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Nisbet nails top lifesaving title in Durban
- Updated: July 11, 2016
Usually the spot of many a surf rescue, North Beach played host to lifesaving professionals and enthusiasts as Red Bull Beach Patrol saw competitors take to the warm waters of Durban, testing their overall fitness in four gruelling rounds.
Local boy Luke Nisbet, pictured above, fought off initial favourite Wade Krieger to claim the overall title.
The starting field of over 80 participants whittled down over the three preliminary legs, with only 33 making it to the traditional lifesaving ‘Iron-man’ final.
‘It was a great day all-round even though paddling conditions were a bit flat,’ Nisbet said after his win. ‘I really started feeling it during the run after the surfski leg of the final – the support on the pier was awesome and really pushed me on to the end.’
Krieger, though dominant in the preliminary rounds, couldn’t hold off Nisbet who starting the final with a strong swim and increased his gap over the field through the finale.
‘It’s great to win an event like this against such a top class field. This event is great for the local lifesavers because it gives guys the chance to showcase their skills over a format that is so unique to the sport.’
The typically warm Durban winter weather provided the ideal environment for action-packed racing as top lifesavers tested their mettle against a variety of other athletes in an exciting format.
The format’s preliminary rounds consisted of surfski, Malibu board and surf swim legs which narrowed down the field with the fastest athletes qualifying for the iron man final which included the three preliminary disciplines as well as a run down the North Beach pier and a swim to shore.
Dusi Canoe Marathon winner and third place finisher in 2016, Sbonelo Khwela, took a step out of his comfort zone as he competed in the day’s action: ‘What the professional lifeguards do on a daily basis is amazing. They have to be so fit to be able to save lives day after day. I was certainly humbled sitting amongst them in the field. ’They’re the real heroes.’
Women’s winner was Carmel Billson in 22:52. She was part of Team South Africa at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia.
Men: 1 Luke Nisbet 19min 51sec , 2 Wade Krieger 20:20, 3 Donald Brierley 21:42
Women : 1 Carmel Billson 22:52 , 2 Ayanda Maphumulo 24:55, 3 Tamryn Montgomery 25:05
Picture courtesy of Kevin Sawyer/Red Bull Content Pool