Race #5 In South Africa: Photo Finish Between The Young Guns
A fresh bout of wind rocked up just in time for the 5th race of the PRIMI Naish Downwind series – 15-22knots and a 2-3ft wave made exit and paddling a breeze. Everyone got through the breakers unscathed and in start one it was Rory Smyth who shot out of the blocks and got a great start. Mishka Steyn also featured prominently as the first group set off for the finish in Big Bay in fine fashion.
Second start was again dominated by Dylan Frick who paddles hard and fast from the very first stroke. Ethan Koopmans didn’t give Dylan too much rope this time and these two set off on a battle royal never before seen on our downwinders. The two followed each other on every run so they at one point where way off line and even offered a glimmer of hope for the pursuit team of Peter Petersen, Joshua Robertson and Brad Adams – it remained all but a glimmer and never more…. The Bertish brothers, Greg and Chris were absent due to injury and other commitments, while Ivan van Vuuren was a non-starter as the wind did not exceed 25knots….This left the battle for the lead entirely to Dylan and Ethan and opened up opportunities for the lower placed paddlers to make their mark.
Dylan and Ethan somehow ended up way inshore, constantly changing the lead and never being more than 25meters apart the entire way. They on purpose shadowed each other, neither of them wanting to risk giving the other an advantage by choosing a less efficient line. This meant it was purely skill and stamina that would decide the outcome. They ripped through the field of first start back markers and on entry to Small Bay, Ethan had edged out a small lead of 30 odd meters. In Big Bay, Dylan paddled like a maniac and managed to close the gap enough to get onto the same wave for the finish. As they rounded the final buoy they were neck and neck and it was now a man with board sprint to the finish line in the closest finish ever witnessed in 3 years of SUP downwind racing in Cape Town. On the run, Ethan made a rookie error, as he had forgotten to undo his leash and in the end Dylan just managed to edge ahead to win by 0.662 seconds!!!
Great performance by these two young up and coming super stars – they had cleared the rest of the field by a margin of nearly 6 minutes!!!! As we had predicted last week, Dylan would be happiest with light wind conditions, but Ethan seems to have closed the gap, so future racing between these two will be very exciting indeed!!!
The ladies battle between Mishka Steyn and Brigette van Aswegen has been very close all season, but this week Mishka found a new gear and put 5 minutes into Brigette – mighty fine display by Mishka!
In the juniors Ethan coming second overall meant he again was clear winner with Joshua Robertson runner up some 6 minutes back. Joshua enjoys the lighter winds and wasn’t far from repeating his overall podium finish from race number one with 4th overall
In the masters I baptized my new Naish LE26 and managed to take third overall and first in the masters. Joshua Robertson had been chasing 3rd place overall the entire way and both paddlers were in contact with Dylan and Ethan for the first 4km’s – but when they disappeared inshore much time was lost on the wider line. Armien Wohlgemuth has been improving every race and took a fine second in the masters with Rob Munro closing off the masters podium.
In the real masters, the ladies of Monika Wohlgemuth and Maleen Hoekstra both had smooth outings with Maleen reporting improved glides every week.
Dylans win gives him the advantage going into the championship decider next week while Mishka has pulled a nice lead on Brigette as well. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings and the forecast says she will be singing next week Wednesday for the 6th, and final race of the PRIMI Naish Series. It will be our x-mas paddle and we urge all paddlers to dress up in x-massy fashion and bring a small new or used toy wrapped to be donated to “Home of Hope.”
Click here for full results from tonight’s Race #5, or check out the overall rankings and more pics of the action below…