The format of a 22 – 25km single ski race on a Saturday and a double ski race over the same distance the next day works for a number of reasons. It is not a killer physically. It gives clubs in some of the lesser known paddling areas of the country a chance to lay on something special for a whole weekend and give visiting paddlers a great paddling experience. It worked last year in East London and again in no uncertain terms this past weekend in Richards Bay. On both occasions the organizers very faced with radical conditions, but were able to give us two great days of racing. In addition to this, an overnight visit to places like Richards Bay is great for paddlers to get together and socialize. Get to know more about that area and the paddlers from that part of the country. The awesome group of paddlers from the Zululand Kayak club were incredible hosts, also laying on a good social evening on Saturday night.
In Richards Bay this past weekend we had it all. Massive surf and strong wind which prompted the organizers to change the order to doubles on Saturday and an out and back course starting inside Richards Bay harbour, with a unique feature of a small playful wave
inside the harbour. Into the wind for 11km, which was tough but achievable in a
double ski, and a very exciting run back in a big down wind swell. Some really
great racing in all the categories. The quality of the field was again amazing,
with Hank McGregor & Grant van der Walt beating Mathew Bouman and Bevan
Manson for the title, and Dawid Mocke and Barry Lewin,
filling third place on the podium.
On Sunday the surf had dropped enough for us to have a 23km
down wind paddle, in very hot sunny weather after the swell had dropped
dramatically over night. The tricky shore break at the launch area prompted an
offshore wet start, giving paddlers time to get out through the surf. For most
of the paddlers this was not a problem, but there were some unfortunate
casualties. The odd wave really did pop up and catch a few people off guard.
You had to bide your time a bit and pick a good break. The racing was great
offshore with Hank McGregor showing his dominance of South African paddling at
the moment, winning ahead of Dawid Mocke and Mathew Bouman.
I was happy with the spread of our craft in the event. There
were a good few more APEX 2 double ski’s in the line up, with most of the
paddlers on the APEX 2 making the podium in their categories. The APEX 2 revels
in the down wind conditions. The BULLET is increasing in stature, with a few in
the top 10 and top 20 overall and young paddler Jabin Lyons, having bad luck in
the shore break at the start, missing the gun and getting away last, still
making it back through the field to claim a bronze medal in the under 23
category on his BULLET single ski. What was also evident was the amount of
paddlers in the age group categories on our SYNERGY single ski making the
podium. I sneaked in with a gold medal in the sub grand masters category on a
SYNERGY. The SYNERGY is a very under rated ski in those down wind conditions. I
really had a lot of fun.
I cannot wait to start production on our new lower volume
intermediate ski, based on the SYNERGY. It is going to be a big hit with
intermediate paddlers that still want to be competitive.
See you on the water