Latest Surfski News

Tuesday, 17 October 2023 07:11
“What the bloody hell are you doing here?” I thought to myself a few moments after launching on the brand new V10 4G for the first time. It was getting dark; it was raining; the squalls were lifting sheets of spray off the water… directly offshore. What WAS I thinking? The answer is that I’m a sucker for new toys – and if I get my hands on one, I HAVE to play with it. Damn the weather, full speed ahead… Since then I’ve paddled the boat many more times, in much pleasanter weather. Here’s what I think of this,…
Thursday, 08 June 2023 12:42
East London, South Africa: Angus Warren watched helplessly as the shark’s teeth crunched through the hull of his surfski. “It seemed to go on and on,” he says, “pushing and chomping. I was thinking, why is it not working out that it isn’t food? “I can’t tell how long it took, but I had enough time to shout a couple of times to the others.” The next thing he knew, he was in the water…
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Thursday, 27 April 2023 18:42
CAPE TOWN - Hank McGregor and Josh Fenn convincingly claimed back their Prescient Freedom Paddle title on Thursday in a dramatic race marked by tough conditions and a rain-delayed start.  Conditions were extremely tough - a brisk northwester blowing spray from the big confused chop into the paddlers' faces as they headed out to the island.  Huge breaking surf on the far side of the island ensured a wide line but the wind dropped as the fleet started on the journey back to the finish, making it that much more difficult and energy sapping to catch the runs.  
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Tuesday, 25 April 2023 11:50
Last Friday, however, I paddled with Dawid on a windless autumn evening in Cape Town. Cruising from Fish Hoek to Muizenberg, we paddled together, stopping at all the coves to surf a few waves. In short, the operative word was "fun". This was a different Dawid - off duty - and, well, I've never paddled with anyone so noisy before. Whistling, singing, shouting to folks on shore - yahooing as he caught a wave. Heading home at dusk we crept up behind a group of seals lazing on the surface. Dawid began barking like a five-year-old paid by the bark...until…
Thursday, 09 February 2023 07:39
A look back - aaaaargh! A mountain. Let it go through... A smaller one, with a glimpse of something massive lurking further out to sea. Catch it, catch it! Sprint, sprint, you’re on it, here’s the break zone, keep going, keep going, the roar from behind and the sudden acceleration as a massive foamy caught up to me, keep it straight, keep it straight... Phew. Arrived. Panting. Stop the watch. ok. Made it. Empty the boat, pick it up to prevent it knocking you down. Done.
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Saturday, 26 November 2022 17:16
The South Africans cleaned up today at the most prestigious surfski race in Australia – arguably the most prestigious race in the world - taking five out of the top six places and the entire podium at the Shaw and Partners “The Doctor” in Perth. Defending women’s champion, Kiwi Danielle McKenzie won the women’s trophy.
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Saturday, 19 November 2022 13:01
Gold Coast paddler, Cory Hill, took first scalp in the five-event ocean ski racing series, the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week, winning the inaugural race today, the 24km Fenn West Coast Downwinder from Fremantle, just south of Perth, to Sorrento Beach. In fine conditions with a 16 knot SSW wind courtesy of the famed Fremantle Doctor, the start off Port Beach was intense with the top paddlers in a terse battle to make the first break.   But it was 33-year-old Hill – the 4-times DOCTOR champ who relishes the Perth conditions – who was able to shake the field…
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Tuesday, 16 March 2021 13:54
It’s not easy to catch a rolling, runaway single ski in 30kt of gusting wind – and as they attempted to grab it, Alex and his doubles partner lost their balance and fell into the water. By the time they’d remounted, the single ski was gone – blown away by the strengthening near-gale. They turned and paddled back upwind to find their buddy.
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Wednesday, 03 March 2021 12:08
Accident reports are easy to write when the story ends happily, but this one didn’t and it’s with a very heavy heart that I’m writing this, with a view to learning what we can from it.
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Wednesday, 15 July 2020 09:13
When the NSRI found Duncan MacDonald, he was approximately 6km off Smitswinkel Bay, drifting rapidly further offshore. Gale-force squalls whipped sheets of spray off the waves, reducing visibility almost to nothing. What Happened? Given the small size of the surfski community, there’s always intense interest whenever there’s a rescue. What happened? What did they do wrong? What can we learn from it? Clearly there are lessons to be learnt from any mishap – so here’s a description of what happened, shared with the permission and cooperation of the folks involved in the hope that we might all learn from this…
Friday, 24 April 2020 11:41
Durban – As the continued coronavirus lockdown grips the country, Canoeing South Africa will host a 24 hour Canoeing4COVID-19 event this weekend as a way to raise funds for members of the broader paddling community that have been badly affected by the lockdown.
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Wednesday, 11 March 2020 14:35
“Hey, Rob! Help!” The shouts penetrated the sound of the howling wind and crashing waves – and even through the noise it was obvious from the tone of his voice that something was seriously wrong. I turned and headed back upwind.
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Tuesday, 03 March 2020 14:43
Many paddlers use Personal Locator Beacons, or tracker apps like SafeTrx on their mobile phones. But handheld VHF radios are also a great choice to consider – especially when they’re DSC-capable like the Standard Horizon HX870E.
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Monday, 24 February 2020 12:01
I finally got my hands on a demo Fennix Swordfish S this weekend and did two Miller's Runs in succession to see if I could feel any difference in handling between the 2018 Swordfish S and the new Fennix model.  Conditions were challenging: False Bay was covered in whitecaps, whipped by a combination of a 25-30kt southeaster and small, confused seas.  The result?  I definitely want to spend more time in this boat.
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Thursday, 26 December 2019 10:30
The shark smashed like a freight train into Roger Swinney’s surfski in an explosion of noise and spray, knocking him off into the water.  “I managed to get back on the ski,” he said, “but I fell off again and as I remounted the second time, I saw the swirl and tips of the shark’s fins. “I didn’t see it clearly, but from the force of it and the movement in the water, it looked big!”
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Rob Mousley

Fenn SURGE - first sighting in the wild!

Thursday, 08 March 2018 18:48 |

In what may be a world first...  we bring you photographs of the latest Fenn surfski - the Fenn SURGE. The boat was delivered to Cape Town today; local paddler Mark Keeling was the recipient and took delivery at Fish Hoek this evening.  Surfski.info was there to capture some images...

Miller's Run Dice

Wednesday, 07 March 2018 15:05 |

Conditions looked pretty good: South South East wind blowing 27-33kt and no big swell.  

But when we started the runs were so small, and somewhat messy that it didn't look like being a Personal Best kind of day, and I figured that I'd just take it easy and enjoy catching and working the runs as much as possible.

And that's what I was doing - my heart rate was low, I was focussed on using minimum effort to stay on the runs when...  one of my paddling buddies, Jono Niemann, came storming past as we approached the lighthouse on Roman Rock.

Jono and I have had dices before - most recently on the day a few weeks ago when I achieved my best time ever for the Miller's Run... On that occasion we'd been blasting along together when he disappeared just before Fish Hoek.  Turned out that he too was closing in on a record time, when he fell out of his boat.  He was very bleak!

In the video you can see that my heart rate (and breathing!) escalate drammatically as he comes past!  I slowed briefly to capture him on video coming past the lighthouse, but after that it was no-holds-barred!

I didn't capture it but as we came into Fish Hoek, I was just ahead... but he put a sequence together at Sunny Cove and blew past me again, so I think the honours went to him - although he peeled off to the right to land at Fish Hoek Beach Sports Club about 100m further up the beach.

But what a day.  That was my 126th Miller's Run since January last year - and it never gets boring.

2017 Maui Jim Molokai Challenge

Tuesday, 06 March 2018 17:24 |

"Molokai"  You just have to utter that name, and everyone in the surfski community knows what you're talking about: the 53km open ocean crossing from Molokai to Oahu across the Kaiwi Channel.  One of the oldest surfski races in the world, it was long regarded as the surfski world championships; and in the 2017 race only three of the past 43 year's winners weren't back to tackle the challenge once more.

The Kaiwi Channel has a reputation for massive downwind conditions; with a fetch of several thousand km, the NE trades can produce ferocious swell.  In 2017, however, the winds didn't arrive on the day and the paddlers faced a challenge of a different kind: heat, a head-on current, a slow heaving, seasickness inducing swell...!  (Those were the conditions I faced in 2008 - and it was one of the toughest days of my life.)

This video was released 6 months ago - but is well worth taking the time to review.  And with the Maui Jim Molokai Challenge coming up on Sunday, May 27, 2018, it's a great reminder to make your bookings and to keep on training hard...  And train for flat water, just in case.

Click here for the 2017 results

Rice/MacLaren Dominate Western Cape Doubles Champs in Cape Town

Monday, 05 March 2018 10:13 |

Kenny Rice and Stuart MacLaren dominated the Western Cape Double Surfski Championships in False Bay on Sunday, in perfect downwind conditions… Bianca Beavitt and Angie Austin won the Women's title.

Bouman and Burn Win in Durban

Monday, 05 March 2018 09:23 |

Durban - Series pacesetters Matt Bouman and Michelle Burn took home the spoils at the Vaaka Paddle Cadence Surfski Challenge on Friday night, the eighth leg of the popular FNB Surfski Series, best mastering the demands of the onshore Easterly weather conditions.

Nikki Mocke wins Miller's Run of the Season Title in Cape Town

Tuesday, 27 February 2018 13:57 |

"That was… the best fun I've had in years," said Dawid Mocke as he watched the rest of the paddlers riding the surf into the beach. "It doesn't matter who you are, you're all in with an equal chance."

Durban Racing...

Monday, 26 February 2018 15:43 |

Durban, South Africa: The Marine Surfski Series is an annual set of 10 surfski races that use the light of the Durban summer every Friday night from the first week of January to the middle of March.

Run by Barry Lewin at the Marine Surf Lifesaving Club in Durban, the series has been run since the 1990s and is an institution in the surfski community.

In 2018, the series has been hit with some extreme weather which sadly caused some cancellations, but it's evenings like the one in this video that make it all worthwhile.

And the quality of the video is outstanding!

Click here for the race report

Matt Bouman wins FNB Series in Durban

Saturday, 24 February 2018 15:06 |

Durban - Veteran ocean racing ace Matt Bouman signalled his dominance of the 2018 FNB Surfski Series when he powered away to win race seven, the Boland Surfski Challenge, presented by Marriott, and the 2018 series title in tricky conditions on Friday evening.

Mocke Miller's Run of the Season

Friday, 23 February 2018 07:08 |

21 Feb, 2018 - Yeeeeha!  I turned towards the whoop to see Jono Niemann came shooting past, spray flying…  The back of my ski lifted and I took a couple of hard strokes to accelerate onto my own wave…

When we met in Fish Hoek to load the surfskis onto the Miller’s Run Taxi, it was to find a veritable sandstorm; the weather station at the club said the wind strength was averaging 30kt, gusting 40kt.  Twenty minutes earlier, it had peaked at around 48kt…

Wind

Wind strength reported at Fish Hoek Beach Sports Club We were on the water at about 16h45.

As we drove up to Miller’s Point, the sea looked wild – but in a good way; the swell wasn’t outrageously big and you could see the sets moving in lines.   In the bus, mentions of “Looking good” and “Personal Best” started to be heard.

At Miller’s Point, conditions were perfect.  As usual, the wind wasn’t as strong here – but it was still strong enough that we’d be catching good runs right from the start.

The beauty of paddling in a very strong wind is that you can push over waves that normally stop you – so you can maintain speed and create longer sequences at higher speeds than normal.

Mocke Miller’s Run of the Season

I was delighted when the competition was announced: register as many runs as possible between the beginning of November and the end of February.  Prizes for the fastest runs in each gender and age category; for the most runs; for the best video… 

The Miller’s Run (can anyone not know this?!) is a short, 11.6km-11.8km – depending on where you finish – downwind run from Miller’s Point to Fish Hoek, here in Cape Town.  Whenever the southeaster blows (and that’s probably 2 out of every 3 days in summer) the Miller’s Run beckons.

When we got together for this particular run it was in the knowledge that this was probably the last run of the competition – the forecast was for much lighter winds the next day.  So the team was amped right from the start.

And the video really speaks for itself. 

Fast Conditions

The conditions – small swell and strong wind – were ideal.  When the swell is big, it tends to become confused and it’s difficult to link runs efficiently. 

In the end nearly half the group beat their Personal Best times.  I beat mine by over half a minute. 

What a rush!

Wake-chasing in Cape Town

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 15:20 |

Nauticat is a steel-hulled 21m catamaran used by Drumbeat Charters to take tourists from Hout Bay to Duiker Island (aka Seal Island) to view the seal colony there.

She travels at 14-15kph and the wake that is formed by her hull runs at a flatter angle than single hulled ships - and are much easier to ride.

On this day, the ocean was relatively calm and I found myself hardly paddling at all.

My buddy made a cock-up of it as Nauticat exited the harbour; she turns sharply and you have to slow right down to stay on the wake.  He lost his balance and swam in front of the appreciative audience...!