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Lion Of Africa Surf Challenge – 1st Mixed Double

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in Racing

With my normal doubles partner away for the weekend (and I dont own a ski surfski right now) I needed to full my back seat with a powerhouse and somehow I managed to convince my gorgeous Fiancé to push me around the 12km in the ocean.


I love paddling with Carly, she just loves life and everything she does so much that it’s impossible not to have an absolute blast. Secondly she is super competitive which drives me to paddle and race even harder. We were in for a great day.

The weather played ball, no wind, tiny waves and really clean water, what more could you ask for? Durban really was showing off.

We had a terrible start, my fault. How many times have I done this and why would you mess it up now? Was going through my head as we passed a couple boats on the way out to the first turn can. Once in the open ocean I took a wider line to pick up a little more swell on the way to the Emgeni River. It worked and we packed up a couple more places, getting into a nice grind.

At the turn we met up with a much larger bunch of a couple of faster singles with some doubles hanging on for dear life. We moved through the bunch to get a good spot as boats fell off one at a time. Carly was a machine in the back helping us stay in a good position with the singles pulling us home.

The race had two surf turns near the end. We got through with not issues and came home 4th overall in the long course doubles and 1st Mixed. The smile on my partners face at the end was priceless, one of pure joy, pushing herself so hard and enjoying every second. It reminds me how much fun paddling really is and to take it all in. What a DAY!

A big thanks to Lion of Africa Insurance, this weeks race sponsor and series sponsor Bay Union for looking after the paddlers, making for a very memorable day. Durban winter is the best place in the world to paddle and I am looking forward to the Bay Union Dairy Doubles race next weekend.

All photos by Kevin Sawyer



Bay Union King of the Bay – 1st Double

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in Racing

The last 10 days have been a world-wind, I am on such a high from an awesome engagement on Monday, Birthday on Tuesday and spending some great quality time with the great people in our lives, over a special time for me.


Even in the craziness, preparations for the longer race at the King of the Bay went great. The adjustments to nutrition are working for the longer training and events and even though I was probably a little tired, I felt great leading into the race.

I again paddled with Clint Cook and we settled into a great bunch through the first flat section of the race, heading through the Durban port. It is a special experience to paddle out the mouth of the harbour and taking note of the awesome scenery was a must.

The conditions on the day couldn’t have been better. The SW had blown all of Saturday making the route into the NE wind, down to the turn maker a lot easier with a little bit of left over swell. We quickly got a gap on the other doubles once in the ocean and used the swell as best we could to keep the speed up, even into the wind.

At the turn we kicked hard for home holding some really nice speeds. I have to say that this was one of the easier King of the Bay races I have ever done, must be my very strong partner and happy heart. We took the win for the second week running and looking forward to race 4 of the series where we will have some more competition in a doubles specific race.

Jeep Team SA, team mate Hank McGregor won the single in style from Matthew Bouman and Nicole Russell edged out Hayley Nixon in a tight race for the ladies.

It was awesome to see such an awesome turn out for the event with new sponsors Bay Union and Zurich doing a great job of looking after the paddlers.

Next up is the Lion of Africa Surf Challenge this weekend.

Bay Union Surfski Series – Race 1 – 1st Double

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in Racing


The winter has snuck up on us already!!! Where has summer gone?

Well, thank goodness Durban is the best place in the world to paddle in winter, with warm water and perfect conditions. The winter surfski races are always a yearly highlight of the year. I couldn’t wait to get onto the line to racing again.

The prep hasn’t been great with some illness recently. The lack of boat time just got me more excited about the events, after missing out on my daily salt water fix quite a big lately. It’s amazing to note how much I miss it when not able to paddle.

For the 2016 winter I have decided to jump into a double with friend Clint Cook. Surfski paddling to me is meant to be fun and I love racing in a double. The last season I did in a double was with Brett Bartho some 10 years ago and the fresh feel of a new crew has me enjoying my paddling.

The first race of the season had a “FUN” theme and it was great to see people dress up in fancy dress, paddle with family members and most of all enjoy the very unique new course on offer. The community around the paddling is awesome and love interacting with so many people at the races.

Clint and myself had a great start, breaking away right off the bat. We got into a great rhythm straight away and slowly opened the gap on the field throughout the 12km race. Our average was really good doing 52min all on our own. This is a good sign for later in the season when we have more competition.

A big thanks to the mates who lent us a boat for the race. After splitting with my boat supplier earlier in the year, equipment had been an interesting challenge and I am very grateful for the people who have helped out so far!

The next race on the calendar is the Bay Union King Of the Bay, one of my favorites for the year. Lets hope the body holds out for a full 22km so early in the season.

Krieger and Nixon take early surfski series lead.

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

Durban – Wade Krieger and Hayley Nixon bagged maximum log points in the series-opening Bay Union Season Starter at Addington Beach on Sunday, making the most of the benign ocean conditions to grind out wins against a big field of surfski enthusiasts.


Krieger was drawn into a tussle with Herman Chalupsky at the front of the men’s single ski race, both eager to take full advantage of the absence of series stalwarts Hank McGregor and Matt Bouman.

Chalupsky took the lead early on in the first lap, consisting of a leg straight out to sea followed by a downwind sector back to eThekwini beach, before Krieger made his move and surged to the front.

“It was a tough race,” said Krieger afterwards. “Herman (Chalupsky) was tactically better in the runs, but I managed to make up that fifteen metres after the turning buoy.

“Then I pulled to the top and I think my surf skills helped in the end and I managed to get onto a wave coming in and run up the beach to the finish to claim the win,” the Team Epic/Falcon World Travel athlete said.

“I like to take it one race at a time,” said Krieger. “I am injury-free at the moment, feeling strong and I can only improve from here.

“Next weekend is the 21km Bay Union King of the Bay, so I will have to taper a bit this week because you can never underestimate that type of distance,” said Krieger.

The women’s title fell to Hayley Nixon in a dominant performance that saw her race to the front early on and consolidate an impressive victory to kick-start a season in which she plans to focus heavily on her surfski racing.

“We had a great tussle on the leg out to the turning can, and as we got into the downwind leg in managed to pull a bit of a gap on Nikki Russell.

“She came back strongly but luckily I was able to maintain the gap and take the win,” said Nixon.

She said that the high standard of racing amongst the elite women who contest the Bay Union Surfski Series was going to make for a very competitive five race programme.

“You are not supposed to come good in the first race of the series because then there is pressure for the rest of the series!” she mused.

The outing was encouraging for Nixon as she sets her sights on a number of international surfski races. It was also a perfect start for her in her new Carbonology team colours, with her team mate Bailey de Foundaumiere adding “Hayley and Bailey” swag to the team haul by winning the junior boys title.

Classy Durban schoolgirl Kyeta Purchase (Fenn Kayaks) romped to a comfortable win the junior girls division, finishing third overall in the women’s race.

Fastest over the 12km long course was the doubles crew of Barry Lewin and Clinton Cook.

The race got the hugely popular winter Sunday morning Bay Union Surfski Series season under way with a bang as a big field of paddlers of all abilities took advantage of the mild surf and gentle ocean conditions to enjoy the series pipe-opener under cool overcast skies.

The race organisers laid on a novel two leg course that took advantage of the prevailing downwind conditions and a novel crossing of Vetch’s Reef on the second lap, as part of a commitment to ensure that each race in the series has unique characteristics and appeal to the regular surfski paddlers.

With an emphasis on fun, there was plenty of friendly banter, with some eager paddlers dressing up in fancy-dress for the occasion.

The second leg of the series is the Bay Union King of the Bay hosted by Stella Canoe Club on Sunday 24 April, which affords surfski paddlers the once-a-year opportunity to paddle across Durban harbour and out through the harbour mouth.

More information can be found at www.pitchandpaddle.co.za

1.Wade Krieger 53:22.31
2.Herman Chalupsky 53:35.37
3.Gene Prato 53:47.88
4.Luke Nisbet 53:48.33
5.Bailey De Fondaumiere 55:03.52
6.Jakub Adam 55:12.82
7.Thomas Lovemore 55:44.65
8.Jason Ekstrand 56:11.97
9.Steve Woods 56:15.87
10.Louis Hattingh 56:33.84

1.Hayley Nixon 59:34:13
2.Nikki Russell 1:00:18
3.Kyeta Purchase 1:01:17

1.Barry Lewin/Clinton Cook 52:17.22k
2.Linton Hope/Bruce Wenke 55:02.22
3. Zoog Haynes/Christie Mackenzie 55:53.66
4.Bryce Hatton/Marc Stanton 56:03.24
5.Allan Hold/Geoff Thompson 56:13.66

1.Nicholas Horn/D.Bindley 33:38
2.Cameron Hudson 33:49
3.Ian Grieg/Neil Grieg 34:20

Bay Union Surfski Series fever engulfs Durban paddlers

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

Durban – Hundreds of paddlers are expected to return to Durban’s ocean racing scene this Sunday when the annual five-leg Bay Union Surfski Series gets underway at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach with the Bay Union Season Starter, signalling the start of the autumn surfski season.


Organisers have done away with the traditional series log standings and prizes, paving the way for local surfski enthusiasts to focus their full attention on each of the races’ unique paddling experiences over the coming five Sundays.

Renowned for its spectacular conditions at this time of the year, Durban’s bay offers the perfect, protected stage upon which all the action can unfold while the iconic Golden Mile, Moses Mabhida Stadium and the spectacular cityscape provides the ideal backdrop.

“We are extremely privileged to be able to have such incredible conditions at our disposal here in Durban during the autumn and winter months and thanks to the generous support of Bay Union, we are thrilled to host KZN’s surfski community for what promises to be another fantastic five weeks of racing,” explained series organiser, Barry Lewin.

“We’ve changed things up a little this year, with the focus of this year’s series being all about paddlers enjoying what each of the individual races have to offer,” he added.

As a unique theme runs through each of the five races, paddlers can look forward to enjoying many of the various elements that make the sport so popular on the East Coast.

“Sunday’s race is all about embracing the fun that comes with the sport of surfski,” said Lewin.

“We have prizes for the best dressed paddlers, spirit awards and a special family category which, together with some great new course routes, should get the series off on a really fun, relaxed, family orientated note – the essence of why many of us paddle!”

Sunday, 24 April’s Bay Union King of the Bay presented by Zurich provides paddlers with a once-a-year opportunity to paddle across Durban’s harbour and out the mouth to sea – an annual highlight for many – while race three, the Lion of Africa Surf Challenge on Sunday, 1 May takes participants back to their paddling roots and tests their basic ocean paddling skills.

“The King of the Bay is such an iconic Durban event and one not to be missed!

“The Lion Of Africa Surf Challenge will see participants make multiple turns in amongst the waves, taking paddlers back to the lifesaving ‘around the cans’ heritage of the sport.

The final two events of the popular autumn series then focus on teamwork as paddlers tackle the Bay Union Dairy Doubles Challenge and Bay Union Team Challenge on Sunday, 8 May and Sunday, 15 May respectively.

“We have such a strong doubles racing culture here in Durban and yet very few dedicated doubles events.

“The Dairy Doubles Challenge at Durban Surf should be a fantastic day’s racing where some of the country’s, if not the world’s, top doubles crews go head-to-head while the competitive vets and masters age groups also promises to serve up some fierce competition.

“The concept of a Team Challenge was born a couple of years ago and this year’s event is a refinement of that.

“Much like how mountain bike stage races are run, teams will consist of two skis – either singles or doubles – with both craft needing to cross the line within a boat length of the other to qualify for the prizes.

“Paddlers having to work together whilst also trying to compete against the other teams around them is a novel concept to surfski paddling and we cannot wait for the action that the format promises to produce!” said Lewin.

The Bay Union Season Starter, race one of the 2016 Bay Union Surfski Series, takes place from 09h00 at Marine SLC, Addington Beach on Sunday, 17 April. Entry fee for races 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the series is R80 per paddle while race 2 costs R120 per paddle.

More information can be found at www.pitchandpaddle.co.za

KZN Lifesaving Champs 2016 – 1st Single and 1st Double

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in Racing

The craziness that is this time of year with organizing the last race of the summer surfski series and the final prize giving has keep me from posting this story for a while.


The last couples weeks have been very hot on cold on the training front sorting out a shoulder niggle. I would start training again after some physio, only to have set back after set back. The consistency I crave in training has been something of a distant memory and the confidence as shaky as the training.

I got the weekend off to a surprising good start. After a long warm up (need for the shoulders) we jumped straight into he single ski final on Saturday afternoon. Russell Sadler, our Marine coach took it out really hard on the right of the arena and with some effort I managed to mow him down by the swim cans to take the lead. I stayed out of trouble to take the win, which is my 3rd KZN singles title in the row.

The next day I did the ski relay and taplin relay races, getting 2nd in both before winning the double ski race with Russell Sadler in the engine room. It was a fun weekend of racing at Toti with really great weather to boot.

Next up is SA Champs, which starts tomorrow. The first day comprises of the National Master Champs in the morning followed by the National Inter Provincial. I have never done a master event so not sure what to expect. I am a little rusty in the spec ski so any race practice will be great. It is a great privilege to the captaining the KZN team at the inter provincials in the afternoon, after captaining the team last year, to their first win in 8 years.

Check back for more updates from the weeks racing.

Photos by Graham Topfoto

Fitting finale for majestic 2016 Marine Series

Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

Durban – The 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series came to an end on Friday evening with the Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships taking centre stage as the Mark Keeling and Kyeta Purchase became national champions whilst Hank McGregor took the overall spoils in the series.


Keeling finished second the Bailey de Fondaumiere in 2015 however he was too strong for the rest of the schools field as he cantered to a win by just over a minute whilst Kyeta Purchase repeated her win of 2015 as she outgunned the other girls to take the national championship title.

The overall series title was up for grabs as Euro Steel/Epic Kayak’s Hank McGregor was chasing Matt Bouman for the spoils however it was the former who produced the goods to claim yet another Varsity College FNB Series title.

“It was a perfect evening for racing with a light westerly wind blowing,” McGregor said. “There was a great field there and I knew that I was under a bit of pressure because I needed this result if I was going to win.

“It was an awesome evening for racing and I am really glad that I have another title,” he added.

McGregor always knew that he had to finish at the front of the field if he wanted his sixth and final result to count in his favour so when he started the race he made sure that he got himself in front of the rest of the field early.

“I decided that I wanted to deliver the hurt from the beginning of the race as I needed to get myself away.

“I had a great start and got a substantial lead quickly because I really didn’t want to leave it to the final lap because you never know what can happen.

“When I got ahead I just tried to chase down the doubles and the paddlers in the schools race so I always had a marker to chase.

“It was a fantastic win for me and I am glad that I could get another series win!” he added.

The series has become known for its strong field that it accumulates every week and Friday night’s racing was no different.

“It was good to have the likes of Kenny Rice here which just added the strength of the field.

“Being able to race against some of the best surfski paddlers in the world is such a privilege. Taking them on in my own back yard is something that I have always appreciated,” added a satisfied McGregor.

With the focus of the final race being on the SA School’s championships, Hayley Nixon managed to get her second win of the series despite the fact that Nicole Russell had already wrapped up the women’s series title.

The popular short course was won by Nic Riosa whilst the Wilkinson pair of Travis and Rachel were the quickest double across the line.

More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za


1.Hank McGregor 32.41
2.Matt Bouman 34.04
3.Kenneth Rice 34.43
4.Wade Krieger 34.47
5.Charl Massyn 34.49
6.Grant van der Walt 35.00
7.Steve Woods 35.19
8.Gene Prato 35.26
9.Darren Swales 36.30
10.Jean Luc Mauvis 36.56

1.Hayley Nixon 38.29

1.Thomas Lovemore/Lee McGregor 33.41

Mixed Doubles
1.Jason Ekstrand/Kerry Segal 35.16
2.Lee Furby/Pippa McGregor 37.07
3.Gareth Miles/Raquel Arcediano 38.22

1.Nic Riosa 21.55
2.Dave Rees 22.08
3.Dylan Riddle 23.10

1.Travis Wilkinson/Rachel Wilkinson 20.24
2.Philip Symons/Lauren Norton 20.31
3.Bruce Pender-Smith/Matthew Pender-Smith 21.40

1.Daryl Bartho 26.52
2.Brandon Read 27.45
3.Grantley Read 29.16

Under 18 Boys
1.Mark Keeling 35.00
2.Bailey de Fondaumiere 36.01
3.Zachery Preyser 36.23
4.William Wood 37.32
5.Emanuel Zaloumis 39.04

Under Girls
1.Kyeta Purchase 40.45
2.Teegan Hardwick 49.20
Keli Reynolds 58.34

Under 16 Boys
1.Uli Hast 39.16
2.Hamish Mckenzie 42.43
3.Dante Lahore 45.03

Under 16 Girls
1.Tayla Gilmore 48.09