With hundreds of excited paddlers lining the Addington Beach for the first race of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series on Friday, the race produced a big surprise as former Olympic bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley beat off the tough ladies competition to claim a maiden win at race one.
Paddlers were greeted to some tame conditions as long course, short course and stand-up paddle boarders took some time to work out the rust and Christmas pudding on Friday, however the racing at the sharp end of the field was as tough as ever with paddlers jostling for an early advantage.
Hartley and race favourite and Euro Steel team mate Hayley Nixon spent a lot of the race together until Hartley came into her own when the paddlers turned into the wind for the final time, and managed to get ahead all the way to the finish line.
“Tonight was really fun and I was really excited to race with so many other paddlers and against some strong ladies,” Hartley mentioned.
“I really didn’t know what to expect so I was fairly cautious at the start of the race, but I managed to catch Hayley just before the first buoy.”
Hartley was going to have her work cut out for her against an experienced paddler like Nixon but she believed that if she turned for home with Nixon she had a chance of winning.
“I tried to interval as much as I could into the wind and we had so much fun trying to catch some runs with the wind!
“It was so much fun and I am really excited that I managed to get a win at the first race of the series,” she added.
The ladies field was rounded out by Euro Steel/Carbonology’s Hayley Nixon in second, who finished 44 seconds behind Hartley, and young Euro Steel/Fenn Kayaks’ star Kyeta Purchase, who came home in third a further two minutes behind Nixon.
Sabine Lawrie finished as the best placed junior girl, while Charlotte Anderson won the SUP category ahead of Lande Williamson and Danica Bartho in second and third respectively.
Race Two of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series, the Funky Pants Surfski Challenge, takes place at 17h30 on Friday, 13 January at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za.
Summary of Long Course Results of Race 1 of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series:
1. Brigitte Hartley 36:50
2. Hayley Nixon 37:34
3. Kyeta Purchase 39:35
Long Course Mixed Doubles:
1. Jenna Ward/Luke Nisbet 34:41
Long Course Junior Girls:
1. Sabina Lawrie 42:44
1. Charlotte Anderson 30:19
2. Lande Williamson 30:41
3. Danica Bartho 32:26
Photo 1 caption: Euro Steel star Bridgitte Hartley showed her incredible diversity as she claimed the win in the women’s race at race one of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series on Friday, 6 January. Photo: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
Photo 2 caption: New year, new me … Hundreds of paddlers lined the Addington Beach in anticipation of race one of the 2017 FNB Surfski Series on Friday, 6 January. hoto: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
With editing by gsport