Latest Surfski News

Monday, 22 March 2021 10:35
[Given a recent encounter with bluebottles here in Cape Town, South Africa, this article from 2007 is hereby recycled as being very relevant!] On a 2007 "Miller's Run" on singles in a big South-Easter, from Miller's Point to Fish Hoek, about 20 minutes into the paddle, my paddling partner Gavin Gottschalk and I were stung by bluebottles.
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Monday, 22 March 2021 10:35
[Given a recent encounter with bluebottles here in Cape Town, South Africa, this article from 2007 is hereby recycled as being very relevant!] On a 2007 "Miller's Run" on singles in a big South-Easter, from Miller's Point to Fish Hoek, about 20 minutes into the paddle, my paddling partner Gavin Gottschalk and I were stung by bluebottles.
Read more...
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.
Read more...
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.
Read more...
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, 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.
Read more...
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…
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.
Read more...
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.
Read more...
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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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.
Read more...
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.
Read more...
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.
Read more...
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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Beginner's Tips: Time & Money

Thursday, 15 December 2005 02:00 | Written by 
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(Editor: thanks to Nico de Wet for a fresh viewpoint on Getting Started!)

Firstly the assumptions: your leisure time is limited and cash is a factor in your quest to be involved in surfskiing. You are probably a student, young professional  trying to impress by burning the midnight oil, or an old fashioned workaholic. So how do you manage to go from zero (hardly ever paddled anything in your life) to a I-can-handle-most-conditions-the-ocean-throw-at-me hero? Here are some tips.

1. Go to the surfski school and do at least 4 sessions, get one of your buddies to go with you because talking about the coolness of the experience afterwards over a couple of cold ones can only be a good thing. Being very eager you will probably start planning to get your equipment ASAP.

2. You might be concerned about the effect roof racks will have on your fuel consumption, you might also be concerned about whether your tiny car can handle carrying a surf ski. Well you could see roof racks as an added safety feature, I rolled my FIAT UNO with roof racks on, the roof racks took most of the impact and I emerged without a scratch, unbelievable. Secondly your car can handle carrying a surf ski, granted it might make people stare, but it can handle it. Just think about it, 800kg of metal is not going to be much affected by 20kg on top.

3. You might also be concerned about rust on your car, that’s a good thing but don’t get too worked up about salt water on your car, if your car still has some resale value wash it off with fresh water when you get home. Alternatively keep water in the back of your car, Outdoor Warehouse stocks a couple of options, one of which is a collapsible 5 gallon item for a lowly R 50.  (Editor: it helps to rinse your ski with fresh water before stowing it on the roof racks; if there’s no water to hand, dry the ski off with a towel or chammy leather.)

4. Your first ski does not necessarily have to be second-hand, I was fortunate enough to have a custom Hammerhead built for R 3500 which is just about the price for a second-hand ski. Find the manufacturer who is willing to do that, in my case it was somebody just starting to make skis.

5. You can get a second hand paddle, I found a wing paddle at “2nd Hand Surf” in Fish Hoek for R600.  One of the blades eventually snapped but I had it replaced at SET in Muizenberg for a very reasonable price. (It might not be best to go second hand with your paddle though, it’s clearly a critical piece of equipment and an incorrect length can affect your stability and hence confidence.)

6. Since time is a problem for you, quick access to water to train on is important.  It’s equally important to be able to paddle in winter and this is where your closest canoe club comes in. Take part in their time trials (mostly be in the dark, especially in mid-winter but don’t be phased by that). Join the club (most clubs welcome guests) and if you are lucky you can pick up a canoe at next to nothing in an auction. I got a Sella for R480 at the Milnerton Canoe Club. Joining a canoe club is very important since you can hit the water at all kinds of hours and the hot shower afterwards will do you wonders! It’s also socially a good idea since it can get lonely out on the ocean, but you'll see familiar faces on your local vlei all the time.

8. Get on all the email and SMS mailing lists, they'll motivate you to get onto the water.

7. You are unlikely ever to regret time or money spent on surf skiing.  (Be aware that your values are likely to change somewhat, so much so that you might feel that not going for that paddle is cheating yourself!)

Well that’s it for now. Have a good one,
Nico.