Fish Hoek – a Fresh south easterly breeze was blowing on Sunday as 135 paddlers lined up for the first race of the Cape Town Surfski series, aptly named the Dunlop Duster. A frenzied chop on the ocean’s surface was an exciting prospect for the experienced ones; while the fair sized contingent of new paddlers were nervously checking to make sure they had all the correct safety equipment on board.
Surfskis were made for ocean racing and the two- lap course, which took paddlers on a 12km route in and out of the bay, ensured that all skills would be tested, especially in the 2.5km downwind leg towards the finish line.
Local lad Tom Schilperoort raced a tactically superb race to claim a narrow victory over the seasoned international campaigner and former World Series champion, Dawid Mocke. Both these two were made to work very hard by visiting paddler from Durban, Brandon van der Walt, who would claim third place; and Graeme Solomon in fourth. The sensational junior paddler Kenny Rice, took fifth place in the Open division (as well as the Junior’s top prize). The absence of Sean Rice (ICF World Champion) and Jasper Mocke (both racing abroad) made things slightly easier for the others.
In the ladies division there seems to be a strong contingent of competitors coming through and here we saw Nikki Mocke walk away with the laurels while Kim van Gysen (former RSA lifesaving representative) had to hold off a strong charge from junior lady Kirsten Flanagan (a junior world silver medallist at flat-water marathon) to take second with Flanagan in third.
The Cape Town Surfski Series, powered by Vodacom, consists of eight races and the next race of the series will be held on Hout Bay beach, a favourite venue for the series.
To take part, or for more info, visit www.capetownsurfski.com