Multiple national champion Hank McGregor proved he is still at the top of his game when he and Melanie van Niekerk won the men’s and women’s S1 surfski titles in Cape Town on Sunday.
The men’s race was stacked with most of the country’s best ocean racers and it was the veteran McGregor who came out on top.
McGregor was challenged by the Cape crusade that included both second and third place finishers Kenny Rice in second and Nick Notten in third.
For a portion of the race there was a large group at the front but at the turn was when McGregor put in his move and got ahead from there which gave him the gap he needed.
“It was a hard slog into the wind at the start but after the turn I managed to get ahead of Mark (Keeling) and Uli (Hart) and just put my head down,” McGregor said.
“It was hard racing into the sun but also with it not being my home town I felt like I was being hunted down all the way to the finish line.
“I had a great race and I felt really strong and I’m stoked to take the title especially with the national selection on the line.”
The women’s race was a fight throughout and it seemed like the top three of Van Niekerk, Kira Bester and Michelle Burn before Van Niekerk took home her first national surfski title just ahead of Bester in second.
“Kira took off and pulled the whole way to the turn which was good for us,” Van Niekerk said.
“Then it was the downwind race home and Kira and Michelle took a deeper line while I just went straight home which worked out for me so I’m happy about that!”
The result secures Van Niekerk’s spot on the national team for the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships later in the year, an opportunity she is reveling.
“I am really keen to go to Portugal and do the Nelo Summer Challenge which will also be the World Championships.”