Nothing like a title to bring out the top guns. Last weekend saw the local “DaReal downwind series race 3 “, elevated to the status of KwaZulu Natal Single Surfski Championships.
You know the competition is tough when previous National champions have to pull
out all the stops to make the top 5 placing’s.
You also do not often have all the elements in your favour. Race organizer Angus Ferguson made the call to wait until Sunday afternoon to run the 23km race back to Durban from
Umhloti. He called it spot on, with good sunny warn weather, good running downwind conditions and very little surf at the often tricky start at Umhloti.
There was a small but tricky back break at the finish, but nothing too troublesome. I did see a ski break in half at the finish but this was another, “Glass vacuum” ski. Something
I have touched on in previous blogs.
Good quality racing it was. The tame shore break at the start allowed for a fast even break for all the leaders. It really was great out there and you could run from wave to wave
at will the whole 23km. You have a decision 18km out, of whether to stay close
and follow the line across the Bay or take a Tiger line, across the Bay, giving
up the longer runs in the beginning, to have a better line to the finish in the
last 6km. the field splits up quite quickly so you just have to go flat out,
not knowing who is in front or behind you until you start coming together again
in the last 6km.
The big names came filing in. Hank McGregor, Mathew Bouman, Daryl Bartho, Herman Chalupsky, Grant van der Walt. There was some close racing in all the age group categories.
It really got the KZN paddlers amped up for this weekend’s S.A. Championships in Richards Bay. Watch this space.
See you on the start line.