Windy paddle for Pete Marlin classic
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.