Marine Surfski Series finale hosts schools national title tussle

A crop of the top junior surfski paddlers in the country are busy readying themselves for the 2015 Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships which take place at Addington Beach, Durban this Friday evening.

Kyeta Purchase.

Kyeta Purchase.

As a major part of the tenth and final leg of the Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, the SA School Champs will see the cream of the Under-16 and Under-18 ocean paddling talent go head to head for the coveted title.

Bailey de Fondaumiere and Clifton College pupil and MacSquad Academy member Luke Criticos have been in sublime form in the Marine Surfski Series thus far while Brett Evans will lead a strong Glenwood High School contingent into Friday’s contest while Tristan Wilson will hope to fly DHS’s flag high.

De Fondaumiere has been the pick of the Durban-based junior flock this summer and took a major step forward in his development as a paddler when he mixed it up with and beat some of the region’s biggest senior names when he finished fifth and fourth in race three and eight respectively.

Cape Town’s Mark Keeling won the Under-16 boys title and finished second in the Under-18 boys’ clash in last year’s SA Schools clash and the Fish Hoek High School youngster will be looking to go one better this time around.

A boom in surfski interest in the Eastern Cape has also sparked East London’s Joshua Fenn, Tayne Thompson and William Wood making the journey up to Durban for the clash as the trio look to mix it up with Keeling, de Fondaumiere and the rest of the usual influx of young talent that make the pilgrimage to Durban from throughout KZN.

Fenn Kayaks’ Kyeta Purchase (Our Lady of Fatima) is another local junior to have put her hand up in a big way throughout this year’s Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series with the series’ third leg even producing the young star’s maiden senior race victory.

Having gone head to head with regular series front runners Michelle Burn, Jenna Ward and Nikki Russell week in and week out, Purchase will undoubtedly go into Friday’s clash as favourite to clinch the girls’ title while Under-16 Sabina Lawrie will hope to add to Durban’s hometown success.

The 2015 Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships form part of the Varsity College Surfski Challenge – the tenth and final leg of the 2015 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series – and take place at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club at Addington Beach in Durban on Friday 13 March.

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