With a long weekend and an absolute stunner of a day… a trip to Hermanus for the Walker Bay Xtreme was a no brainer. Our cars were packed early and we were on the road, spoiled with a gorgeous sunrise over the Helderberg as we headed off.
With the race start set for 1.30pm, the morning was ours… so we took in the sites and watched a couple of the other events the day had on offer. There was 2.5km swim, triathlon, cycling race, run/walk race and a Crossfit Competition. Slowly but surely the SUP’s started gathering as we neared the race start. The first race was a team relay where paddlers were paired up in teams consisting of an “Elite” and a “Novice” paddler. Teams raced on foot down a dangerously steep hill, over some surprisingly sharp rocks (and even sharper shells) and then paddled around a buoy 200m offshore and back. When the paddlers reached the shore, it was back over the shells and razor rocks, and up back up that incredibly steep hill. This was repeated by the second paddler and on their return a balloon had to be blown up until it burst… this was no easy feat after running up the hill. In the end, it was a good laugh and no one really knew who won, or lost, but we were all warm and ready for the race ahead.
After a breathtaking morning with no wind, a breeze had picked up to a gust. As we lined up on the start the gust now felt like a gale. The course was a 3km lap which had to be completed twice, with 1.5 km of each lap directly into a 20knt gale. With backs bent and hands low on the paddle – we grunted, groaned and pulled ourselves upwind to the first buoy, it was then a lovely downwind back to the start for a final lap for the guys (the ladies only had to complete one lap). Dylan Frick sailed through and comfortably took the win, with Gary, Tyran and the rest of the field following behind.
It was awesome to see some new faces. We can’t wait for next year and hope to see you all there!