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Back You are here: Home Sports Other Surf Ski: Clauson & Flanagan Dominate SA Schools
Monday, 17 March 2014 16:23

Surf Ski: Clauson & Flanagan Dominate SA Schools

South Africa's most decorated champion life saver Hank McGregor gave praise to the younger members of the field taking part in the Varsity College South African Schools Surfski Championships that culminated with the final event, the Varsity College Surfski Challenge, that brought down the curtain on the Surfski Series.

Kirsten Flanagan Surfski“For us, the series is just a fantastic opportunity to get a top training session in each week and go head to head with some of the world’s top paddlers. You don’t get a much stronger field at even the international races but to peak week in and week out for the series races and then for the big internationals is impossible.

“The youngsters and seeing them grow and develop into the sport, now that’s what this is all about!

“The series is all about them and is great to see them all taking to the water, even in the tough conditions that we had tonight, and going after a national title!” said Bouman.

The women’s race was again won by Nikki Russell, her third race victory in a row, and handed the former East London resident a deserved second place in the series behind regular title winner Michelle Burn of Fenn/Team Jeep.

“Michelle is just such a phenomenal athlete and an example for so many of us girls so to finish second in the series behind her is so awesome and to have even had a sprint up the beach in one of the races was like a dream for me!,” said Russell.

“Tonight it was really mushy with the wind coming from the East and the swell from the West so in terms of conditions it was in fact probably my worst race,” she laughed.

“I got hammered at the start then t-boned someone just past the backline and then I got smashed again on my way in so I'm glad to be on dry land again. But it was awesome being out there again, as always. I just love paddling on the sea!

“It's been awesome to get a few wins under the belt in these last the few races and now I'm really looking forward to the Bay Union Surfski Series in the winter and I’m hoping to paddle the Mauritius Classic as well as the Pete Marlin in East London which is part of the world series,” she added.

The final round of the series also doubled as the Varsity College SA Schools Surfski Championships and some of the country’s finest junior talent gathered to bravely take on the challenging conditions, and one another, in search of the prestigious national title.

St.Benedicts’ Jordan Clauson surged to his maiden surfski title as he powered home ahead of the Western Cape’s under-16 Mark Keeling (Fish Hoek High School), claiming his eighth race victory of the Marine Surfski Series and the under-18 series title as well.

“I actually thought it was beautiful out there,” chuckled Clauson afterwards. “There were runs going in both directions and it was just really awesome!

“The buoys weren't quite where we thought they were going to be so I managed to edge ahead when there was a bit of confusion when we turned and then just went as hard as I could to the finish line.

“I took part in SA Schools as an under-16 last year for the first time so to come back this year as an under 18 and win it is amazing!

“I’ve been going really nicely throughout the series, having won 8 of the races and picking up one second as well, so it's been a really good few months for me in the ski,” he added.

Under-18 girls defending champion Kirsten Flanagan overcame a disastrous start which saw her take two tiring and costly swims in the surf, to claw her way back and pick up her second title in the age group in as many years and her third consecutive title after clinching the under-16 girls’ top spot in 2012.

“I'm really stoked to have defended my title and to make it two in a row,” said Flanagan.

“It was a little disappointing that there weren't a few more girls on the line but I'm still happy with my result.

“It was really tough out there, especially getting out through the surf. I got smoked twice on my way out and so had to work really hard after that but I didn't panic, especially knowing it was quite a small field,” she added.

Flanagan was also the recipient of the coveted Varsity College bursary to the tertiary institution's Sport Life programme valued at over R40000.

KZN’s Kyeta Purchase showed good determination to overcome the elements as she claimed the under-16 girls national title.


Under 18 Boys
1.Jordan Clauson 46.26
2.Mark Keeling (U16) 47.15
3.Keagan Kok 49.04
4.Brett Wilken (U16) 51.15
5.Bailey Michael de Fondaumiere (U16) 55.21

Under 18 Girls
1.Kirsten Flanagan 57.34

Under 16 Boys
1.Mark Keeling 47.15
2.Brett Wilken 51.15
3.Bailey Michael de Fondaumiere 55.21

Under 16 Girls
1.Kyeta Purchase 1:05.26

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