The much-anticipated SUP Durbs Pro 2015 took place this passed weekend in some perfect winter Durban conditions. This event was also a SUPSA sanctioned event that would help determine the 2016 SA SUP Team to compete at ISA World Champs, so there was a lot at stake.

A couple of the Capetonians came up a few days earlier to escape the cold weather and get some Durban sun. After a great opening function with all competitors catching up and talking SUP, the schedule was decided with the surfing to start on the Friday at Bike and Bean in front of the iconic Durban stadium.

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The iconic Moses Mabhida stadium formed the backdrop for the SUP Durbs Pro.

Friday morning and we were greeted with light offshore conditions and solid 6 foot conditions. The open men were up first with some great drops and even a couple barrels on offer. The conditions proved tricky and a couple of the guys were getting stuck in the impact zone for half their heat with some competitors not making it to the backline to get a wave. It proved crucial to get a good wave early on.

 

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Steve Lawson trying to navigate through a bomb on the outside!

The legends division was up next with the older guys not holding back, pulling in to barrels, going over the falls and putting it all on the line. The onshore was predicted to pick up but held off for quite some time and the organizers were able to get through the round 1 heats.

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Grantley Read cranking off the bottom on his Coreban Platinum.

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Friday evening saw the SUPing crew gather for a couple well deserved cold beers while reminiscing about the epic day of waves had by all!

Saturday was race day and the course that was planned to be in the sea was cancelled and relocated to La Mercy lagoon as the beastly easterly wind had picked up over night and the sea was on its head. This was very unlucky for this time of year in Durban, never the less it was a good call by the organizers and the race was scheduled to start at 08:30 AM.

The flat-water racecourse consisted of 4 laps, with each lap being just less than 2.5 km’s. The last stretch was a 300m paddle into a strong headwind that proved testing to even the most experienced racers.

Dylan Frick was back from a great series of racing results overseas where he finished up 6th in the World, doing SA proud! A couple of the Joberg paddlers were also down with hopes of gaining more points in their effort to qualify for the 2016 SA SUP Team.

The event organizers set out the course and it was go time! The start was an unusual one with 30 paddlers grabbing random numbers to determine their position on the sand at the start line.

 

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It was a crazy start with a lot of bumping of boards to get in front.

From the start, Dylan took a commanding lead with Tarryn also heading out in the front. The first train was formed with Josh leading, Tom closely behind and the rest of the top 6 slipping into their draft. Chris Cove is an up and coming paddler from Joberg who has been turning heads and managed to get onto the train after falling twice at the crazy start.

 

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The fight for 2nd changed between Tom, Chris and Justin with Josh getting stuck in the mix over the 10km course.

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Justin towed the train for a bit into the strong headwind.

Dylan took the win convincingly, showing why he is ranked number 6 in the world. The fight was for 2nd where the chasing pack of 5 headed around the last buoy and into the headwind with Justin leading. It was a sprint to the finish with Chris putting in a last ditch effort to overtake at the end and coming up 1 second short to allow Justin to take 2nd with Tom King in 4th.

 

 

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Steve Lawson was one of the standout paddlers who after not having a great start fought his way back on to the front pack for a paddle that would have made Danny Ching proud, finishing in a strong 5th position!

In the ladies division it was once again Tarryn King who proved strongest in the flat water conditions securing another 1st position making her 2016 SA team campaign looking good for the race team. In 2nd it was Jackie de Billot who also didn’t have a great start but clawed her way back over the course of the race to finish a couple seconds behind Tarryn showing guts and determination. Shelley paddled hard for a solid 3rd spot with up and coming ladies paddler Lande Williamson finishing 4th ahead of 2015 SA team representative Mishka Steyn. This goes to show, the ladies SUP racing is on the up in SA and will be a force to reckoned with on the international stage soon!

 

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Ladies winner Tarryn King showing text book technique, proving why she finished in top spot and remains unbeaten on the flat water!

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Dylan getting low as he heads in to the strong headwind. At 20 years old, this kid is only just getting started!

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SUP Durbs Pro 2015 race results!

Sunday morning and the easterly winds had finally dropped making for some super fun contestable waves in front of Bike and Bean for the Final day of competition. The swell had also dropped of considerably with 1 to 2 foot waves to be had.

 

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The sunrises in Durban are something you can never get tired of were a perfect start to the final day!

There were some great rides throughout the day considering reading the waves. The guys were dropping big scores early on with standouts Tom King and Brandon Ribbink earning them a spot in the final along with race machine Dylan Frick and Justin Bing.

The waves disintegrated throughout the day and the junior boys were up where they managed to link up some great waves to impress the crowd that had gathered aswell as the judges. Nick Walker is a fairly new kid on the block from Australia. He was throwing some tail on a board that most would be surfing on, never mind Stand Up Paddling. This earned him the top spot with Mathew Maxwell taking 2nd as his surfing keeps going from strength to strength after each event.

 

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Junior Boys Results

The legends were up next and although they are in the legend division, the competitiveness amongst these guys is still ripe, as some of them have been competing against each other for over 20 years. The waves had now moved to just a shorebreak where it was all about one big turn. After dodging a few fishing lines amongst the local fisherman, they were out. The lead changed a number of times but in the end it was Gary van Rooyen who claimed the title back from Grantley Read both on their Coreban Platinums.

 

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Legends Results

The ladies division was much the same with the judges being kept on their toes as all the finalists upped their wave count with numerous big close out floaters. There was a lot of jostling and repositioning for waves as the take off zone was limited. In the end it was Roxy Davis who found 2 good waves and impressed the judges the most to take the win with current SA Champ Tarryn King in 2nd.

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Open Ladies Results

The open men were up and after analyzing the tricky conditions, each competitor went out into the heat with a different strategy. Bones went out on the right near the pier and sat far out while Justin went to the left and sat wide, hoping that the ocean would play ball and give him 2 waves. Dylan went for the safest option and sat on the inside like much of the previous heats, catching a large quantity of waves but the didn’t allow him to display his repertoire and he had to settle for 4th. Tom King picked off some great lefts and as a goofy footer he tore them apart, milking the wave for all they were worth to finish in a close 3rd spot. Justin played the waiting game but couldn’t find 2 that ran to the beach and finished in 2nd. Brandon Ribbinks strategy of sitting on the outside paid off as he managed to get 2 set waves that lined up all the way on to the sand. Proving that his time out there before the event helped in giving him a bit of local knowledge in the final. He was stoked to take the Open Mens title in his home town.

The next event on the calendar is the Under Armour SA SUP champs which will be taking place from the 24th to the 26th of July. This will be the final SUPSA sanctioned event to help determine the 2016 SA team to go to World Champs!

 

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See you there!

SUP Durbs Pro 2015 – Words By Justin Bing