The Bay Union King of the Bay Surfski races have become the latest events to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the organisers announced that the weekend of paddling events has been postponed to later in the year.

The Bay Union King of the Bay that anchors the weekend of surfski races is an iconic event on the South African paddling calendar as it is the only day in the year that surfskis are allowed to paddle across Durban harbour and out of the breakwaters.

The event has been allocated the SA double ski championships for 2020, and has been supplemented by a single ski race on the Saturday that was allocated the national single ski title decider status, with both serving as the national trials for the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships later in the year.

Event organiser Neels Meyer of Stella Canoe Club said that the events, which was to have been held on 9 and 10 May, had to be postponed, and given the uncertainty of the novel coronavirus pandemic on South Africa and the duration of the lockdown to control the outbreak, setting a new date was not possible yet.

He said that the organisers and sponsors were working with Canoeing South Africa to earmark a date, possibly in November, to stage the two days of racing.

“We are acting responsibly and in the best interests of the sport and our communities to try and help to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Bay Union’s Gavin Searle.

“Fortunately all the partners to this event are on the same page, so the decision to postpone was an easy one,” said Meyer.

“As concerned South Africans our interest right now is in the well-being of the nation, and we can start to investigate dates for the Bay Union King of the Bay once we are out of the woods with the country’s current health problems,” he added.

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