An eleventh hour approval from the Guinness Book of World Records has paved the way for this Saturday’s High Altitude Surfski Race at Emmarentia Dam in Johannesburg to grab global recognition as not only the highest surfski race of its kind, but arguably the quirkiest as well.
Started as a fun spoof several years back, the annual race for surfskis on the small, generally calm waters of the Jozi dam has snowballed into something of a cult event, and this year support for the race has seen a whole wave of new innovations and the inclusion on the entry list of some of the planets top surfski paddlers.
This year the organisers are pulling out all the stops for the race as they attempt to, literally, bring the beach to the Highveld with a specially designed beach at the Dabulamanzi Canoe Club as well as conditions that will try and replicate, as closely as possible, those that your average surfski paddler will encounter on the waves at the coast. With some choppy conditions expected the paddlers from the Highveld are going to be tested.
The record attempt has been formally acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest high altitude race for surfskis, which are generally raced exclusively at sea level.
“The paddlers can expect 12 hectic kilometres of nail biting racing in tricky conditions on one of the world’s tightest courses in genuine downwind conditions,” said event director Steve Jourdan, who let slip that the event will have wave generators and fans at work at the dam to convert the normally tranquil surface into something more akin to the surf for which these craft are designed.
The event has managed to lure in some of the greats and current champions of surfski paddling.
The current Canoe Marathon K1 World Champion and former World Surfski Champion Hank McGregor has been confirmed for the race along with South African surfski legend Oscar Chalupsky, he will also be running a surfski clinic, who has won every major surfski race in the world including 12 Molokai titles.
Organisers have lured these top paddlers to the event because, as they have stated, these men have never added the Dabs High Altitude Surfski Race to their list of illustrious achievements and claiming the victory in what could potentially be a world record would add another notch to their already well-worn belts.
What has been described as one of the world’s tightest surfski courses the paddlers will tackle the 12 kilometre course in some interesting conditions as the organisers have planned fans and the like to try and simulate downwind conditions on a dam that was described by Canoeing South Africa General Manager Colin Simpkins as ‘no bigger than a jacuzzi’.
The race will take place at Emmarentia dam at 3pm on Saturday 28 March. For any media enquiries please contact Steve Jourdan on 082 800 7412