08 June 2017
Written by: Nick Tatham
SA Surfski Champs set to light up Durban Downwind
Durban – Since its inception in 2014, the FNB Durban Downwind has been one
of the sought after titles to win on the East Coast and 2017 will be even
more significant after being announced as the host of the South African
Singles Surfski Championships over the weekend of 24-25 June.
The race is held during a two day window to allow the organisers to give
South Africa’s surfski royalty the best possible conditions to do battle.
Durban Downwind 2017 is expected to have more than just South Africa’s best,
but some of the world’s best surfski paddlers on the start line.
Defending FNB Durban Downwind champion Hank McGregor will be one of the
paddlers fighting it out for a spot on the podium against what is predicted
to be another star-studded showdown between the country’s surfski heavy
“It’s a massive race as it is both the national championships but it is also
our world championship trials,” Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ McGregor said.
“I go out there to win every race that I paddle and to win a national title
is always special. If I win I am guaranteed a spot in the national team for
the world champs which is a huge bonus.
“With these new selection rules, making the surfski team is just as
difficult as making the marathon team with only the top two being selected!
“We have some of the best surfski paddlers in the world which makes it even
McGregor is hoping that conditions will be good for the race and the two-day
window will provide paddlers with the optimal conditions, however McGregor
is wary of what can happen in the surf at La Mercy, should the race finish
“I lost the national championship when I came off in the surf at La Mercy in
2014, it can be very unforgiving.
“We always want the best possible conditions for such a big race with the
best paddlers in the country on the start line.
“I’ve taken a bit of a break since Molokai but I will get back into it
quickly with a massive block of racing ahead of me.
“It starts with Durban Downwind then I’m off to Mauritius, Portugal, America
and Canada for races so it is a really busy time for me!”
The threat to the KZN dominance at the FNB Durban Downwind will be a strong
one with the provinces premier ocean paddlers set to take on a large Western
Cape contingent including Jasper Mocké, his brother Dawid, Ian Black, Kenny
Rice, Mark Keeling, Stu Maclaren, Pete Cole and in the ladies Kirsten
Flanagan, in what will be an epic showdown for national honours.
“There is a big group of elite paddlers heading up to Durban from the Cape,”
Euro Steel/Mocké Paddling’s Jasper Mocké mentioned.
“We are lucky that the course hasn’t changed for the FNB Durban Downwind
which means we have been able to become quite familiar with it although
there will always be a few nuances that the local guys will know.”
Mocké has had a bit of time off since his return from Hawaii and although he
feels he might not be in the best possible shape he is motivated to claim
the prestigious national title.
“Although I might not be in the best shape possible I still think that I am
fit and strong enough to win.
“There is so much hanging on the race and with about five or six guys that
could potentially win the race has taken on a whole new intensity,” he
Online entries, submitted via www.roag.co.za,
close at midnight on Wednesday, 21 June with registration taking place at Marine SLC from 17h00-19h00
on Friday, 24 June while the 2016 FNB Durban Downwind takes place on either
Saturday, 24 June or Sunday, 25 June.
More information can be found at
Click to download hi-res pic
FNB Durban Downwind
Logo - Landscape
FNB Durban Downwind
Logo - Stacked
Defending FNB Durban Downwind
champion, Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks' Hank McGregor understands the added
pressure that comes with the Durban Downwind hosting the South African
National Singles Surfski Championships over the weekend of 24-25 June.
For Western Cape's Euro Steel/Mocké
Paddling's Jasper Mocké the FNB Durban Downwind will provide him with a
great opportunity to take home the South African National Singles
Surfski Championship title over the weekend of 24-25 June.
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