So we find ourselves halfway through the XOTB/ Nutribullet downwind Series, with 2 races under the belt, and two more to come, the next race will be held in conjunction with the ‘There and Back Challenge’ on the 12th of March and the final to be held on either the 19th or 20th of March, but first a little recap from our first two races.
The first race kicked off in all-time conditions, a strong 28knt South Easter funnelled in the bay and some epic runs were had by all. The race ran on the same day as the Red Bull King of the Air, and unfortunately that kept a few of our Kite board enthusiasts at bay, but also provided the opportunity for Legend Downwind paddler Ivan Van Vurren to test his skills on the Millers Run. The last time the bay saw Ivan, he was on his windsurf, shoulder pads were the height of fashion and I was a twinkle in my fathers eye. So it was a privilege to have him with us.
26 stoked Stand up Paddlers and 12 (registered) surfski’s along with the lone ranger Kit on his trusty prone, gathered at the start line. As usual the Shark Bait group left first, this was led and won by the only Junior of the group Brad Ewing. Brads downwinding has come on tenfold over the last season, and we are excited to see what the future holds for this talented paddler.
It was the first time we had incorporated surfski’s in the series and we were stoked to have them along as it added to the ”gees” on the day. The surfski gang headed out last (15min after the Shark Bait) along with the Shark warriors. The competition was and is always fierce amongst the warriors, and with the absence of the undefeated and unstoppable (at the moment) Tom King, the rest of the guy’s stood a chance for victory. A lead pack developed in the first km and consisted of Greg Bertish who hates losing, Ivan who wanted to prove his worth, Sean Avni who was immigrating to Aus and wanted to leave on top, and the ever competitive Gary van Rooyen, who was not letting anyone win without a fight. In the end it was the “Bump Whisperer” Greg B who took the win followed by Sean Avni with a solid result to leave with.
Mike Theron cracked the keg and beers were poured, and handed out. Sean was given a hearty farewell and presented with a signed Coreban cap from all his paddling mates, and after some mild confusion, a stoked Justin Linley walked away with the Nutribullet.
Flash forward two weeks to the second race, and conditions weren’t so prime for downwinding but Cape Town delivered a spectacular day. In the parking lot it looked like it would only be four of us (Gary, Justin, Mike and me (TY)) paddling, but after some mild persuasion we got Lizane to commit to her second full Miller’s, along with James Elsworth who was also on his second run and only fourth time ever on a SUP!! By the time we were set to head out, the wind had pulled in a little and the troops had gatherd, a total of 15 skis and 13 SUPS, not great but not bad, the race was on!
Doug Jengman took off like a bullet, literally, on his 17’ SIC Bullet, and was unstoppable from the get go, extending his lead with every stroke. Gary Armin and Sean White followed Doug on the outside line, while I (Ty) and Mike T chose the shallow line. In the end it was the outside line, which paid off, as Gary slipped in front of Mike T, and Armin and Sean hooked Ty.
Unfortunately there was no keg this time, but the ever helpful and all round legend Moses was there dishing out refreshments and had the taps going for rinse offs.
Our next race kicks off on Saturday the 5th of March, with the final race to run on either the 19th or 20th of March, we look forward to your participation and another couple of great days on the water!
The XOTB Crew.