Current women’s ICF Ocean Racing World Champion Hayley Nixon has confirmed that she will be on the start line at this year’s Bay Union King of the Bay, spicing up an already formidable ladies field for the KZN Champs showdown on Sunday.
With the likes of Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase confirmed for the 22km showdown, adding the likes of Nixon to the mix and potentially a downwind specialist like Michelle Burn it could shape up to be a fascinating women’s contest.
Nixon has her sights set firmly on defending her surfski World Championship title in Saint-Pierre De Quiberon on the west coast of France in mid-September, however she knows that when a provincial title is on the line then the competitive juices begin to flow.
“We are having a big training session on Saturday and that will be more important than the race on Sunday but it’s KZN champs and the field will be strong and bragging rights are on the line!” the Carbonology/Euro Steel star said.
“I am using the race as part of my training and it’s great to be in a competitive racing environment this close to the World Championships.
“I will also be racing the Gara Dolphins Coast Challenge, which is a singles race this year so that will be good preparation too,” she said.
The competition for the ladies crown will be a tough one with a number of paddlers in with a shout. Nixon believes that the quality of women’s paddling in Durban is second to none.
“We don’t have to go overseas to race against the best paddlers in the world,” Nixon noted. “The standard of women’s paddling here at home is top class and if you win or lose you know that you are competing against the best in the business.”
It’s common knowledge that the course for the Bay Union King of the Bay is as unique as you get in South Africa, and the Shaw and Partners athlete appreciates the challenge that comes with the multi-faceted race.
“The King of the Bay actually reminds me a lot of the Dragon Run in Hong Kong in that it has three elements to it.
“I have been an advocate for more challenging courses and this is one in that it has something for everyone but you have to be strong in all aspects to win.
“There’s something for the flat water specialist, the downwind specialists and the hard workers, but individually you need to be able put all three skills together well to be successful,” Nixon added.