Birkett and Notten turn the tables in Pete Marlin double ski battle

Andy Birkett and Nicky Notten ended the 2022 Dis-Chem Pete Marlin surfski weekend by reversing the double ski result of last year, as local Border paddlers featured in three of the top four crews come.

Birkett and Notten pulled away from the defending champions Hank McGregor and Josh Fenn in the closing stages of the 18 kilometre race from Glen Eden Beach to Nahoon in light Easterly winds.

Birkett said he was pleased to have Notten driving their double ski as the mild sea conditions required subtle skills during the race.

“It was a hard day on the water. It was flat today but there were still little bumps to try and catch,” said Birkett.

“Nicky drove like a master and was on point tactically today,” added current World Games and marathon world champion.

Notten said that conditions were calmer than they had expected, which made the race very tactical.

“It comes down to making sure you time your effort correctly to make sure you get the full advantage and your competitors are having to work harder to catch up,” said Notten.

“We didn’t have an exact plan going into today, but it worked out really well in the end,” he added.

Fish Hoek brothers Dawid and Jasper Mocké completed the podium ahead of Dom Notten and Matt Fenn in fourth and the new world champ Kenny Rice and Under 23 world title holder Uli Hart completing a stellar top five.

Durbanite Jenna Nisbet and her Knysna-raised partner Chloë Bunnett, now paddling for Spain, took the women’s double ski race bragging rights in a thrilling run up the beach from the potent junior crew of Holly Smith and Saskia Hockly, with Candice Murray and Babette Van Rooyen filling the small step on the women’s podium.

“It was hard racing,” said Bunnett. “The speeds were slow for what we were doing. I think there was a current against us.

“The three of stayed together most of the way and it all came down to the sprint up the beach to the finish. There was no shortage of motivation.”

Nisbet was delighted to secure the win, as they had not paddled together before the warm up before the race.

“I couldn’t have been more comfortable and I think we complement each other really well,” said Nisbet.

Nisbet’s husband Luke matched her success by winning the mixed double title with Melanie van Niekerk in a partnership put together the evening before the race, with the husband-and-wife duo of Brandon and Tracey van der Walt taking the runners-up honours.

1 Nicky Notten/Andy Birkett 1:14:30.13
2 Hank McGregor/Josh Fenn 1:14:53.47
3 Dawid Mocké/Jasper Mocké 1:16:28.05
4 Dom Notten/Matt Fenn 1:17:09.56
5 Uli Hart/Kenny Rice 1:18:52.12
6 Mark Keeling/Alex Rossouw 1:20:40.92
7 Zak Jacobs/Luke Jean Le Roux 1:21:39.42
8 Jason Ekstrand/Bryce Lawson 1:23:04.71
9 Peter Cole/Dan Jacobs 1:23:12.77
10 Gene Prato/Kyle Friedenstein 1:23:58.64

1 Jenna Nisbet/Chloë Bunnett 1:29:24.66
2 Holly Smith/Saskia Hockly 1:29:35.73
3 Candice Murray/Babette Van Rooyen 1:30:13.47
4 Christy Shrimpton/Angie Austin 1:37:05.57
5 Jade Dundas-Starr/Kirstin Scott 1:45:49.22
6 Lyn Bennett/Tracey Nuss 1:46:13.92

1 Melanie Van Niekerk/Luke Nisbet 1:24:51.23
2 Brandon Van Der Walt/Tracey Van Der Walt 1:29:34.65
3 Fabian Smith/Kerry Louw 1:41:50.84
4 Kelly Stephenson/Neal Stephenson 1:43:30.86
5 Grant Sinclair/Janet Sinclair 1:46:04.43
6 Pierre Webber/Fiona Webber 1:47:47.43
7 Angus Tanner/Megan Alderman 1:48:16.30
8 Raoul Goosen/Karen Fiel/Roy Lynn 2:03:26.24