The 2012 Discovery Surfers Challenge may have appeared on the surface to be a fairly routine affair, however it was anything but and we were treated to some great running. The duels throughout the men’s field and in the different races were enticing.
Zingisile Marikeni was the media’s pre-race favourite and he might well have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat had it not been for Awonke Bungu being the stronger man in the water.
Bungu was the surprise leader for much of the race and enjoyed a 100m lead at Bonza Bay.
He kept looking over his shoulder, as well he might, for Marikeni put in a huge surge and on the approach to the Nahoon River had narrowed the gap to less that 10m.
Marikeni battled in the strongly flowing river and lost ground that he would never make up.
Bungu, who last ran Surfers in 2010 when he finished 5th, became a first time winner in 70:11 – a good time for very difficult conditions. Marikeni ended 32 seconds adrift while old man river, Makaya Masumpa at age 45, chased strongly throughout to finish just 20 seconds off Marikeni.
The 2007 winner, Doran Fritz, was 4th in 71:55
In the running Surfer category Alex Rossouw finished 7th overall to clinch the title for the second year in succession in a time of 75:33.
Bungu beat the first single ski of Hennie Roos by just 15 seconds in what was the tightest contest between the two disciplines in many years. Duncan Boyd, Warren Rieger and Alex Midlane followed Roos home.
Brendon Thompson and Andrew Carter teamed up to win the double ski race and they beat all other categories to the finish with a time of 68:36.
The strong following wind made it a happy day for paddling and while the runners and walkers had benefit too, the high tide, especially on the first 6km section to Gonubie negated much of the advantage offered by the wind.
Walking is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it open up possibilities for many more participants. Linda Poyo turned the tables form last year on Thando Lumkwana to win in 1:50:57.