EL’s Surfski World Champs
East London paddlers accounted for three of Team South Africa’s 12 Medal haul across ten age group categories at the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships in Brittany, France last week.
Josh Fenn became our city’s latest World Champion in winning the Under 23 Men’s race ahead of Hector Henot (France) and Noah Havard (Australia). The win sees Fenn surge to the forefront of the sport after his fourth place at the World Champs in Hong Kong (2017) in the Under 18 category and another fourth place, this time in the Under 23’s at the World Cup in Portugal last year.
Josh’s younger brother, Matt secured bronze in the Junior Men (Under 18) behind Cape Town’s race winner Uli Hart and Jorge Enrique from Spain. In the Over 35 Masters category, Bevan Manson followed up his PE2EL Marathon victory in early December last year in claiming the world title ahead of William Lee (Australia) and Ernest Van Riet (SA). Good fortune did not follow the hopes of our women’s paddlers, Zara Wood and Nikki Birkett.
After her bronze medal in the Junior Women in 2017, then aged just 14, Wood’s title hopes dramatically slipped away as she fell out of her boat about half way through the race. Wood finished seventh. Birkett’s ambitions of improving on her fifth place in 2017 had nature intervene when a clump of seaweed became attached to her rudder, she finished fifteenth.
Canoe Sprint Champion
In Bratislava, Slovakia this weekend, East London’s Under 18 Canoe Sprint Champion, Jordy Malherbe was in action at the Olympic Hope Games. He secured fourth place in the A Final, a significant improvement on his seventh place in a B Final in Romania just last month.