Newsletter – 12 April 2016

12 April 2016


With the Bay Union Surfski Series Dice Road Show well under way and only a couple days before the first race of the winter season arrives, here is all you need to know about the what we have planned for 2016.

The Bay Union Surfski Series aims to innovate by bringing something new and a little different to the Durban Surfski community with 5 completely unique paddling experiences.

We are moving away from the old “series” format and rather focusing on what each race has to offer the paddlers. So, there won’t be any series prizes and instead there will be more emphasis on the theme of each race.

• Race 1 – Bay Union “Fun” Season Starter (Sunday, 17 April @ 9am)
The vibe at the opening race is going to be focused on how much “FUN” surfski paddling really is! We will be trying some new paddling courses over both the 6km (short course) and 12km (long course) distances, starting at the Marine Surf Lifesaving Club.

Our prizes include 3 x Best Dressed awards (think outside the box for this one!), 3 x Spirit awards, a Family category, a Husband and Wife category and an Over 200kg Double prize!

So bring a big smile when you come down to enjoy what the Durban paddling scene is all about – a FUN day out with family and friends.

• Race 2 – Bay Union King of the Bay presented by Zurich (Sunday, 24 April @ 9am)
Paddling out of the Durban port’s mouth is a once a year experience for surfski paddlers. Starting from the old Stella Canoe Club base (they have recently moved to PYC!), paddlers follow the shipping channel for 10km and exit out the harbour mouth. Short course (11km) participants then head straight to Marine SLC while the long course (22km) do a lap of the Durban Bay, taking in the sights of the stadium and the city back drop along the way.

The harbour mouth is normally out of bounds for surfski paddlers however the great relationship that Stella have with the port allows this once-a-year experience and so this one is not to be missed!

The race is suitable for every type of paddler as the ‘soft’ flat water start allows novices to easily take on their first race while the racing snakes have a true challenge with 3 very unique legs, each testing the front of the field differently and leading to someone with all round paddling skills clinching victory.

The race will have a traditional prize template as well as a lucky draw surfski giveaway from Point Watersport’s to the value of R11000 so make sure you tackle this iconic Durban event!

• Race 3 – Lion Of Africa Surf Challenge  (Sunday, 1 May @ 9am)
Surfski goes back to its development out of the lifesaving fraternity with this surf-orientated race. In the old days, paddlers would need to navigate the surf a number of times in a race and this outing goes back to those traditions, keeping alive a bit of where we, as a sport, have come from.

The course includes a number of surf turns, which throw a lot of spice and excitement into the mix for both the 6km (short course) and 12km (long course) clashes, which start and finish at Marine SLC.

This event has some unique prizes, including 3 x Best Wave prizes, 3 x Worst Wave prizes and numerous hot spot prizes in the surf zone as well. Best you bring some surf skills with you for this great outing!

• Race 4 – Bay Union Dairy Doubles Challenge (Sunday, 8 May @ 9am)
Doubles racing was born in Durban with more doubles entries at races than anywhere else in the world! In the last couple of years we haven’t had dedicated doubles races and so, to bring this element back into the mix a little, this year’s race at Durban Surf will be a 7km (short course) and 15km (long course) doubles race.

Start finding a partner soon as this is going to be a highlight of the season as the fastest ocean craft in the province take to the water!

• Race 5 – Bay Union Team Challenge (Sunday, 15 May @ 9am)
The series has held a number of team orientated competitions in the past and the idea of a Team Challenge has now evolved from last year’s series challenge to a full blown Team Race at Marine SLC.

The format is somewhat like a mountain biking stage race where any 2 boats (either 2 singles or 2 doubles) compete as a team entry. The rules are simple – a team has to cross the line together (within a boat length of each other) to get a team result and all the prizes for the day will be awarded to teams. There will also be prizes for category teams, so 2 boats of the same category (e.g. 2 juniors together in a team) with be in line for that category’s prizes.

Teams are encouraged to find team sponsors get their companies involved and add to the vibe of the team format for the event. The team challenge will only apply to the 15km (long course) racing category with the 7km (short course) run in the normal individual race format.


Bay Union backs surfski in KZN
Our title sponsors of the series have some great surprises for the paddlers during this year’s racing!

2016Beanie350Bay Union look to thank paddlers who loyally support our series in a number of ways and this year they will have some of their staff handy at each race to answer questions on their products as well as giving away some awesome gifts to the paddlers!

At Race 1, the first 300 paddlers will receive a great Bay Union beanie to keep you warm during the approaching winter.

Bay Union will also be running a loyalty program where every paddler who does 4 out of the 5 races will receive a paddling towel at the last race of the season. Look out for more info on the loyalty program in coming weeks!

Race 1 – Bay Union “FUN” Season Starter (Sunday, 17 April @ 9am)
With something different on offer every week here are some of the specific race details and vital information for the “FUN” season starter this week – Sunday, 17 April!

• Registration – every paddler needs to be KNCU registered and have a racing number to race. If you haven’t got a KNCU number please join a local club and follow the registration process. In accordance with KNCU rules, only first time paddlers doing the short course will be able to race on a temporary number! If you have a KNCU number, please make sure you renew your membership with your clubs as the new season already started on 1 April 2016.

• Proficiency – New paddlers also need to complete a proficiency test before doing their first race.

• Entry Fees – there is no series entry fee or series registration. Paddlers wanting to participate must simply make sure they pay their race fee on the morning of the race at race entry. The cost of the races is R80 for Race 1, 3, 4 and 5 while Race 2 – The Bay Union King of the Bay presented by Zurich – is R120.

• Race Day Schedule – This Sunday morning will also see a leg of the Dolphin Mile Swim Series taking place before our surfski race. The swim won’t affect our race in any way however please be aware of the swimmers in the water when you are warming up, especially if you are paddling to the start from PWC/DUC. Please make sure you DO NOT paddle through the swimmers and DO ensure you respect that there is a race going on before ours!

7:30am – Registration opens at Marine SLC
8:45am – Registration closes
8:50am – Race briefing (on the beach at the start/finish)
9:00am – Race start (3 batches, each batch will start as soon as the previous batch has cleared the surf)

• Stickers – our sponsors Bay Union have put a lot of effort and resources into our events and, as such, ALL paddlers MUST ensure they have 2 series stickers on the foredeck of their ski for ALL races of the series! We thank you all in advance for your assistance with this!

• Numbers – please also ensure you have the correct KNCU number on your boat; without a number we don’t know who you are and cannot give you a time! This is nothing new and so please make sure this is a priority for ALL paddlers before the series gets underway this weekend. Numbers will be on sale in the club before the start.

• Batches – There will be a number of batches at the start of each race.

For Race 1 there will be the following batches:
1.Long Course Doubles
2.Long Course Men’s Singles
3.Long Course Women’s Singles
4.Short Course Singles & Doubles (together)
5.SUPs (who will be paddling the 6km short course)

• Safety – as always, all paddlers MUST wear a kayaking jacket or PFD (personal flotation device) as per the CSA rules

• Prizes – the prizes for the series are looking amazing with an awesome R10000 in cash per race up for grabs courtesy of our fantastic sponsors Bay Union, as well as some cool lucky draw prizes! Check out the full prize template HERE.

• Courses/Routes – those interested in Sunday’s course from Marine SLC, we will be posting the details onto the series Facebook page later in the week!

If you have any further questions regarding the Bay Union Surfski Series or want to stay up to speed with all that is happening, please visit our website (, ‘Like’ us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

See you on the water,
Barry Lewin
Race Organiser

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