South African Surfski Champs - downwind deluxe...

Saturday, 30 July 2011 18:18 | Written by  Press Release
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Alkantstrand Beach, where the race will finish (NE wind) (Pic: start of the 2008 Mouth to Mouth) Alkantstrand Beach, where the race will finish (NE wind) (Pic: start of the 2008 Mouth to Mouth)

The Zululand Kayak Club is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the SA National Sursfki Championships on 17 and 18 September 2011. Long time sponsor of the Shaka Challenge canoe race Richards Bay Minerals has come on board as the title sponsor of the event, and Midbay Motors, the home of VW and Audi in Zululand, is also sponsoring the event. (Check them out at )


The proposed course is a 23 km downwind race from the Nhlabane River mouth to Richards Bay’s Alkantstrand Beach, with alternative plans in the event of adverse weather conditions. The prevailing winds at this time of year are north easterlies of around 15 knots, running almost parallel to the coastline, resulting in fantastic downwind conditions.

The Launch Site

The launch site at Nhlabane can get a shorebreak on the high tide, but it is not usually too significant on the low tide. There is generally a flat section of water in the middle before you get to the back break, and in the prevailing north easterly conditions getting out through the surf is normally not too difficult. The tide for the 17th September is low at 11:49 am, so the race will start close to the low tide, so the shorebreak is not expected to be a big factor.

SA Surfski Champs

View from the Nhlabane River Mouth looking South


SA Surfski Champs

Google earth picture of the start at Nhlabane which clearly shows the calm area between the shore and backline


The finish at Alkantstrand beach has typical KZN coastal surf but there is no shorebreak. In general, coming in through the surf at Alkantstrand is relatively easy. If the surf does get too wild at Alkantstrand we have the option of finishing the race at either the more protected Newark Beach on the south side of the north breakwater or even inside the harbour at Pelican Island.

Course Options

We will also consider using a deep water start if there are big surf conditions at Nhlabane, and in the extreme situation of monstrous unplayable surf we would (reluctantly) have to resort to an out and back format starting and finishing in the Richards Bay Harbour. The bottom line is that we have numerous options available to us, so that the event will take place regardless of the weather, and this is one of the major advantages of the Zululand Kayak Club hosting the event.


A total of R42 000 has been allocated for cash prizes, which includes R8000 for 1st single and R5000 for the 2nd single ski, and a total of 31 cash prizes have been allocated. There will also be a number of lucky draw prizes.


A big social at the Zululand Kayak Club on the Saturday evening is planned, with local band Angus playing live music and sheep on the spit, for an evening of good food and good music with good friends!

Special accommodation packages at local establishments are being negotiated, and camping is also available at the local beachfront camping site. Accommodation options will be posted up on the Zululand Kayak Club website shortly, on


Richards Bay Minerals

Midbay Motors

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