It was an epic day for defending champion, Luke Nisbet (32), who won a hard-fought oceanside battle to take the top spot at the 2017 Red Bull Beach Patrol on Sunday, 10 December at Durban’s North Beach. The Westville local took on some of the country’s most seasoned lifesaving pros, volunteers and trained athletes in the gruelling lifesaving contest.
“The competition tests the endurance and fitness of community members who dedicate their time to saving lives,” said Barry Lewin, Events’ Sportive Director for Red Bull Beach Patrol. “This year we saw 16 men and three women making it to the ironman final which was incredibly exciting for the beachside spectators and competitors.”
For the first time in its three-year history the event was held in summer, however the 20-knot south-wester created incredibly challenging conditions for the competitors – pushing them to their limit. They were forced to compete against difficult wind-chop, big rips next to North Beach pier and waves of up to five feet.
This is the second year in a row that Nisbet has taken the eventual lead from La Lucia’s Wade Krieger who dominated the first three races. Krieger took home the line honours for surf, swim and ski before losing out to Nisbet in a nail-biting ironman final.
“The lead-up races were very tiring and then the final it was all-out, where it counted, but it really could have gone either way,” said Nisbet after the race. “I made a tactical error coming in too close to the pier but all the way it was a head-to-head, I had the lead, then Wade had the lead…it was close.”
There was also a standout performance in the men’s open division by Sanele Nxumalo who placed third. His skills on the board and ski leg on the day pushed him through to the ‘Most Improved’ competitor for 2017.
Taking the flag for the ladies’ contest was Morningside’s Teegan Hardwick who won all four races – surf, swim, ski and ironman. Hardwick finished in the top ten overall, giving her male counterparts a serious run for their money.
“The conditions today were tough by they made the race very exciting,” said Hardwick on her win. “The course was challenging but so different to any other races I have done. Fitness was definitely needed for this course style. I’m feeling really good but also quite tired! I’m just so happy with my results.”
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – RED BULL BEACH PATROL 2017
1. Luke Nisbet (Westville) – 0:19:25
2. Wade Krieger (La Lucia) – 0:19:30
3. Sanele Nxumalo (Lamontville) – 0:21:41
1. Teegan Hardwick (Morningside) – 0:25:50
2. Keli Reynolds (Durban North) – 0:26:58
3. Siobhan Sharp (Berea) – 0:28:32
For more information, head to www.redbull.co.za/beachpatrol.