One of the single toughest physical events anywhere in the world is approaching - the longest, most gruelling surfski race anywhere. You guessed it, the Surf Ski Challenge, Port Elizabeth to East London. It's nothing but pure hardcore racing over four days between two famous coastal cities: 244km's over one of the world's most treacherous coastlines.
[Editor: Anton Erasmus sent this latest information on the PE to EL Challenge]
Thanks for the many responses to the Challenge questionnaire. Here is a bullet summary of the feed back.
Having a reserve day was a big no no. Race must be over 4 days (some felt that the race should be held a week later)
Check points, varied opinions. Majority wanted to keep them but with stop in race time. Also if surf is dangerous then turn around a buoy of ducky - i.e. a safety call.
Woody Cape - majority want it in but not if it is a mega boat breaker of a day - again a safety call.
Head butt vs. turning days. Most felt that the race should be PE to EL BUT if the wind is forecast to be in excess of 15 knots (some said 10 others 25) then turn it. A number suggested a there and back if the wind is hectic and also changing start time to accommodate the wind prediction.
Two paddlers said the race should be from EL to PE.
Paddlers have fewer than 100 days to train for the single most challenging event in the Surfski calendar: the 244km Port Elizabeth to East London "Surfski Challenge".
Changes this year include the omission of Woody Cape on the first day, and the one-way running of the race. In the past, organisers have run sections of the course "backwards" during bad weather to give paddlers a downwind leg. Not this year. In addition the Sunday is being reserved as a spare day in case any of the other days has to be cancelled due to inclement weather.
THE world‘s longest, most gruelling surfski challenge is gearing up for another exciting set of qualifying rounds, with entrance to the event opening on August 1.
A four-stage marathon which runs 244km along the coast between Port Elizabeth and East London, the PE2EL Surfski Challenge is held under guidance of professional sports company Sports World on behalf of Eastern Cape Lifesaving.
As we all know, Surf Ski is growing as a sport. But that growth is presenting race organisers with a dilemma. More and more paddlers want to enter the "classic" races like the Cape Point Challenge and the PE to EL Challenge. But these races have reputations for extreme conditions, both in terms of endurance and the sea states that can occur on the course.