Hank McGregor and Jenna Ward continued their strong post-Covid19 lockdown form when they won the men’s and women’s K2 races at the 27km Prescient Freedom Paddle around Robben Island.
Proving that experience has massive value, McGregor and his young partner, Josh Fenn, powered to victory, with Kenny Rice and Nic Notten runners-up. The Cape Town pair may have had a different impact on the result had they not had early trouble with some kelp stuck on their rudder. This caused the boat some drag in the early stages and then forced a quick break to free the kelp. They then had to work exceptionally hard to gain lost time.
The women’s race however, was a different affair, with Ward and Saskia Hockly, both from KZN, leading the field from start to finish. It was both their first trip around the famous Island and both paddlers were apprehensive. Ward, a seasoned ocean paddler, was still tentative before the start and said that she would be happy just to make it around safely. This exciting new combination brings a new dimension and energy to the ladies’ race and looks set to go from strength to strength.
Race organiser Robin Tindall was relieved at the success of the event and the appreciation expressed by the competitors for making the event possible. ‘It was a challenge in so many ways and we were never certain it was possible. The fog on the day just added another safety challenge decision but we were prepared for all eventualities, knowing that 2020 will be just be “one of those years”. We thank everyone for making this year’s event happen,’ Tindall said.
It was a combination of hard-work, collaboration, and input from both sponsors, organisers, hosts, medics, crew, and helpers to make it come together on the day. Most notably, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Culture and Sport assisted in making it possible. Title sponsors, Prescient, stood by the date change of the event and were rewarded through their continuation by being part of the success.
The 2021 version of the race now has an impressive springboard to go forward in leaps proving that if they can make it happen in 2020, then 2021 will be something spectacular. The addition of having rowing boats, along with SUP and prone paddle board athletes going around the Island added to the possibility that the journey is achievable by many.
For more event information visit www.freedompaddle.co.za
Image: Ladies winners Jenna Ward and Saskia Hockly (supplied)