Stress levels are certainly down this trip. Normally it’s a mad rush of last-minute organization but this time… The booking with Naiade (the race hosts) include tickets, transfers, the lot. Nothing to do but relax and get on the plane for the short 3 ½ flight to Mauritius.
Sore muscles though after the Dunlop Surfski World Cup on Sunday!
Keen to get on the water, the team rushed through a world class breakfast and then set up skis. Dawid Mocke, Varsity College Surfskischool CEO took a coaching clinic and in the first session went through some great safety tips before we headed out for a little tap through the pass to play in the waves a km or two down the coast. Short, sharp and fun:
The idea was to wait for more wind in the afternoon.
Afternoon: not the conditions we experienced two years ago, no big swell, but there was a little bit of wind and it created some nice runs.
This is the daily downwind – from the host resort Tamassa to Le Morne - and doubles as the course for the Sporty Anderson surfski race on Thursday. The final reef pass at Le Morne didn’t really show its teeth (it can be really hectic) and there was only 1 swimmer out of the 30 people doing the run.
Everyone really marveled at the amazing mountain (Le Morne – which gives its name to the reef pass) next to the finish, towering above as you paddle through the shallows inside the reef. We all agreed there’s not much that can compare with paddling in this amazing place.
The ‘spanbow’ or team spirit at Tamassa is classic with all the paddlers taking over a big section of the restaurant in the hotel telling stories of the day’s adventure on the island. Paddle times for the following day were discussed and I was nominated to lead the squad the next day. Plus with Dawid off to do a press condference he asked me to take over his duties for the coaching element of the morning session. Get in the game!
The squad headed out early to make use of what wind we had for the day and launched at 1030am for another paddle down to Le Morne:
I did a cool lesson with some of the paddlers on how to set up your Garmin and use it effectively to navigate in the ocean. The conditions were really light, still a couple runs out there but there wasn’t much in the way of paddles-down time. With a lot of the Aussie crew from Perth and Sydney here the boys up front were checking out the course with an eagle eye.
The afternoon was an interval and technique session with Dawid inside the reef. I sat this one out to park off on the deck and soak up some of paradise. A book with a view is not something I experience often and the novelty was great.
Dawid Mocke - safey briefing
Sporty Anderson Memorial Surfski Race
The briefing and registration for tomorrow’s Sporty Anderson surfski race tomorrow was very relaxed affair. Forecasts are for light wind and very manageable surf on the reef so all is a go for a course outside the reef.
There is no need to show one’s cards with the big day coming up on Saturday. All the boys are here with plenty to prove. The big question is whose ego will push them to race hard?!
The start time for the race is a meet at 10am, on the water 1030am and the gun around 1045am with lunch at the finish!
Talk about a stand out... Barry's ski...!
Anton Erasmus - Respect!
Anton Erasmus, the Island Shamaal race director, will fulfill a commitment he made at last year’s Mauritian Shamaal Ocean Classic. At the time he was undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer and he undertook to kill the cancer and take to the water in the 2011 Sporty’s Race. Well done, Anton, your courage and determination are inspirational to all in the sport.
Anton - cancer survivor, paddler and race organiser!
Island Shamaal Forecast
Looks as though we’ll be getting a course down the west side of the island – what wind there is for Saturday is forecast to blow from the northwest.
With such a flat race in Durban I really hope the wind does blow to have some fun on the water to fit in on how much fun we having off the water on the trip so far.
Love is in the air…
[Editor: So far there have been two engagements announced… details to come but rumour has it that a Namibian popped the question in the middle of a yoga class and an Aussie couple has also succumbed to magic of Mauritius and announced their betrothal…]