Winklespruit - Reigning World champion Dawid Mockè satisfied a lifelong dream by finally winning the Dunlop Surfski World Cup Durban in a thrilling duel with Durban surf lifesaving Iron man Matt Bouman that was eventually decided in a neck-and-neck sprint up the beach to the finish at Winklespruit.

Mockè had the slimmest of leads going into the finish and opted to approach the crunching surf at Winkelspruit cautiously, taking a perpendicular line to the beach. Bouman saw his chance and took it, racing through the surf at an oblique angle and reaching the beach before Mockè, but with 50 metres to run along the beach to the finish line.

Mockè held his nerve and raced through the surf as Bouman was running towards the line, and despite a small stumble as he exited the water, he ran across the line, thrusting the nose of his ski ten centimeters ahead of the charging Bouman's craft.

"That was the ultimate sporting contest!" said an elated Mockè at the finish. "In all my years I have never ever had to work so hard to win a race. Matt (Bouman) was simply incredible, and this race is as much his as it is mine."

"Every time I made a break and I thought I had dropped him, he just came bouncing back, like some kind of Elastic Man! He just does not know the meaning of the word 'quit'," said Mockè.

A visibly gutted Bouman sank to the sand at the finish as he digested the narrowest of defeats. "Maybe it was just a bit too far for me today. I took my chances, but I was beaten by a brilliant athlete," said Bouman. "I don't care about the money, I just want to win this title."

In third place Dawid Mockè's younger brother Jasper underscored his pedigree by powering onto the podium, past a spent Hank McGregor in the closing stages of the race.

McGregor looked to be dominating the race early on, putting pressure on Mockè and Bouman as the race wound towards Isipingo. However shortly after he opted for a deeper line he blew, and looking like a paddler stuck on a treadmill, Mockè and Bouman quickly dropped him, leaving McGregor locked in a dogfight for third on an inside line with Jasper Mockè.

"It doesn't matter," said McGregor, who completed a two month Canoeing SA suspension the day before the big race. "Actually it just felt great to be back in the loop again."

To complete the celebrations in the Mockè household Nikki Mocke came storming through in the second half of the women's race to dethrone Michèle Eray, after the duo had been locked together at the halfway point of the 32km race.

"I was feeling really uncomfortable following Michèle on her inside line close to the backline," said Nikki Mockè. "Eventually I decided to follow my instincts and went much further out to sea where I felt a lot more comfortable."

"To be honest I couldn't see where Michèle was, and I did not actually know if I was in the lead when I came into the finish at Winkle," she added.

Toti local Michelle Eder finished third ahead of Donna Winter and Dene Simpson, a Durban expat now living and racing for New Zealand.

The on-form duo of Warren Jacobs and Jeffrey Smith took the double ski title in a fast time of 2 hours 12 minutes, edging out the Durban series regular pacesetters Herman Chalupsky and Andre Pohl, while Andre Woods and Helen Weldrick took the mixed doubles title.

The event broke the world record entry for an international race, with 296 paddlers taking part in the race from DUC to Winklespruit beach, raising the bar or the fledgling International Surfski Riders Association (ISPA) World Series tour.

1.Dawid Mockè 2:16.23
2.Matt Bouman 2:16.24
3.Jasper Mocke 2:17.14
4.Hank McGregor 2:18.25
5.Daryl Bartho 2:20.16
6.Steve Woods 2:22.24
7.Bevan Manson 2:22.50
8.Grant Woollaston 2:22.55 (Vet)
9.Grant van der Walt 2:23.03 (U21)
10.Tom Schilperoort 2:23.08
11.Sean Rice 2:24.20
12.Richard Von Wildermann 2:25.33
13.Shadrack Mkhize 2:26.00
14.Brett Bartho 2:26.16
15.Marc Holtzhausen 2:27.27
16.Mark Mulder 2:27.48
17.Hennie Roos 2:30.20
18.Marl Lewin 2:30.24 (SGM)
19.Adam Bothma 2:30.52
20.Oliver Burn 2:30.59

1.Nikki Mockè 2:34.16
2.Michèle Eray 2:37.44
3.Michelle Eder 2:44.36
4.Donna Winter 2:48.30
5.Dene Simpson (New Zealand) 2:49.50