Organisers of the much anticipated McCarthy Toyota Durban Kingsmead Surfski Challenge, race two of the 2015 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, had their hands tied on Friday evening and were forced to make the rare decision to cancel the race as Mother Nature showed her power and fury at the eleventh hour.
A strong South Westerly wind had been predicted however its time of arrival was unknown and so race organiser Barry Lewin had multiple courses planned in order to keep participants safety top priority during racing.
However the arrival of large onshore swell which created four to six foot surf and Spring low tide, accompanied with a buster 35 knot South Westerly wind just fifteen minutes prior to the start of the race, Lewin was left with no option but to cancel the clash.
“As race organiser, the safety of my competitors is always my first priority and with the severity of the conditions – both wind speed and the lack of visibility – that we experienced, we unfortunately had no other option but to call off the McCarthy Toyota Durban Kingsmead Surfski Challenge,” explained Lewin.
“The fact that this is the first race in six years as race organiser that I’ve had to cancel goes to show that this really doesn’t happen often however I’m very comfortable with the safety call that we made after consulting with water rescue crew from Marine Surf Lifesaving Club.
“Importantly, not only would it have been really tough conditions for paddlers to cope with but the rescue team were unable to see the turn buoys and so would have been unable to spot and assist any paddlers who may have gotten into difficulty,” he added.
Paddlers who had enthusiastically gathered for their weekly competitive ocean paddling fix were understandably disappointed to be unable to race however all fully backed Lewin’s decision and have now turned their attention to returning to the water at next week’s third leg of the series.
The Borland Surfski Challenge presented by Marriott, race three of the 2015 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, takes place at 17h30 on Friday 23 January at Addington Beach before many of the region’s paddling fraternity then head to Underberg the following morning for the much anticipated 2015 N3TC Drak Challenge. More information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za