The east coast of South Africa has a reputation globally of being a surfski paddler’s paradise and the country’s biggest surfski series, the Marine Surfski Series is set to reach new heights in 2015 after banking giant First National Bank (FNB) recently confirmed their generous support of the next year’s edition of the popular ten-leg summer series.
Through the generous support of tertiary educators Varsity College over the past five years, the series has become a shining beacon for the sport both nationally and internationally.
Varsity College and FNB’s new co-title sponsorship of the series is however set to continue building on the platform laid down already.
“Durban has a huge number of some of the top paddlers in the world and the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series is fortunate enough to see many of these guys and girls in action on a Friday evening throughout the first quarter of the year,” says series coordinator Barry Lewin.
“The series is however about far more than just the incredible tussles that go on week in and week out at the front of the field.
“It offers ten quality events for paddlers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the unbelievable paddling conditions Durban has to offer and it really is quite something that we can have World Champions and surfski beginners all on the same start line!” he adds.
For Varsity College, their involvement in the Marine Surfski Series is one that they cherish and which goes hand in hand with the healthy lifestyle they seek to promote through their Sport Life programme.
“Paddlers can only expect bigger and better things from the 2015 Marine Surfski Series,” says Carole Adam, Varsity College National Sport and Social Manager.
“The new partnership with FNB has been a seamless one for us and I hope this translates into the series for both paddles and spectators.
“I think the beauty of the series is the shorter race distances, great weather and location enables paddlers from all skill levels to participate,” she adds.
FNB joined the world of surfski for the first time in June 2014 when they backed the inaugural edition of the Durban Downwind event which hosted the SA Surfski Championships.
Their positive first taste of the sport has prompted a further investment in ocean paddling, one that has both the series organisers and participants as well as the sponsors themselves excited.
Preggie Pillay, FNB KZN Provincial Head says “In line with our vision ‘to be a great business, helping to create a better world’, we believe in developing the sporting talent in South Africa. This sponsorship reaffirms our commitment to sport in the region and provides individuals with the platform to take surfski to another level.”
Participants of the 2015 series can look forward to even greater value for money due to the generosity of both Varsity College and FNB which will see the first 300 entrants receive a little something extra with a significantly bolstered prize pot.
“The first 300 paddlers to enter the series can look forward to a great something extra thanks to our sponsors!
“The series’ prize money has also been doubled from 2014 to a massive R100 000 which we’re certain will create even greater clashes at the front of the field.
“The easy launch from Marine and the option of either the 4km short or 8km long course races weekly gives newbies the ideal opportunity to take on the sport and once again guarantees the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series to be the best way to start your weekend!” confirms Lewin.
The series’ tenth and final race will once again double as the Varsity College South African Schools Surfski Championships.
The ten-leg 2015 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series gets underway at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club at Addington Beach on Friday 9 January.