PE2EL Challenge (South Africa) is on!

Sunday, 09 September 2012 18:42 | Written by  PE2EL
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The Challenge features some of the most beautiful, unspoilt coastline in South Africa The Challenge features some of the most beautiful, unspoilt coastline in South Africa

The Challenge is on!  Widely accepted as the world’s toughest test of ocean endurance paddling, the 4-day, 250km Port Elizabeth to East London Challenge will begin on December 6th and end on December 9th.

40-year anniversary

The 2012 event celebrates 20 races run over the past 40 years; the first Challenge was held in 1972.

PE to EL Challenge

It’s always been a bi-annual event – the paddlers (and their families) need an off-year to recover from the intense training required.

New Race Director

This year the event has a new race director in shape of Gavin Dickinson, back in South Africa after years in Dubai, where he was instrumental in creating the Dubai Shamaal.

Outgoing race director Anton Erasmus is back in the saddle after surviving cancer and intends to paddle this year’s Challenge.  Respect, Anton!

“We’re in the middle of all our safety and logistics planning,” said Dickinson.  “You wouldn’t believe how much permission you have to get!


Crusty old safety seadog!

“But we’re really looking forward to the event – the 20th running of the challenge," Dickson added.

“We are very aware of the fantastic heritage of the event and will be celebrating the past competitors and sponsors.

“We think the event has a very bright future: the last solo event run in 2010 had 135 paddlers who completed it, which was near record.”

He added that the safety of the paddlers is paramount and the organisers are looking at some “exciting new technology” to help manage the expected 140+ paddlers over such a vast distance.

Seconds play a huge role

The seconds play a huge role in this event - perhaps more than in any other


You can hear the surf booming from the camp site at Woody Cape - all night long...  This pic is from 1984 - one of the "big" years at the Cape.


The basic standard of 40km of 4:30 must be achieved and paddlers will require a letter from a surf lifesaving club to confirm their surf proficiency.


Setting off from Blue Water Bay at the crack of dawn on day 1.  100m done, 87km to go.


Woody Cape

Woody Cape, where day 1 ends and day 2 begins.  Remote, majestic.  Terrifying.


In the wild

Paul Marais and Oscar Chalupsky, both multiple winners... in the wilds on day 2



Hamburg - at the end of "only" 67km on day 3.  This is notoriously the most challenging day of the race.  You're half dead after the first two days, you're faced with 67km with challenging beach breaks - and you've got another two days to go.



But in the end... the DWASOPE team celebrates completing 250km in 4 days


Three months to go

There’s plenty still to do for the organisers – and a massive amount of training for the paddlers – but on December 6th, at sunrise, the latest batch of Challengers will head out from Blue Water Bay.  Bring it on!

  • Entry: R1 500 includes classic race memorial jacket, & prize giving chow + drinks.
  • Prize Fund R35 000
  • Entry Deadline: October 31st. Please mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for rules & entry form.