Windy pad­dle for Pete Mar­lin clas­sic

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport - RICHARD VON WILDEMANN

East Lon­don dished up epic con­di­tions for last week­end’s Pete Mar­lin surf­ski clas­sic, prov­ing yet again that Buf­falo City is a down­wind pad­dling par­adise.

An event of this mag­ni­tude with close on 300 pad­dlers can­not take place with­out tremen­dous ef­fort.

Race di­rec­tor Charl van Wyk and his team put in countless hours for the love of the sport.

Sat­ur­day’s sin­gles race saw a build­ing north­east­ern dish up a fresh wind swell that made for an ex­cit­ing dash from Glen Eden to Na­hoon.

Jasper Mocke used his years of ex­pe­ri­ence pad­dling the rough wa­ters of False Bay to feel at home in the rag­ing wind.

“I got into a great rhythm in the mid­dle sec­tion of the race,” Mocke said.

He beat long-time ri­val Hank Mc­Gre­gor in a close duel that came down to the two com­ing in on the same wave.

Re­peat­ing last year’s SA Champs fin­ish in Dur­ban, Mc­Gre­gor came in ear­lier, opt­ing to run whereas Mocke took a straight line to the fin­ish.

“I didn’t know it but Hank caught the same wave as I did com­ing into the fin­ish, but he was a cou­ple of hun­dred me­tres fur­ther down the beach.

“It was a re­peat of what hap­pened at Marine at last year’s race, where I man­aged to pad­dle right to the fin­ish and Hank was left run­ning up the beach,” Mocke said.

Ris­ing global surf­ski su­per­star Kenny Rice rounded off the podium.

In fifth place was Be­van Man­son, whose re­sult should send shiv­ers down the spines of his main Port El­iz­a­beth to East Lon­don Chal­lenge ri­vals. His train­ing has con­sisted of up to three 50km pad­dles a week.

In the women’s race Hay­ley Nixon con­tin­ued her im­pres­sive run, notch­ing up yet an­other ti­tle.

The 2017 world cham­pion has been so con­sis­tent that one can ar­gue she is the best ski pad­dler in the world.

“This means a mas­sive amount to me. I am so stoked. I feel like I have fi­nally earned my stripes,” Nixon said.

On Sun­day an­other 50km­plus pad­dle will see the Bay Port El­iz­a­beth to East Lon­don hope­fuls suf­fer­ing to get their names on the qual­i­fiers’ list.

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