a day in Plettenberg Bay


a training day in Plett from Michele Eray on Vimeo.

Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge



sabrina website

Every December I have the privilege of taking part in the Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge. This once small gathering of swimmers and paddlers has now blossomed into a 2-day event, spanning many disciplines, and having over 3000 participants!

The Sabrina Love Foundation is an amazing charity set up by Suzy and Tony Lubner, that supports kids with special needs here in Plett. This event is one of (and the biggest I think) fundraiser for the charity. the foundation is in memory of their daughter  Sabrina who passed away after succumbing to a rare bone marrow disorder.

The Sabrina Mission statement: “To create a fund, which will continue in perpetuity to assist physically disabled children who require financial assistance either for equipment, medical treatment or professional help. The assistance will create in one form or another a better quality of life for these children and their families!”

You can read more about the Foundation by clicking on the logo above.

Image by Mike Tippett

Image by Mike Tippett

The guys at Magnetic South took this event on a few years back, and their professionalism has turned it into one of the best events on the local calender. On Day 1 of the event, you can take part in a seriously tough Ocean swim from The Wreck to Central beach, roughly 4.5km, a 10km Road Run, the 15km Ocean Paddle, or the Beach Walk.

Day 2 involves a Dam Swim, 25km Mountain Bike ride, 10km Trail Run and the Kids of Steel. This all took place at the beautiful Kurland venue.

I took part in the trail run, and loved every sweaty minute of it!

Image by Jacques Marais

Image by Jacques Marais

Next year will be the 10th running of this event. If you are in Plett, make sure you don’t miss this one!

One month into 2012. New Boats. Crazy weather.


One whole month has zoomed by already. Unbelievable. Slightly on the back foot here, but I am making February’s goal to get ON TOP of things, with better planning & scheduling, and even more importantly, PRIORITISING!

My new Nelo Ski and K1 arrived yesterday. Holding the 2 beauties I couldn’t help feel that shiver of excitement that new, COOL stuff brings! It kind of renewed my stoke to go paddling again. Not that the stoke was gone, just that it is now doubled. The colour scheme I have chosen, and which the great guys at Nelo managed to get 100% right, looks crazy good!

Thanks Andre and your team. The effort that goes into these boats is incredible, and the finishes are something to see! Did I mention they are LIGHT!! Stoked:)

Here is a shot of the Quattro K1:

I am loving the design! To find out more about the boat, click on the photo.

Here is the side view:

I had a quick session in it yesterday, and I loved it! It has a bit more meat in the tail than the Vanquish 3, and the front deck is rounder.

I will do a proper report as soon as i have had some more time in it.

I can’t wait to get into the new ski, the surf here is just massive today so I think I will use my old boat (just in case…)!

(Imagine it survives the shipping and road transport process to get from Portugal all the way to Plettenberg Bay, and I smash it in its first sea run!)

And again, I will post a review of the 2 ski’s and compare them.

I have been paddling a lot of doubles lately, and been using the Genius Double Ski. Loving the boat, will get some pics up soon!

OK, going to hit the water now.

Oh yes, crazy weather. We have been having unbelievable weather, and strangely warm turquoise coloured water the past 2 months. It’s also been super humid, and hot! It’s been great. Just strange. Normally in December we get a SE wind that pushes the cold current that travels past our bay, into the shoreline, making it super cold. Not this year.

OK, signing off! Have a super weekend, paddle a LOT and enjoy it!


Trail running, Injuries and (non-)Paddling


Apologies for not writing more often. It’s been a crazy few months, and not crazy in the sense crazy busy. More like crazy because my whole world has been knocked off its usual axis. Time usually spent in my ski/canoe thinking of my heart rate, paddling technique, how many intervals I still have left, how beautiful my surroundings are, has ground to nothing. Zero, zip.

This must be the longest gap I have had from my boat in about 8 years. That’s 96 months, or 416 weeks, or 2920 days. A very long time. Especially the past 5/6 years, which have been 2-4 hours a day, most days of the week. No wonder I’m feeling out of whack. I not only miss the physical battle of pushing myself, but more importantly the absolute enjoyment I get out of chasing runs, shooting rapids, or just “clicking” in my technique and achieving that elusive effortless glide that is perfection.

Running in the Forest

So, what have I been getting up to? Well, in one word, RUNNING! Even cycling was aggravating my wrist (the gripping action of handle bars is remarkably similar to gripping a paddle shaft). I must say, I love running. Well, let’s re-phrase, I love trail running. Luckily I live in an untouched, trail runner’s paradise! Kranshoek and Harkerville forest have provided me with plenty of lung busting, leg crunching entertainment. And when I am really feeling tough I hit the infamous Robberg.

The beauty of Robberg

Running is not paddling though. I catch myself gazing out to sea from the cliff runs, checking out how good the runs would be if I was out there. I still check WindGuru every morning religiously. And at least once a week I give my ski a little pat and talking to.

The Island at Robberg

I have unfortunately had to cancel the rest of my big races for the year. I cancelled my flights to Hong Kong and Dubai, and have pulled put of the 50 Miler event and Cape Point. Disappointing stuff, but nothing is as brutal as missing out on my beloved Fish River Marathon and of course World marathon Champs (always wanted to get to Singapore!).

The ony consolation I have had is that I read on the report from the Dragon Run, that I won the OceanPaddler World series this year.

Regarding the wrist, it is healing, albeit slowly. The degree of damage is crazy, with a massive neural involvement too. Way too much racing, not enough downtime, and forgetting my basic movement patterns while only focussing on my special movement patterns. You know, the ones that make you go FASTER, for LONGER!

Well, its back to basics for me now. Re-learning basic movement, building myself from the inside out. The symptoms of my injury, and the warning signs were there ages ago. I chose to ignore them, and maybe, at the time I didn’t realise that everything was linked. The most important thing I am taking from this injury and four months of hell, is that EVERYTHING IS RELATED when it comes to the human body.

Anyway, I have learnt a lot of new tricks these past few months (including patience) and I hoping I will bounce back even stronger come 2012.

PennyPinchers Easter Surf Ski Challenge supported by PPC Cement-mark it in your diary!


Three weeks until Pennypinchers Easter Surf Ski Challenge supported by PPC cement

With just three weeks left until the 4th edition of the Pennypinchers Easter Surf Ski Challenge (supported by PPC cement) kicks off on 23 and 24 April 2011 in Plettenberg Bay, a number of the area’s top local paddlers are eyeing out the R12 500 prize money in the men’s and women’s Singles divisions.

The three Surf Ski Challenge events form part of the Plett Easter Games 2011, a four day Easter weekend sports festival which also includes a Trail Run (4km & 10km), Golf tournament, MTB Challenge (20km & 40km) and Road Run (10km). Wayne Craig of Offthehook Events, organizers of the Pennypinchers Easter Surf Ski Challenge supported by PPC cement, said that “there was previously no surf ski race in Plett over Easter. We were interested in starting one up, and Pennypinchers and PPC Cement have since been unbelievable in their support”.

Along with the Singles race (1pm on Saturday, 23 April), there will also be a Doubles race (8am on Sunday, 24 April) and Kiddies Guppy Race (10am on Saturday, 23 April). Local legends Michele Eray and Alexis Lyon have already signaled their intent to challenge for the Singles surf ski race title. Craig said that “the Singles surf ski races are sure to be super competitive.

Plett’s beautiful coastline offers many spectacular vantage points for spectators to watch the race so I’m hopeful that our event, as well as the other epic Plett Easter Games, will be well supported”. Of those who enter the surf ski races before 15 April, two people will be in line to win a three-night weekend in Plettenberg Bay, including breakfast and dinner. The first 100 entrants will also receive an awesome Goodie Bag.

The entry forms are available on http://www.offthehookplett.co.za, and those wanting to see pictures of last year’s event can visit https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=offthehookplett&target=ALBUM&id=5587694667823198769&authkey=Gv1sRgCKDSvJrElLvnpgE&invite=CMHZ3LEP&feat=email

Those who are interested in participating in or attending the event can find additional information by visiting http://www.offthehookplett.co.za, following @offthehookplett on Twitter, Pennypinchers Easter Surfski Challenge on Facebook or by contacting Wayne Craig at wayne@offthehookplett.co.za or on 044 533 0796.

For accommodation, Patty Butterworth is available at admin@plettenbergbayinfo.co.za.

Off The Hook Fun Ski race


Wayne at Off The Hook restaurant in Plett has been putting on Adventure Races and such every so often. It’s great as it gives all the locals an excuse to get out there and do some exercise in this awesome natural playground we have on our doorstep. (Plus you get a calamari burger as part of your entry, oh and did I mention a beer?) So you get some fresh air and exercise, and a meal. Perfect!

On Saturday they held a fun 15km Ski Race, 3 laps of 5km including a punishing trip through the River Mouth into a full-blown outgoing tide. Seriously, I think I didn’t go faster than 8:00 pace. Ouch.

I took my neighbour Erik, wh  can cycle pretty fast, in a double. The question was, could he paddle? He mentioned something about paddling before, so I didn’t think twice. We hopped in a club double and went for it. About 2km in, he says that the furthest he has ever paddled is about 1km, 5 years ago… Uh oh!

He handled so well! We went pretty steady, and I thought it would be fun to run along the river bank (read soft, sinking sand), and more importantly, I thought it would be quicker than paddling into that flooding tide. Of course, the incentive to beat my brother Laurent and his partner, Wayne (OffTheHook) and “other” brother was huge. Once we heaved the beast of a double onto our shoulders, we realised that the 40k tank would squash us into the sand, so we hurriedly jumped back into the water.

3 laps later, we got to the finish. Well done Erik, I think you are a natural and should change sports!!

I will try get some photo’s of the day, it sure was a classic. The full moon has been pretty awesome too.

I found this Pansy Shell on a beach walk yesterday! So stoked, as it’s only the 2nd time I have found one, and I have lived here for 29 years!



I have been fiddling with my blog, changing themes and such. I am a girl, this is what we do…

After all my changes though, I have come back to the same theme again… Ha ha.

Off to Knysna for the weekly 10km dice, Jeannette says it isn’t windy there, and the East is pumping here in Plett. Hope she’s not lying as I hate paddling in the wind in my K1. Downwinds are the only winds that should be paddled in 🙂