Exciting climax to inaugural Ballito Downwind

The first edition of the Ballito Downwind saw pre-race favourites Hayley Nixon and Sabina Lawrie as well as Ant Stott and Matt Bouman take home the spoils at Tiffany’s beach on Sunday.

The 18km course from Blythdale to Tiffany’s was always going to be frantic with a handful of combinations eyeing the victory, but it was Bouman and Stott, who won the Scottburgh2Brighton doubles race the week before, combined well to edge Hank McGregor and Lee Furby in a strong battle.

“Matt and I have spent a lot of time in a boat together but usually with me in the front,” Ant Stott said. “It was a privilege to sit in the back of the surfski and see how these guys operate and the skill that they have to find runs and use the swell.

“I just sat in the back and gave him the power when he needed it.

“It was great to win last weekend and then follow it up with another win here and hopefully Matt will pick me in the future for more races!”

Bouman and Stott came home in just over one hour and five minutes while second placed McGregor and Furby finished just over 30 seconds behind them while Luke Nisbet and Steve Woods finished third just under 20 seconds behind second place.

The ladies race was just as exciting with Hayley Nixon and Sabina Lawrie edging Jenna Ward and Donna Winter in a thriller. Both pairs were in great form but the former pair of Nixon and Lawrie won by a minute in the end.

“The conditions were quite mild and easy to handle and big shout out to Barry (Lewin) on putting on a great show at the first Ballito Downwind,” Nixon mentioned.

“It was nice to have easy conditions at Blythdale because it was the first time that I have launched from there; but we got out easily and chased Hank and Lee which meant we got through backline quite quickly and out into the good stuff.”

The pace set by the ladies teams was quick with Nixon and Lawrie finishing in eleventh place overall and Ward and Winter were just behind them in 14th.

“There was a good game of cat and mouse between about four boats which was really exciting and we had our own battle with Jenna and Donna who made up good time after the first few kilometres to catch us.

“Getting towards the end Sabina and I just clicked because we knew we had to try and get away from Jenna and Donna.

“It was tough racing and we managed to get a good angle coming into the finish at Tiffany’s – which was also something new to me.

“We had quite a clean finish and we were really stoked to come away with the win and it was a brilliant day paddling with Sabina, she is an absolute rock star in the back of the boat,” Nixon added happily.

Clinton Cook and Christie Mackenzie were the first mixed double across the line while it was Todd Borland who came home as the first single ski.

1.Matt Bouman/Ant Stott 1:06:55
2.Hank McGregor/Lee Furby 1:07:31
3.Luke Nisbet/Steve Woods 1:07:49
4.Barry Lewin/Tyron Maher 1:09:39
5.Gene Prato/Stewart Little 1:11:23
6.Zoog Heyns/Lance Howarth 1:12:14
7.Oliver Burn/Matt Gunning 1:12:26
8.Ross Fountain/Brett Hadiaris 1:14:17
9.Stretch Struwig/Mike Stevens 1:14:23
10.Clinton Cook/Christie Mackenzie 1:14:27

1.Hayley Nixon/Sabina Lawrie1:14:58
2.Jenna Ward/Donna Winter 1:15:58
3.Michelle Burn/Kyeta Purchase 1:17:16

1.Todd Borland 1:15:22
2.Malcolm Carey 1:18:12
3.Mat Carlisle 1:21:01