DURBAN SURFSKI WORLD CUP – WINTER SERIES RACE 8

Positives: Great weather, great vibe, great venue at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club. Good showing of our craft and a clear sign of growing popularity of our new BULLET single ski and a great performance by Barry Lewin on his BULLET.

Negatives: No wind at all, no following runs to speak of, flat paddle which made the race feel longer than it was, mean surf at the finish damaging lots of ski’s in the shore break. 

Barry would certainly have preferred at least some wind to give the BULLET the opportunity to show its versatility in down wind conditions in addition to the speed of the ski. His 6th place overall, beating the top visiting international paddlers, both the van der Walt brothers who were expected to be a big threat in flat conditions, and a host of other top contenders, was very impressive and hopefully with the promise of good conditions in Mauritius for the next leg of the Surfski world series this coming weekend, he will get a further chance to show off his, and the boats capabilities.

It is clear that other leading manufacturers are aware of the presence of the BULLET in the market and from their reaction it is also clear that they see the new ski as a threat. Two leading South African paddlers that paddle the BULLET have been lured by lucrative offers to paddle other ski’s and not use a BULLET in the surfski world Cup. This was a clear intention to get the BULLET’s off the start line. In accepting the offer to move on to other boats, it backfired on both the manufacturers and paddlers concerned. It has cost the manufacturer concerned free brand new lightweight carbon boats  Neither paddler did well at all in the World Cup, by their own standards on their newly acquired boats and their sponsored BULLET was paddled by somebody else. Barry Lewin beat a close rival that was on a BULLET before, by 8 places and Mark Mulder on a BULLET beat a usually close rival paddler that changed from a BULLET just before the race, by almost 20 places, to finishing outside of the top 40.   

It is sad that 1) Manufacturers will stoop to any level to protect their market share despite dominating the market and 2) that paddlers, particularly young up and coming paddlers, are lured into making the fundamental mistake of changing equipment three days before a major race.

When manufacturers do this and make provisions like that, they obviously do not have the paddlers interest at heart at all, and in this case very much to the detriment of the paddler. Sad!

That said, life and surfski racing moves on with the Mauritius Surfski world Cup this weekend and locally the Toti “Downwind race”. Well, let’s hold thumbs. We are still without a down wind race this season.

See you on the water

MARK

 

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