FNB Varsity College Marine Surfski & SUP Series – Durban
Durban’s SUP community was invited by Barry Lewin to participate in this 10 week race series. SUP’s take the short course of +/- 4.5km depending on conditions. Surfskis opt for the same short course or the longer 8km course of two laps.
The course is great for beginners & experienced paddlers and has two options depending on the weather- on a SW wind, depart from infront of Xpression on the Beach (XOTB) and paddle a triangular course, out to a buoy 1km out to sea, turn anti clockwise and paddle down to North Beach to another buoy, turn anti clockwise and sprint back to XOTB. On a NE wind, paddle the same course in reverse.
It’s a truly festive event with approximately 200 surfskis participating and every week more and more Stand Up Paddlers getting involved in the fun – and the action all happens right outside the shop (XOTB) – the most perfect spectator viewing platform with the shop’s elevated position.
Seven races in, and conditions have been different and challenging for every race. From huge shorebreaks to choppy bluebottle infested water, to pumping south west winds, where quite frankly, you wish you had a rudder! Take a look at the surf behind Brandon and you’ll see what we mean. But every week the thrill keeps us coming back for more!
We have had an average of 11 SUP’s participating in each race and as many as 15 in Race 1, when the conditions were more manageable.
So far the Men’s competition has been dominated by Daryl Bartho, followed by Brandon Read, Nick Park Ross, Shayne Chipps and Grantley Read.
The Ladies have been consistent with Jackie de Billot dominating, followed by Danica Bartho, Lande Williamson and Charlotte Atherton.
There are a few stand outs worth mentioning – guys like Jon Ivins and Robbie de Billot who are improving every week and closing the gap on the leaders. And the ladies, a huge thumbs up to young and courageous Karisa Grace who has paddled every race so far, sometimes in the most extreme conditions, and always finishes with a smile on her face.
We have a separate category amongst ourselves for the best wipe out on a raceboard. These are two of the classics so far – Robbie de Billot attempting a somersault and Daryl Bartho forgetting he’s not in a surfski!
If you want to come experience the thrill and fun of stand up paddle racing, drop us a line and come take part in one of our weekly SUP Races. We have both, race boards and recreational boards to rent, and demo. For the first time paddlers, we will get you going with a crash course in SUP with one of our seasoned pros. We hope to see you at the next one!
Aloha the XOTB Durban Sup Crew