As the window period for the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships on the island of Lanzarote off West Africa gets under way, a handful of South African paddlers will be on the startline for their respective surfski races, while the majority of the national team has been unable to make the trip as the global pandemic lockdown left them unable to get visas to travel to the event.
Eight athletes fortunate enough to have dual passports have been able to travel to the Spanish island for the event, including some serious world title contenders Michelle Burn, juniors Josh Smith and sisters Saskia and Valmajean Hockly, Under 23 paddlers Uli Hart and Jade Wilson and senior Nick Notten.
The full South African team selected at the national trials earlier in the year has not been granted visas for the event under the global lockdown rules, and will be forced to watch the proceeding in frustration from their homes, including eleven times marathon world champion Hank McGregor who had made a serious bid for a surfski world title in Lanzarote his top priority this year.
The event has been designed around a window period to maximise the downwind ocean conditions and early forecasts suggest that the races will be staged on Sunday and Monday.
The athletes have travelled to the event in their personal capacities but will still be representing Canoeing South Africa.