Durban, South Africa - Former Discovery Scottburgh to Brighton winner Bevan Manson and fellow East London based, 19-year-old paddling talent Kyle Friedenstein not only outshone a classy field but also overcame treacherous conditions in the second half of the race to deservedly claim this year's spoils.
Durban: The 54th running of the Discovery Scottburgh to Brighton surfski race was completely dominated by the “Cape storm” of former world champ Dawid Mocke and younger brother Jasper, Sean Rice (Cape Town) and Richard von Wildemann (Port Elizabeth) who completely obliterated the local contingent in challenging downwind conditions to claim places one to four overall.
Durban - The winter surfski season comes to a head on Saturday with the gruelling 46km Discovery Scottburgh to Brighton ultra marathon, which has been given added intensity by the certainty that the field of paddlers will race through the sardine run, and with it will be close to the marine bonanza that follows the sardine migration up the coast.
Background: my paddling goal for 2005 was to take part in the Cape Point Challenge, a long distance (56km) surf ski race that takes place every other December here in Cape Town. Not having paddled many long distance races before - one only and that a mere 31km - I mounted a year-long campaign and started training in February. First goal in the campaign was to take part in the annual Men's Health Scottburgh to Brighton race off the Kwa-Zulu Natal coast.
The 46km distance of the race didn't worry me; by race day I'd have done nearly 1000km of training including a number of 30km+ paddles. No, what worried me was the notorious Durban surf.
Amanzimtoti, South Africa, 14 July 2007, 08h00. The 2007 Discovery Men's Health Scottburgh to Brighton race got off to a quiet start this morning as 160 skis (roughly 80 singles and 80 doubles) set off from Scottburgh Beach at 06h00 this morning.
In 2005 I paddled the Scottburgh to Brighton for the first time. It was my first experience too of the Durban surf. (Click here for the story.)
The day before the race we went to Scottburgh to have some fun in the waves. It took me a whole hour just to get out through the surf, and among other delightful memories I have a crystal clear picture of me exiting my ski over the stern, hands over my head in an attitude of surrender.
It's a great race though (really) but I thought I'd write up some of the lessons that I learned - for those others attempting the race for the first time this year on 8th July...