The SUPing scene is alive and kicking this year in Durban. With the start of the SUP Durbs club earlier this year, it has seen the sport go from strength to strength in KZN. This is due to more official races and more SUP Surf events, creating hype around stand up paddleboarding in Durban.
The Thursday night Time Trials down at Kingfisher have been seeing more and more people each week coming through to participate. Due to the sun going down earlier now, it has been turned into a 200M sprint event that will start at 17:15 sharp. The 200M sprints are a new event that has been introduced top Durban. This is a massive discipline overseas to distinguish the fastest paddlers in the World and Danny Ching holds the current record at 47 seconds!
Paddlers gather at the weekly Thursday night dice in front of the King Fisher canoe club as the sun sets.
The King of the Bay was the first SUPSA race sanctioned event this year. It’s an 11km race that starts in the harbor and ends at Durban Under Water Club. It saw top paddlers from around South Africa coming to test their skills in order to stand a chance at qualifying for the 2016 SA SUP Team. The wind on the day was not ideal with a strong Westerly blowing. This did not stop the 10 lady paddlers from KZN of which some have only been paddling for 3 months.
It was promising to be an interesting race being the first event of the year and a couple of these guys and girls never having raced against each other before. Dylan Frick set off from the start with Chris Couve and Steve Lawson trailing closely behind. Towards the middle of the race the conditions changed drastically with some big chop and bump making staying up and paddling difficult. Even some of the top paddlers had to resort to their knees for a bit to get through it. Dylan negotiated the tricky conditions the best and come out on top with Chris Couve coming in 2nd. This was an impressive result for Chris, competing in his first SUPSA race. He is however an SA canoeist, one of the many making the transition into Stand Up Paddling. In 3rd it was KZN waterman Steve Lawson.
The open ladies race was lead from the start by Jackie De Billot. Mishka Steyn came up from Cape Town to take part in preparation for World SUP Champs in Mexico. She couldn’t however keep up with the determined Jackie and had to settle for 2nd place with Landi Williamson finishing in 3rd respectively.
Landi Williamson finishes 3rd at the King of the Bay!
After the remainder series races that were held in pristine conditions it was Steve Lawson who proved to be the strongest paddler pipping the Mr Miyagi of Stand Up Paddling in Durban Brandon Read into 2nd and Shayne “the train” Chipps who finished in 3rd.
Steve Lawson the winner of the Bay Union SUP Series.
Jackie De Billot who has been putting in the time training and has proved to be paying off won the ladies series beating some of the top men. Landi Williamson is an up and coming SUP paddler from Durban with a triathlon background, she is definitely someone to look out for in future races after finishing 2nd in the series.
Jackie De Billot, winner of the ladies Bay Union SUP series!
SUP Durbs racers at the first Bay Union SUP Event!
The first SUP Durbs race event was held at Bike and Bean, which is just in front of Moses Mabida stadium. It’s one of the funnest SUP waves in Durban and you can often go an entire session with just you and your SUPing mates out in the water.
Steve Hean has been putting the time in and Bike and Bean and he can be seen down there most mornings.
No wonder he made his first final of a SUP Durbs event.
The conditions for the first event were on and off with Bones getting some great waves and going vertical on a couple maneuvers, scoring highly in the judges eyes and allowing him a place in the finals. Steve Lawson was on a new FONE and managed a spot in the finals. Steve Hean has been a standout in the previous events but has never won, this event he was up there with the top 4. Robbie De Billot also got a spot in his first final where the fun lefts suited his surfing to a T! In the end it was Bones who proved to good, not losing a heat and finishing in first, Steve Lawson impressed with his power surfing and finished in 2nd. Steve Hean got a 3rd with Robbie in 4th.
Open Mens winner Bones Ribbink showing why he finished in top position.
In the Open Ladies division it was once again Jackie De Billot who impressed the judges with her surfing and continues to dominate the ladies SUPing scene in Durban. Overall it was a really fun contest with great participation from all the Durban SUP community. The next event is the SUP Durbs pro, which will be taking place on the 10th, 11th and 12th of July. This is a SUPSA sanctioned event and will count towards selection for the SA 2016 SUP Team. It also will replace the JEEP Carnival so make sure to book your flights and accommodation as it promises to be a great event!
Open ladies winner Jackie De Billot cranking it off the bottom!
Young Daniella Arigo is an up and coming girl who has been ripping and continues to improve after each event.
SUP Durbs also had a great race event at the La Mercy lagoon in perfect conditions. The course layout is ideal for flat-water paddling and there will definitely be a couple more events here in the future. This was an incredible race to watch with the top 3 guys going head to head. Nick Park Ross headed off like a man on a mission with Shayne Chipps settling into his draft followed by the rest of the pack. Brandon managed to make up a couple positions to breath down their necks. A bit of jossling was going on between first and second but Nick had more left in the tank and pushed on the last lap leaving Shayne to finish with Brandon 1 second behind him. With the Zinkwasi race coming up shortly, these guys are going to a force to be reckoned with. In the ladies division it was Landi Williamson who pushed hard to the end to secure top spot with Kyle Chrystal winning the juniors.
Nick in front with Shayne, Robbie and Brandon getting on the train!
Landi making a tight turn around the buoy!
Winners from left are Nick Park Ross, Kyle Chrystal and Landi Williamson.
The next big event in Durban is the Zinkwasi 10km flat water race. A SUPSA sanctioned event that promises to be a really exciting one.
We hope to see you there!
STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING DURBAN – Words by Justin Bing