Hank seeks fourth Molo win
SOUTH African paddling icon Hank McGregor will be jetting off to Hawaii this month in a hunt for his fourth Molokai title.
McGregor will also have a new craft sponsor in Fenn Kayaks, after four years with Epic Kayaks.
East London-based Fenn will now have two marquee players, in McGregor and Australian Cory Hill, a two-time world champion.
One cannot help but wonder if Hill’s victory in last year’s ICF Surfski World Championships in Hong Kong on a Fenn made McGregor switch craft sponsors.
Hill famously won the Hawaiian showpiece in 2015 and then went on to take the second ICF World Champs in Tahiti.
Not unlike football or F1, paddling has a transfer season where elite paddlers looking for that extra edge may jump ship, so to speak.
Aussie surf lifesaving stars brothers Shannon and Caine Eckstein have part- nered with Epic Kayaks down under and will be heading to the channel of bones.
With them being uber-fit and lethal over the short lifesaving Ironman distance, it will be interesting to see how the watermen fare over the 53km surfski challenge.
Shannon will look to long-distance paddling to extend his professional sporting career.
The six-time Australian Open Ironman Champion won the 2009 Hong Kong Dragon Run, a 28km event, on debut against a loaded field.
Local manufacturers Carbonology Sport will be represented at the showpiece by their star paddler, Hayley Nixon.
The logistics of transporting a 6m craft to the other side of the world are a tremendous challenge – one can only hope the ski gets there unscathed.
Although on debut at the Molokai, Nixon will be the outright favourite after taking out last year’s world champs.
Reigning Molo champ Sean Rice, racing for Canadian brand Think Kayaks, will be out to prove that his runaway victory last year was no fluke.
The ocean paddling community will be hoping the field gets a roaring downwind and not a mirror-flat sea.
The recently granted permit to allow Raggy Charters to operate a shark cage-diving excursion at Bird Island will endanger the lives of beachgoers not only in Nelson Mandela Bay, but in Kenton and the surrounding Sunshine Coast.
Sharks are a migratory species and once conditioned to humans are no longer wary of us. We have been warned!