Burn Clinches Surfski Series Title

2013 Surfski World Championships silver medalist, Michelle Burn of Amanzimtoti, clinched the women’s title of the 2014 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, when she claimed a narrow victory over Nicole Russell in the DionWired Surfski Challenge, race seven of the ten-leg competition.

With paddlers’ best six results of the series counting towards the final standings Burn’s victory, her sixth of the competition, sees her unbeatable with three races still to take place and hands her the series’ women’s title for the fourth time in five years.

“Unfortunately I could only get five races in last year as the last one clashed with the Argus, so I’m really chuffed to have won the series title back again this year!” explained a thrilled Burn.

“Man was it tough tonight though! Nicole (Russell) pushed me the whole way and I only just managed to out sprint her up the beach right at the end!

“I really had to work hard for this sixth race win, but I’m really glad I managed get it under the belt and take the title again,” she added.

With series coordinator Barry Lewin a little anxious of the effects of the tropical cyclone lingering in the Mozambican Channel, both he and the paddlers were relieved to be greeted by near flat surf conditions on Friday morning.

“Conditions were still tough though,” said Fenn/Team Jeep’s Burn. “The South Westerly was pumping and the runs were going in completely the opposite direction to the wind, so by the time you managed to finally actually get onto a run, you’d already worked so hard and were really tired!”

“I would manage to get away from Nicole on the downwind legs a little but then coming back into the wind she’d manage to catch back up to me.

“We both hit the beach together and fortunately I managed to get out my boat quicker than Nicole did, and so got to the line first. Hats off to her though, she really is paddling well at the moment, and that was the closest Varsity College Marine Surfski Series I’ve ever had!”

After the hard fought nature of the women’s top ten at the recent Dusi Canoe Marathon, Burn and Russell’s ding-dong battle further emphasizes the belief that women’s paddling in the country is in a very good place at the moment.

With the series title now in the bag, Burn is now looking forward to taking advantage of the rare opportunity of competing with husband and fellow top paddler Oliver in the mixed doubles category for the final few races.

“It’s not often Olly and I get to paddle together, so we’re looking forward to having some fun together in the next couple of weeks, and it will be nice to paddle a little more socially,” said Burn.

“I’ve got KZN Lifesaving Champs this weekend as the next focus, and then I’ll have to check the calendar to see what’s next on the cards after that.”

The IT Works Surfski Challenge, race eight of the 2014 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, takes place on Friday 28 February at 17h30 at Marine SLC at Addington Beach. More info can be found at www.marineseries.co.za


Leading Results at the Dionwired Surfski Challenge, Race Seven of the 2014 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, on Friday, 21 February, 2014:
1. Michelle Burn 42.44
2. Nicole Russell 42.47
3. Jenna Ward 46.19
Mixed Doubles:
1. Ryan Atkins/Julie Cornelius 41.19
2. Mark Lewin/Anna Clifford-Arwidi 41.59

Main photo caption: Michelle Burn’s victory in the DionWired Surfski Challenge, race seven of the 2014 Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, handed her win number six in total and, in the process, saw her crowned 2014 women’s champion. Photo: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media


(With editing by gsport)

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