The 2019 edition of the popular Sunday morning Bay Union Open Ocean Surfski Series gets underway at Vetches Beach this weekend and amongst the hundreds of surfski enthusiasts will be scores of development paddlers looking to make a name for themselves at the four leg series.
The series will host a number of paddlers from the Siyaphambili Surfski Club based in Umgababa on the South Coast that have been a stand-out feature of the series in recent years.
The Siyaphambili Surfski Club is a joint initiative between Bay Union and Durban Undersea Club born out of the desire to introduce the sport of surfski paddling to previously disadvantaged youngsters. The name Siyaphambili means “we are going forward” and was conceived by the young paddlers from Umgababa.
The programme was started in 2017 with ten youngsters from Umgababa on the South Coast. Since then, the group has grown to twenty four young paddlers ranging from nine to twenty years old.
The development paddlers are coached during the week by paddler Mhlengi Mngadi and on a Saturday morning by the Paddling Academy Durban, where they take part in the weekly twelve kilometre social paddle organised by the DUC paddlers known as the Geriatskis.
The Durban Undersea Club is in the process of registering a club for the group, with the aim of expanding the programme to a wider community of young paddlers.
There are options for paddlers of all abilities with the twelve kiloemtre long course being the focus for some of the more serious paddlers while there is the option of taking part in the shorter six kilometre course. The series is also open to stand-up paddleboards.
The series is going to mix it up with the final two races seeing the Geriatskis Doubles race on 21 July and the Geriatskis Team Relay following that on the final weekend of July.
The series is a great build up to the iconic Bay Union King of the Bay race which has been confirmed for 4 August and is the KZN singles surfski champs.
2019 Bay Union Open Ocean Surfski Series Calendar
Race One – Bay Union Race 7 July 2019
Race Two – Citadel Race 14 July 2019
Race Three – Geriastskis Doubles Race 21 July 2019
Race Four – Geriatskis Team Relay Race 8 July