FNB Durban Downwind Media Release  No: DD1704

22 June 2017

Embargo : None

Written by: Nick Tatham

Enthralling Durban Downwind on the cards

Durban - This weekendís FNB Durban Downwind will have extra venom as the nationís best surfski paddlers fight it out for the raceís fifth edition title as well as the bragging rights of being crowned the South African Singles Surfski Champion when the race gets underway on Saturday, 24 June.

The event organisers have opted to stage the race to coincide with the North Easterly wind that is forecast for a steady 10 to 12 knots on Saturday afternoon, racing 26km from La Mercy to Marine Surf Lifesaving Club on Durbanís South Beach.

Both the menís and womenís contests will be peppered with talent as paddlers from around the country converge on Durban this weekend, for what promises to be an exciting downwind challenge as the nationís elite eye a spot on the South African team for the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships in Hong Kong in November.

The menís race will feature current World Surfski Series champion and out-and-out favourite Hank McGregor with his Euro Steel team mate Jasper Mockť also set to mount a serious challenge for a top podium spot.

Taking on McGregor in his own back yard will be a tough task for the other elite paddlers, however with the best paddlers possible assembled, anything is possible over the 26km course where the lines that can be taken between La Mercy and Marine SLC can dramatically affect the outcome of the race.

The Western Cape will also have a strong presence at the national championships with Jasperís brother Dawid always providing a stiff challenge while Kenny Rice, Mark Keeling, Stu Maclaren and Ian Black will likely also mount a formidable charge for the podium.

A Western Cape threat that will be missing from the showdown is Sean Rice. Riceís schedule has meant that he will be overseas and therefore unable to race for the national crown.

Amongst the local favourites, Matt Bouman, Wade Krieger and the likes of the young Hamish Lovemore will be forces to be reckoned with over the 26km course with Bailey de Fondaumiere and Scottburgh to Brighton winner Gene Prato also throwing their names into the hat.

Mounting a challenge from further afield is Mark Anderson from Australia. The 39 year-old star is no stranger to the Durban Downwind and with an impressive third place finish last year his contenders will have to keep an eye out for the Aussie paddler.

Another Australian that will be on the line this weekend is Shaun Rice. Riceís ocean racing pedigree is a strong one and will also pose a threat to those that are eyeing out a spot on the podium.

The ladies contest is going to be, arguably, one of the toughest yet with a handful of paddlers in fine racing form and keen to take home the national championship spoils.

Having cantered home with the title in 2016, Euro Steel/Carbonologyís Hayley Nixon goes into the race as possible favourite but will have her work cut out for her against a number of other powerful female paddlers.

The likes of Michelle Burn, Kyeta Purchase, Jenna Ward, Nikki Russell and Kirsten Flanagan will all be hoping to claim that elusive national crown this Saturday.

The young guns of Purchase and Ward can never be written off in the Durban surf and with their training for the marathon world championships in Pietermaritzburg later in the year in full swing they will be fit and firing for the showdown.

One face that has been quite prominent on a surfski this winter is Euro Steelís Dusi winning ace Andy Birkett. He has made it clear that he is not a serious contender for the title but rather paddles in the ocean for the fun of it.

Registration taking place at Marine SLC from 17h00-19h00 on Friday, 24 June while the 2016 FNB Durban Downwind takes place on Saturday, 24 June at 13:00.

More information can be found at www.durbandownwind.co.za.


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FNB Durban Downwind Logo - Landscape  


FNB Durban Downwind Logo - Stacked  

He has been in sublime form in all disciplines for a number of years and it would be a big bet to put you money against Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks' Hank McGregor at the FNB Durban Downwind this Saturday that is also the National S1 Surfski Championships.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Despite not being in home conditions, Euro Steel/Mockß Paddlings Jasper Mockť will be a fierce competitor at the upcoming FNB Durban Downwind this Saturday that is also the National S1 Surfski Championships.

John Hishin/
Gameplan Media

Euro Steel/Carbonology's Hayley Nixon will be a tough paddler to beat at the upcoming FNB Durban Downwind this Saturday that is also the National S1 Surfski Championships.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Fenn Kayaks' Nikki Russell will always be a strong competitor and this will be no different at the upcoming FNB Durban Downwind this Saturday.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

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