The other South Africans that are in the hunt and been performing well are Michelle Burn, who won the Mauritius Ocean Classic, Nikki Russell, Kyeta Purchase and Jenna Ward.
South African paddlers make up five of the top ten in the ladies standings despite all of them missing out on the recent Canadian Surfski Championships.
Nixon’s win in Portugal has given her a slight advantage over the New Zealander Teneale Hatton, who won the Canadian Surfski Championships, but Nixon’s third at the Gorge Downwind Champs this past weekend was an important result in keeping her at the summit of the log with six races to go in the series.
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WORLD SURFSKI SERIES STANDINGS
1.Jasper Mocké (RSA) 3490
2.Hank McGregor (RSA) 3485
3.Dawid Mocké (RSA) 3482
4.Mackenzie Haynard 3473
5.Oscar Chalupsky (RSA) 3445
6.Maurizo Tognacci 2614
7.Sean Rice (RSA) 2498
8.Kenneth Rice (RSA) 2493
9.Kyle Friedenstein (RSA) 2480
10.Nicholas Lambert 2475
1.Hayley Nixon (RSA) 2994
2.Teneale Hatton 2496
3.Michelle Burn (RSA) 2000
4.Nikki Russell (RSA) 1990
5.Kyeta Purchase (RSA) 1986
6.Jenna Ward (RSA) 1984
7.Rachel Clarke 1500
8.Angie le Roux 1496
9.Tricia Gilbert 1489
10.Chloe Bunnett 1488