I braved the gale-force wind to drive to East London on Friday to take part in the Kia South African Surf Ski Champs.
My Thule racks held up well, and my Neloski and I made it there in one piece! The wind on the drive was phenomenal! haven’t felt anything like it for a while!
It was so great to have a Surf Ski Champs back in the Oos Kaap! Charl and his crew at Border Canoe Club put on an unbelievable show. Well organised, great prizes, fantastic food after each day, and an AWESOME race course.
The race was epic! Great downwind conditions, with a following swell made the 22km course feel pretty quick. It was very quick in fact, as I finished in 1h28 (which is a 4min/km average pace and a 15km/hr average speed). Dawid won the men’s race in 1h16 (which is a 3:27min/km average pace or 17.3km/hr average speed!)
I actually had so much fun I never really felt like I was racing! (Until the endsprint that is!)
Nikki and I kept exchanging the lead, until just before the very end. I managed to leave my GPS at the house, and so had to guess where the finish was. A moment of not concentrating left me wondering why she ducked around this point, until I realised that it was the finish. She managed to catch a small wave, and then the Bay went flat! I paddled as hard as I could and managed to close the 50m gap to 20m. I had also checked out the finish a few hours before the start, with Beth Burton, my host and local legend! Her brother Dave also gave me some tips about the finish, and he mentioned that that the river mouth would be flowing out to sea.
Nikki paddled into the current while I went a bit right and managed to move a bit quicker than her. She also then made a massive error by hopping out of her ski while I paddled all the way to the beach, even if it was only 20-30cm deep and then only had to run about 2m up the sand to the finish line. I won by half a metre! Very exciting finish and a really great race!
I am now 3x in a row SA Single Ski Champion!
On the Sunday Nikki and I hopped into a double and raced the same course, but without that great wind of the day before it turned into a bit of a slog! Got to see 3 whales though!
Next up I am off to CT for some Sunday series races as final prep before I fly to Dubai for the Shamaal on 3rd December.
(Thanks Albert for that handle! It made all the difference when I had to run up the beach to the finish!!)