Fish Hoek - Sean Rice combined tactical brilliance and ferocious determination to win the Fenn Cape Point Challenge in tough, flat conditions against a very strong field, and in the process cementing his status as the rising star of world surfski paddling.


Rice, the 2009 and 2010 New York Mayor’s Cup International Marathon Surfski Champion, raced into the finish at Fish Hoek unchallenged, having out-witted and outraced the 2009 champion Dawid Mocke and 2008 Champion Hank McGregor over the critical final stage from the dramatic turn around Cape Point into the finish.

The New Balance Fish Hoek Lifesaving Club’s 20-years old star was clearly well prepared for the gruelling ultramarathon, widely regarded as the most prestigious surfski title on the national calendar, and revelled in the largely flat ocean conditions that suited his Canadian-sponsored  “Think”  surfski as he posted a substantial two minute victory over McGregor.


The defining point of the race came at the awe-inspiring passage around Cape Point, where each of the five paddlers in the front bunch had different tactics in mind, and all five seized the opportunity at the Point to try and make a race-winning break.


“When the lead-bunch of five boats came around the Point, I saw Hank (McGregor) move over well to the right taking the deep line like he did 2 years ago, while Tom (Schilperoort) started sprinting toward the inside towards Partridge Point," said Rice afterwards.
"Adrenalin kicked-in and I had to put in a 150%-effort interval for five  minutes and prayed I’d done enough to burn him, and everybody else, off," said Rice.

The tactical gamble together with a titanic solo charge on the inside line saw enough to rocket rice into a substantial lead over the other four surfski racing giants. "I’ve been training hard for this race because it’s probably the most prestigious race and the longest-standing surfski-race in South Africa," said Rice.

Although outclassed on the day, McGregor paid tribute to his young adversary and said he regretted taking the deeper line, since there were precious few ocean runs he could exploit to his advantage.

Simon van Gyssen, also from Fish Hoek  provided something of a surprise  coming in third, just ahead of Dawid Mockè who pipped younger brother Jasper Mockè into fifth spot.

Plettenberg Bay lifesaver Michèle Eray won the women's title by some considerable margin from Nikki Mockè and Bianca Bevitt in third.


Brendan Thompson and Bevan Manson won the double-ski race against the unlikely pairing of seasoned Cape ace Peter Cole and KwaZulu-Natal surfski novice Kwanda Mhlope, with visiting Dutch International Rick Daman partnering Eugene van der Westhuisen to third place.


A total of 122 craft completed the tough outing, albeit in forgiving conditions but without much downwind assistance from Mother Nature, one of the biggest fields of finishers in one of the oldest surfski marathon races in the world.

 

More information can be found at www.surfski.co.za and www.surfski.info
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
FENN CAPE POINT CHALLENGE

Single Ski
1.Sean Rice 3:40.43
2.Hank McGregor 3:42.39
3.Simon van Gyssen 3:45.38
4.Dawid Mockè 3:46.21
5.Jasper Mockè 3:48.16
6.Tom Schilperoort 3:49.01
7.Graeme Solomon 3:55.12
8.Grant van der  Walt 3:58.26
9.Adam Bothma 4:05.01
10.Jayden Alford-Loots 4:07.23

Women single ski
1.
Michèle Eray 4:09.29
2.Nikki Mockè 4:16.49
3.Bianca Beavitt 4:30.40

Double Ski
1.Brendan Thompson/Bevan Manson 3:47.28
2.Peter Cole/Kwanda Mhlope 3:47.53
3.Eugene van der Westhuisen/Rick Daman 3:51.22
4.Kenny Collins/Warren Valentine 3:51.33
5.Steve Cohen/Jaysen Golding 3:55.18
6.Steve Farrell/Richard Cele 3:56.45