Pre Durban WC Race Report


So I am sitting at George airport about to board my flight to Durban for the Dunlop Surf Ski World Cup. Above is a screenshot of the expected conditions…

I try to not look at weather predictions too far in advance, they are generally wrong, and get more accurate closer to race day. So instead of wasting energy worrying about what race day will bring, I focus on training and other things. This time however, I have been getting emails with predictions from nervous friends, and Facebook has been full of posts from paddlers starting to stress out.

Now the wind is looking fantastic, and a SW means we are going to paddle north, but that 4m of swell is not so swell! Especially on the Natal North Coast! I used to train in a secret spot in a lagoon near where we will finish, and let me tell you, the shore-break there is massive, not to mention the back break! Then again, yesterday morning’s prediction looked flat (1.6m swell and virtually no wind!) So who knows!

The race should be great, as we have a number of internationals out to paddle against South Africa’s finest. In the men’s event Hank Macgregor is going really well, as well as Dawid Mocke. The Durban locals should be up for a fight, with Matt Bouman finishing a tight second to Dawid last year, and guys like Barry Lewin who know the coastline so well. From Cape Town, Tom Schilperoodt is flying! From Australia, Bruce Taylor (who gave TJ a run for his money at the Perth Doctor event in January) should be a serious challenger, as well as Dean Gardener who, if the wind is blowing, will deny his age and only show his experience. There are a few French guys out, and it will be interesting to see how they go.

In the women’s event, last year’s winner Nikki Mocke is back, as well as all the Durban girls, Donna Winter, Danica Vorster and Michelle Eder, who has recently tried out some international sprinting World Cups. Ruth Highman is out from Australia, and she loves a big downwind!

I am looking forward to the change in scenery, as the past 10 days for me were spent in an ever-changing Berg River, in a K1, learning my routes for the upcoming Berg River Marathon. I spent a fair bit of that hopping over trees, and testing my flexibility! I am really looking forward to getting back into a ski, especially one as comfortable as my Nelo!

(I wrote that and didnt post it straight away. Right now I have been in Durban for nearly a full day and it has been crazy busy so far. Got a terribly small rental car which has been fitted with Thule roof racks – thanks! Managed to do a session with Hank and Barry and the guys, and another great session this morning with Bridgitte, except she was in a K1, and me a ski, on the flatwater!  Did I mention that we saw a crocodile? The predictions have changed again… What did I say earlier… Let’s wait and see!  BTW The Mound here in Durban is breaking! The swell looks massive, over 10 foot, at the moment!)

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