SA Holds on for Narrow Shamaal Victory

www.MyPE.co.za: South
Africa hung on by the skin of their teeth to claim a famous victory
against Australia in the four-day Southern Shamaal International
Surfski Challenge that finished in East London on Tuesday 8 December
2009.

After being beaten by 45 minutes last year, a young South African team
showed lots of spirit to turn the tables by a mere two minutes and 17
seconds.

Australia – led by nine-times Molokai champion Dean Gardiner – started
the final day more than six minutes down, but held their best for last
to claw back the majority of lost time.

Both teams sent out their singles combinations first on today’s opening
leg of 26 kilometres between Hamburg and Kidd’s Beach.

South Africa’s Richard von Wildemann (1:55:17) set the third fastest
time to beat home his Australian counterpart, Ash Nesbit (1:55:20), by
a mere three seconds.

The Transnationals’ Jasper Mocke (1:51:07) was quickest, followed by
Team UAE’s Jonathan Crowe (1:55:02).

Both Australia and the Emirates team struggled to get out after the
change-over, which gave South Africa the early advantage in the overall
battle on the day’s second stage over 30 kilometres between Kidd’s
Beach and Nahoon Beach.

Gardiner, however, showed why he is widely regarded as one of the best
downwind paddlers in the world as he and partner Brendon Sarson quickly
caught and passed the South Africans. Thereafter South Africa’s Barry
Lewin and Bevan Manson could only hope to limit their losses.

The Aussies’ doubles combination (1:50:42) set the fastest time on the
final stage, followed by South Africa (1:55:05) and South Africa B
(1:57:51).

“Dean (Gardiner) is just too good in these conditions,” said a visibly
tired Manson. “When they came past us, it felt like we were standing
still. I thought we had lost it.”

Lewin was full of praise for Gardiner. “Today he showed everyone why he
has won the Molokai nine times. He is an absolute master in these
conditions.”

It was a major achievement for South Africa to come back from last
year’s “clubbing”, Lewin admitted. “However, we really had to work hard
in the final stretch after a rocky middle section.”

Gardiner said they had nothing to loose and everything to gain. “We
decided to just go for it.

“We loved the conditions. Brendon (Sarson) had the power at the back
and I simply had to catch the right lines.”

The Australians will feel that they may have lost an opportunity to
make up more ground on the South Africans after day three between
Hamburg and Port Alfred was cancelled due to poor visibility.

“We cannot blame the weather,” Gardiner said. “We made a few tactical
mistakes on the opening day and that cost us.”

Gardiner said the South Africans’ paddled “strategically” very well and
deserved the victory.

Day 4 Results:

  1. Team Australia – 03:46:02
  2. Team South Africa – 03:50:22
  3. South African B Team – 03:58:10
  4. USA – 04:11:28
  5. Team UAE – 03:56:14
  6. Slummies – 04:07:48
  7. DSKC No. 1 – 04:12:15
  8. GASSP – 04:51:58
  9. Team KPMG – 04:39:10
  10. B-Team – 04:17:16
  11. A-Team – 04:34:36
  12. Down Wind Junkies – 04:57:36
  13. Team Automall – 04:29:36
  14. Boyd – 05:03:27
  15. The Challengers – 05:16:10
  16. Flying Squad – 04:56:19
  17. Deep Line – 04:37:54
  18. Masters – 04:16:45
  19. Team Summies 1 – 04:04:55
  20. Speedy – 04:37:56
  21. Team Eishhh – 04:55:46
  22. Transnational – 03:55:16
  23. Dah Lighties – 04:42:36
  24. The 3 Umlungus – 04:46:48
  25. Team Bobby Joubert – 05:19:14
  26. DSKC No. 2 – 04:46:17

Southern Shamaal Overall
Results:

  1. Team South Africa (10:16:02);
  2. Team Australia (10:18:19);
  3. Transnational (10:30:53);
  4. South African B Team (10:34:54);
  5. Team UAE (10:45:13);
  6. Team Summies 1 (10:59:30);
  7. Slummies (11:08:47);
  8. DSKC No. 1 (11:22:35);
  9. USA (11:29:22);
  10. B-Team (11:30:52);
  11. Masters (11:43:37);
  12. A-Team (12:06:13);
  13. Team Automall (12:07:16);
  14. DSKC No. 2 (12:22:43);
  15. Deep Line (12:25:54);
  16. Speedy (12:27:25);
  17. The 3 Umlungus (12:34:12);
  18. Team KPMG (12:43:36);
  19. Dah Lighties (12:44:30);
  20. GASSP (12:51:26);
  21. Down Wind Junkies (12:51:37);
  22. Team Eishhh (12:59:22);
  23. Flying Squad (13:19:38);
  24. Boyd (13:20:33);
  25. The Challengers (14:06:05);
  26. Team Bobby Joubert (14:14:42)

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