Durban – As the summer months approach, the surf at Pirates SLC becomes the home of the six-leg 2016 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series which will be kicking off on Friday, 14 October for another edition of the action-packed, drama-laden series that takes paddlers from Suncoast Pirates Lifesaving Club to the harbour wall and back.
The famous surfski series is one of the tougher series on the East Coast’s calendar as the tricky surf at Pirates makes the exit and entry difficult.
That, however, won’t stop droves of paddlers taking on the eight kilometre course to the harbour and back every Friday evening for the next six weeks.
The series’ testing conditions has meant it attracts the crème de la crème of surfski paddlers in the Durban region and the 2016 series will be no different as the intense rivalry between 2015 series winner Hank McGregor and his regular opponent, Matthew Bouman (Epic Kayaks) resumes with the challenge for the ladies title set to be just as competitive.
“It is a great series and I will definitely try and race in as many of the legs of the series as I can this year,” Euro Steel/Epic Kayak’s McGregor mentioned.
“The surf is definitely the most challenging part of the race and as far as surfski races go, it is definitely one of the trickier races as it is not over until you have got through the surf and are back on the beach.
“That element of nature that you have to contend with is one of the main components that makes the Wall and Back series so unique.
“The series ups the skill levels of everyone who takes part and is a proper test for all, setting it apart from the other Durban series.”
A chocker-block international surfski schedule may well curtail McGregor’s march towards another Wall and Back Surfski Series title however he has committed himself to as many races as he can do as he looks to meet the series’ minimum criteria that requires paddlers to complete four of the six races to be in line for the series’ spoils.
“I am off to France next week for a surfski race and I am busy until the end of the year, but I will be at Pirates every Friday that I am available!
“The competition is always so good and it gives me a chance to sharpen up and take on some of the best surfski paddlers in the world on a weekly basis.
“We have conditions here in Durban that international paddlers have never experienced, so it gives us the edge in international competition.
“The high quality of racing also means that I have to be on top of my game week in and week out,” he stressed.
The ladies series honours will be just as exciting with a number of high-class paddlers in the running for the overall title. Training partners Jenna Ward (Euro Steel), Kyeta Purchase (Euro Steel/Mocké Paddling) and Nikki Russell will lead the charge, however others, such as Hayley Nixon (Euro Steel/Carbonology Sport), will be chomping at the bit for a chance at success.
Purchase won the overall women’s title in 2015 however she will have her work cut out for her this year with a stellar field expected to be contesting for the honours.
More information can be found at www.wallandback.co.za
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