The most unique surfski race in KwaZulu-Natal, the Bay Union King of the Bay, the only race that allows surfski paddlers to race across and out of Durban harbour, has been boosted by being awarded the KZN Singles Surfski title on Sunday, 12 May.
The event is a must-do on the ocean racing calendar in the KZN and with the added incentive of being the provincial title race it will see some of the province’s best surfski paddlers battling it out for places on the podiums.
After exiting the harbour mouth, the competitive paddlers will head out to a turning buoy off the uMngeni River mouth before returning to the Marine SLC clubhouse to complete a 22 kilometre route, while the less fit paddlers have the eleven kilometre short course option that turns into Marine SLC straight after completing the harbour crossing.
“It is such a privilege to be able to paddle out of the harbour mouth and this is the only time that we are allowed to do it!” Durban surfski stalwart Jenna Ward said.
“What adds to the uniqueness of the race is that there are three different elements to the race.
“You will have the flat water at the start of the race when you race through the harbour and then you will have a downwind section as well as a section into the wind – if there is any wind.”
There is the possibility that there won’t be any wind for the race which will mean that paddlers will have a tough 22km stretch on flat water.
“If it is flat it is going to be a long hard race but I think that it is going to be great training for me and I am expecting a top quality ladies field at the race.
“A lot of the girls will be coming off a good weekend of racing at the SA Champs in Cape Town so they are in good form going into the race next weekend.
“I am excited to line up against the girls because I haven’t raced in the sea for a while so it will be a good race,” the Euro Steel/Nelo athlete added.
The race will attract the cream of the KZN racing crop with recently crowned national champions Hank McGregor and Hayley Nixon likely starters while Matt Bouman, Wade Krieger, Michelle Burn and Sabina Lawrie are also potential starters.
The King of the Bay will form part of a busy month of surfski action in May with races every weekend of the month.
The final race of the month is the iconic Pirates Umhlanga Pirates, the oldest surfski race in the country on 26 May.