Capetonian Dawid Mocke steered clear of increasing swells and tough competition to win the Word Series-rated Surf Ski Classic at the MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival at Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth today (Friday).
He managed to slip away from the leading group after putting in a powerful spurt just after halfway.
Mocke (1hr 54min 04sec) then took advantage of clever lines and the downwind home stretch to hold off Durbanites Matt Boumann (1:54:53) and Hank Mc Gregor (1:57:54), who completed the podium.
Durban’s Barry Levin (1:58:21) was home next, followed by the first local, Port Elizabeth’s Richard von Wildemann (1:58:47). Durban’s world junior kayak champion Grant van der Walt (1:59:38) completed the top six.
“The wind was very light, but the conditions were difficult. I tried to start really hard into the headwind to see what the others had,” said Mocke.
“I thought if I had a lead going downwind, I might be able to keep it. I put the hammer down after the boiler (marker) and went like mad on the downwind.
“Matt (Boumann) was unbelievable today. He wouldn’t let me go. I probably caught one or two little runs that got me ahead.”
The early pace was set by Mocke, who headed the lead group also consisting of Mc Gregor, Boumann and Van der Walt. They rounded the Bell Buoy halfway through the first lap ahead of a seven-strong second group.
Soon after, Mocke caught the rest of the group by surprise when he rode a quick wave and managed to build a 50m lead over Boumann, who had the same margin on Mc Gregor. At this stage they were leaving a seemingly faltering Van der Walt way behind.
Meanwhile the 21-year-old Tom Schilperoort from Cape Town was finding his feet, overtaking Van der Walt for fourth. However, his day came to an abrupt end after the halfway mark when he had to withdraw due to illness.
At the halfway stage it was still Mocke from Boumann and Mc Gregor, but the gap had shrunk to about 30m between the trio. About 120m back in fourth was Schilperoort, who was now in the company of Van der Walt and Brett Bartho, also from Durban.
Nearing the three-quarter mark, Mocke was looking good and maintaining a steady 40m gap over his two pursuers, Boumann and Mc Gregor. Further back Durban’s Barry Lewin moved into fourth.
With about three kilometres to go, Mocke still had a 40m gap on Boumann, with Von Wildemann – who was now lying fourth – reeling in a tiring Mc Gregor.
In the women’s section, Olympian Michèle Eray (2:12:54) of Plettenberg Bay – winner of last year’s Dubai Shamaal, the world’s richest race – was in a league of her own from the outset. She maintained a top-20 position throughout.
Completing the podium were Carol Joyce and Natalie Veckranges.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival