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.
Read more...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read more...

Latest Forum Topics

Race Grading ? How & Why

Wednesday, 15 November 2006 19:12 | Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)
One of our US readers asked about the grading system used in some of the races in South Africa - this article explains the system.

 

The largest surf ski race series in South Africa is the Discovery Men's Health series which takes place in Durban during winter and East London and Cape Town during summer.  Look at the results of the races on www.surfski.co.za and you notice two things - every paddler is graded, and each result is expressed as a percentage of the winner's time.

 

Why grade the paddlers, and what does the percentage mean?

 

Try starting two or three hundred surf skis at once, and you'll immediately see the benefit of being able split the field into smaller, more manageable batches.  And there are benefits for the paddlers too.

 

Grades

 

So, how to grade?  The accepted standards in South Africa, set by the Discovery Men's Health series are:

 

Singles

 

Elite:

95% or better

A-grade:

85% to 95%

B-grade:

75% to 85%

C-grade:

65% to 75%

D-grade:

55% to 65%

E-grade:

less than 55%

 

 

Doubles

 

A-grade:

95% or better

B-grade:

85% to 95%

C-grade:

75% to 85%

D-grade:

65% to 75%

E-grade:

less than 65%


And how to calculate the percentage?

 

Paddler's percentage = 1-(winner's time - paddler's time)/winner's time x 100

 

If the winner takes one hour, the cut-off times for the various grades are:

 

 

Singles

 

Elite:

01:03

A-grade:

01:09

B-grade:

01:15

C-grade:

01:21

D-grade:

01:27

E-grade:

01:33

 

 

Doubles

 

A-grade:

01:03

B-grade:

01:09

C-grade:

01:15

D-grade:

01:21

E-grade:

01:27

When to use the grading system?

 

The system is really only necessary when the number of entries in a race become large and unmanageable. 

 

How to use it?

 

The Discovery Men's Health series in each city starts every season with a grading race.  The mass start necessary (because no-one has been graded yet) is usually done (in Cape Town) by means of a wet start - with all the paddlers lined up on the water. 

 

After the grading race, the following rules apply:

 

  • If you're entering the series for the first time you start with the E-grade batch and the race is treated as the your grading race.
  • Once you've been graded, in order to be promoted, you must achieve two results at the higher grade.  The two results need not be consecutive.
  • If you fail to achieve your grade in two consecutive races, you're downgraded.

 

The percentages can be used as a points system for series results too.  Percentages can be used in the various categories too - veterans' percentages can be calculated from the winning veteran for example.

 

The series grades are sometimes used for seeding for other races - for example the groups for the Cape Point Challenge are worked out using the to-date series results.

 

Benefits for the Paddler

 

The benefits of the system for the paddler are:

 

  • You start with paddlers of similar ability. 
  • Your percentage (and grade) provides a measure of progress.
  • Prizes are usually awarded for results in each grade.
  • Motivation - to get to the next grade!