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…
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.  
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”

Latest Forum Topics

Rotator Cuff Rehab

Saturday, 24 November 2012 14:33 | Written by  Kim Russell
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Rotator Cuff Rehab

[Editor: I’m currently battling with a low-level chronic inflamed rotator cuff. This kind of injury is endemic in our sport and whitewater professional Kim Russell wrote this article on rotator cuff rehab.  She kindly allowed us to republish the piece…]

A Rotator Cuff injury can happen at any time.  You may have had an incident on the river that you can point to as the culprit: High bracing your way through a rapid, or like me, you may simply have woken up with a deep ache one morning.

The Rotator Cuff is comprised of four muscles that surround the Glenohumoral Joint, and provide support to the shoulder girdle.

If one or more muscles is compromised, so is stability at the joint. This means easier shoulder dislocations and other injuries. This also means that as paddlers we need to listen to our bodies and be particularly aware of the condition of our shoulders. We all need rest days here and there, especially after a long day on the river or a particularly difficult section of river. These rest days are very important in order to let our muscles recover from the stress and strain we put on them when paddling.


Below is a rehabilitation program for those of you who have suffered a rotator cuff injury, think you may have, or are simply looking for more shoulder strengthening/stabilizing exercises. For two of these exercises, therabands will be used, rather than free weights. Therabands do not depend on gravity to provide resistance, allowing for resistance in all planes, including the horizontal plane. In addition, therabands allow for strengthening in more functional movement patterns that mimic everyday activities and sports.

Rotator Cuff Rehab exercises

Start with a low resistance theraband. Internal and External Rotator Muscles tend to be neglected and a lot weaker than you think. Once you can do 3 sets of 15 easily, move up in resistance.

Tie a knot in the end of a theraband, and close one end in a door at about elbow height. Hold your arm as pictured in the above diagrams, with your forearm at a 90 degree angle to your upper arm.

Shoulder External Rotation

Place a thin pillow between your elbow and torso, acting as a bolster. Stand with the door to your right, and place the theraband in your left hand. Keeping your elbow in close to your torso, pivot at the elbow, and move your hand outward from your body. Return to the original position, slowly, and continue for three sets of ten.

Shoulder Internal Rotation

Place a thin pillow between your elbow and torso, and stand with the door to your right. Place the theraband in your right hand. Keeping your elbow in close to your torso, pivot at the elbow, and move your hand toward your stomach. Return to the original position, slowly, and continue for three sets of ten.

Push up Plus

Pushup Plus

The push up plus functions to strengthen the Serratus Anterior, a muscle that serves to pull the scapula in toward the thorax. It helps stabilize the scapula, and by default, the Glenohumeral Joint.

Start in a standard push up plank position, with a straight torso and flat back. Keeping your arms straight, push up away from the ground, and round your back slightly at the shoulder blades. The movement is very discreet. Three sets of 15 and you will feel it between your shoulder blades, no matter how in shape you are. If it is too much to start on the ground, you can modify the exercise, and do this against the wall or using the edge of a table.

Lat Rows

Lat rows

Close a theraband in a door just below chest level. Hold an end in each hand, start with tension on the band, and pull back on the theraband by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Over emphasize this moment, keeping your elbows close into your torso. Slowly return to the original position, and continue for 3 sets of 10.

If it hurts, stop!

These four exercises are a start to a rehabilitation program for the injured rotator cuff. You may need to lay off paddling whitewater for a few weeks, if needed, and focus on basic strengthening. The rule of thumb is to stop if you have any pain, and to balance rehab with rest. Try stretching, massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy, if needed. Last of all, don't lose hope! Our bodies DO heal, they just need time and lots of rest!

**Kim Russell has a B.S. in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon. She is currently working as a Physical Therapist Aide, earning glances into stretches, strengthening exercises and mobilization techniques for paddlers. These techniques are ones that she has found to work for herself in strengthening her shoulder muscles, and may not be suitable for some individuals. Consult your physician before trying any of these exercises.**

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