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Hank McGregor during day 1 of the 2021 Berg River Canoe Marathon on August 5, 2021 in Paarl. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/GRANT PITCHER
Hank McGregor during day 1 of the 2021 Berg River Canoe Marathon on August 5, 2021 in Paarl. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/GRANT PITCHER

Hank McGregor erased the memory of his nightmarish accident at the end of the singles race on Saturday by teaming up with local star Josh Fenn to win the doubles race at the Dis-Chem Pete Marlin Surfski Race on Sunday.

Raced over 19km from Glen Eden to Nahoon Beach the pair set off on a line close inshore and dealt with challenges from Andy Birkett and Nicky Notten, and then the Mocké siblings Dawid and Jasper, who had rolled the dice by taking a deep ocean line.

On Saturday McGregor was dicing for the singles title coming into the finish at Yellow Sands when he was caught by a big set of waves at Kwelerha Point and dumped onto the rocks.

“I felt like I had a point to prove after yesterday. My pride was pretty bruised after that swim,” said McGregor.

After a fast start McGregor and Fenn were reeled in by the crew of Birkett and Notten, prompting an inshore duel that lasted several kilometres until McGregor and Fenn managed to get away at the front alone.

“I looked out to sea and I saw Dawid and Jasper Mocké getting into the runs so we went out to join them and started another duel,” said McGregor.

Once again they were able to get away and they approached the finish at Nahoon with a comfortable lead.

“All I had to worry about then was not taking any more stupid lines into the finish,” joked the Team Fenn/Euro Steel star McGregor.

The McGregor/Fenn combination remains unbeaten since they started their winning streak, including victories at the Freedom Paddle and the SA S2 Champs in Durban in April.

“It was really good to be able to bring it home for Josh in his hometown East London as well,” he said.

The women's title fell to the Cape crew of Candice Murray and Kira Bester, holding off the challenge from Durbanites Jenna Nisbet and Saskia Hockly, with Hockly’s younger sister Valma Jean and her partner Jade Wilson grabbing the last spot on the senior podium.

“We started as hard as we could, which was our game plan, and then went out to sea to try to find as many runs as we could,” said Murray.

“It was tough,” said Bester. “It was one of the most painful paddles I have had in a long time.”

Chloë Bunnet and Hein van Rooyen won the mixed doubles class, edging home ahead of world champion Michelle Burn and her husband Oliver Burn.

In another moment for the hometown fans to celebrate, Luke Swinney and Jordan Fenn won the junior doubles title in eighth place overall, coming in ahead of the winning under-23 boat of Dan Jacobs who was partnering the Danish under-23 marathon world champion Nikolai Thomsen.


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