Reigning Prescient Freedom Paddle champion, Hank McGregor, will be looking to make it three in a row, and a second successive title for his young partner, Josh Fenn, when they paddle the 27km course around Robben Island on Freedom Day, 27 April.
Fresh from his clean sweep of singles and doubles titles at the Fenn SA Surfski Champs held in Durban recently, McGregor stood firm with his Prescient Freedom Paddle partner Fenn to ensure the talented youngster from East London earned a first national doubles ski title in the S2 category.
The duo of Hamish Lovemore and Bevan Manson finished as deserved runners-up at the Fenn SA Surfski Champs and there will be no love lost come Freedom Day when the Prescient Freedom Paddle gets underway at the Oceana Power Boat Club.
Lovemore and McGregor have partnered before and were successful in claiming the K2 title at the SA Marathon Championships last October, but the former is a talented youngster who will be determined to beat McGregor, who has 11 World Championship titles to his name.
The Cape Duo of Kenny Rice and Uli Hart, though, will not let the KZN-led charge dominate their premier surf ski event and will be keen to upset the favourites. Rice has had the honour of beating McGregor in the Cape Point Challenge and will believe he has what it takes to topple him. Hart’s power and strength will complement Rice’s skill and tactical knowledge in local conditions.
The women’s race will be a different affair with race favourites, KwaZulu-Natal duo Jenna Ward and Saskia Hockly, looking to lead the ladies’ field from start to finish as they did with relative ease in 2020.
The defending champions’ first Prescient Freedom Paddle title was their inaugural trip around Robben Island and although the dynamic duo was apprehensive at the start, this young up-and-coming team held their nerve to deservedly claim top honours.
The powerhouse youngster, Hockly, was in fine form herself at the Fenn SA Surfski Champs in Durban earlier this month, where she claimed the S2 national title with the highly experienced and decorated paddler, Michelle Burn, along with the S1 SA Junior Title. She is rapidly building a paddling CV of distinction in a very short career thus far.
The Prescient Freedom Paddle has fast become a fixture on the paddling calendar, attracting some of the finest surfski competitors, who have won multiple world championship titles, and is one of the largest and unique surfski races in South Africa, incorporating SUP (Stand-Up Paddle boards), prone paddlers and rowing sculls.
For more race information visit: www.freedompaddle.co.za