Body of missing surfski paddler found

The body of missing Surfski paddler Mark Feather was located early on Monday morning at Trenneries on the Wild Coast this was following his disappearance on Saturday at the Dischem Automall Pete Marlin Surfski race.

A police inquest has been opened into determining the exact cause of death of the Johannesburg surfski paddler. His body was found by hikers 40km north of the finish of the race and he was positively identified by friends and family who flew to the scene by helicopter.

Border Canoe Club chairman Angus Warren said he had been overwhelmed by the generosity of the paddlers and the general public in the search for Feather.

“As a club and an event we are fully committed to exploring new safety procedures and protocols that may make the sport that we love safer,” Warren said.

“It has been a tragic few days for paddling in South Africa,” Canoeing South Africa Secretary General Colin Simpkins said. “Paddlers enjoy the adventure and challenges offered by our sport but when it ends in tragedy like this it creates an opportunity for us to take stock of all safety protocol around ocean paddling and surfski racing.”

Simpkins, who took part in the race, stressed that the organisers had put in place a full range of safety protocol. He did however appeal to surfski officials across the country to continue investigate improved safety procedures.

He praised the organisers of the upcoming PE2EL Surfski Challenge for having already committed to putting tracking devices fitted with a panic button on every boat that will take part in the four day race.

“As paddlers we need to be sensible about basics like wearing bright coloured clothing, bright hats as well as having bright colour on your ski along with a whistle,” he added.

Simpkins extended his condolences to the family and friends of Feather and also repeated his heartfelt thanks to the NSRI, hundreds of volunteers as well as the SAPS who assisted in the two day search for Feather.