Latest Surfski News

Monday, 22 March 2021 10:35
[Given a recent encounter with bluebottles here in Cape Town, South Africa, this article from 2007 is hereby recycled as being very relevant!] On a 2007 "Miller's Run" on singles in a big South-Easter, from Miller's Point to Fish Hoek, about 20 minutes into the paddle, my paddling partner Gavin Gottschalk and I were stung by bluebottles.
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Tuesday, 16 March 2021 13:54
It’s not easy to catch a rolling, runaway single ski in 30kt of gusting wind – and as they attempted to grab it, Alex and his doubles partner lost their balance and fell into the water. By the time they’d remounted, the single ski was gone – blown away by the strengthening near-gale. They turned and paddled back upwind to find their buddy.
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Wednesday, 03 March 2021 12:08
Accident reports are easy to write when the story ends happily, but this one didn’t and it’s with a very heavy heart that I’m writing this, with a view to learning what we can from it.
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Wednesday, 15 July 2020 09:13
When the NSRI found Duncan MacDonald, he was approximately 6km off Smitswinkel Bay, drifting rapidly further offshore. Gale-force squalls whipped sheets of spray off the waves, reducing visibility almost to nothing. What Happened? Given the small size of the surfski community, there’s always intense interest whenever there’s a rescue. What happened? What did they do wrong? What can we learn from it? Clearly there are lessons to be learnt from any mishap – so here’s a description of what happened, shared with the permission and cooperation of the folks involved in the hope that we might all learn from this…
Friday, 24 April 2020 11:41
Durban – As the continued coronavirus lockdown grips the country, Canoeing South Africa will host a 24 hour Canoeing4COVID-19 event this weekend as a way to raise funds for members of the broader paddling community that have been badly affected by the lockdown.
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Wednesday, 11 March 2020 14:35
“Hey, Rob! Help!” The shouts penetrated the sound of the howling wind and crashing waves – and even through the noise it was obvious from the tone of his voice that something was seriously wrong. I turned and headed back upwind.
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Tuesday, 03 March 2020 14:43
Many paddlers use Personal Locator Beacons, or tracker apps like SafeTrx on their mobile phones. But handheld VHF radios are also a great choice to consider – especially when they’re DSC-capable like the Standard Horizon HX870E.
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Monday, 24 February 2020 12:01
I finally got my hands on a demo Fennix Swordfish S this weekend and did two Miller's Runs in succession to see if I could feel any difference in handling between the 2018 Swordfish S and the new Fennix model.  Conditions were challenging: False Bay was covered in whitecaps, whipped by a combination of a 25-30kt southeaster and small, confused seas.  The result?  I definitely want to spend more time in this boat.
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Thursday, 26 December 2019 10:30
The shark smashed like a freight train into Roger Swinney’s surfski in an explosion of noise and spray, knocking him off into the water.  “I managed to get back on the ski,” he said, “but I fell off again and as I remounted the second time, I saw the swirl and tips of the shark’s fins. “I didn’t see it clearly, but from the force of it and the movement in the water, it looked big!”
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Friday, 22 November 2019 15:08
You’d think that in a field studded with Olympians, Aussie SLS Champions and Iron Men, competition would be intense… but you wouldn’t expect one athlete to dominate no fewer than four races in row. But that’s what happened.
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Friday, 22 November 2019 01:28
In a thrilling display showing just how competitive the men’s surfski field has become, the first five places were separated by just 30 seconds…  And in the women’s race, a tight finish saw the newly arrived defending champion, Georgia Laird, take the win.
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Thursday, 21 November 2019 04:19
The City of Perth Surf Club hosted a nippers’ clinic for more than 200 youngsters from all over Western Australia, as part of the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week here in Perth. Aside from getting to train with their heroes, the nippers walked away with lucky draw prizes to remind of a cracking day at the beach.
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Thursday, 21 November 2019 00:41
South Africa’s Hayley Nixon managed to hold off Australian Iron Woman star Jemma Smith in a nail-biting finish at City Beach at the end of the first of two Sunset Series Races, part of the Shaw and Partners WA Race week here in Perth. In the men’s race, Cory Hill consolidated his lead in the week’s rankings, ahead of fellow Australian Tom Norton.
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Tuesday, 19 November 2019 05:52
Darryl’s ski flew down the wave, spray flying… “How good is this, mate?!” he yelled. I could only laugh in reply – the runs were so clean, the water so clear, so warm, this truly is paddling paradise. I’m here as a guest of Shaw and Partners, the sponsors of the $100,000 Shaw and Partners WA Race Week in Perth. Monday was an “off-day” in the weeklong racing series – and that meant an opportunity to sample one of the local downwind paddling routes.
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Tuesday, 19 November 2019 01:59
It’s always fascinating to paddle somewhere new – and I’d only done this stretch of coast once before, five years ago… “Stay well out,” I was told. “Don’t let the waves take you too close inshore, because you’ll find yourself coming back out cross-wind at the finish.”
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Tips & Techniques

Monday, 22 March 2021 10:35 | Written by
[Given a recent encounter with bluebottles here in Cape Town, South Africa, this article from 2007 is hereby recycled as being very relevant!] On a 2007 "Miller's Run" on singles in a big South-Easter, from Miller's Point to Fish Hoek, about 20 minutes into the paddle, my paddling partner Gavin…
Sunday, 12 July 2015 09:40 | Written by
There’s just nothing like the feel of taking your feather-weight 24lb (11kg) surfski off your car racks with one hand, carrying it to the water with one hand, and with one hand setting it down gently onto the H2O while all about you other paddlers are lugging kayaks apparently constructed…
Saturday, 02 March 2013 07:26 | Written by
Alex Matthews is a Sea Kayak instructor from British Columbia.  Bob Putnam lent him a Think Eze surfski for the winter (eeek - that's cold!).  Bob said that Alex "had been resistant, almost anti-surfski."  Clearly though, sea kayakers are a tough breed and Alex is now hooked on surfski and…
Thursday, 13 December 2012 08:27 | Written by
Chasing 3m breaking waves in 35kt gusts is the best fun you can have outside of tangled sheets – but gear failure can be a much bigger issue.  You have to be mentally and physically prepared for things to go wrong…
Saturday, 24 November 2012 14:33 | Written by
[Editor: I’m currently battling with a low-level chronic inflamed rotator cuff. This kind of injury is endemic in our sport and whitewater professional Kim Russell wrote this article on rotator cuff rehab.  She kindly allowed us to republish the piece…]
Saturday, 18 August 2012 02:00 | Written by
We first published this story in 2009, but it's no less relevant today.  Ten of the best surfski paddlers in the world give advice and tell their stories about getting out through big surf...
Sunday, 20 May 2012 10:13 | Written by
[Editor: can't get enough of this - core strength is absolutely key to paddling fitness.  Whitewater Professional Kim Russell kindly let us re-publish this article she posted on the Wavesport site.  Not only that, but she's written some great stuff about rotator cuff injury recovery and general sholder strengthening...  and…
Saturday, 12 May 2012 18:30 | Written by
Here’s a debate that pops up quite often: what length is optimum for surfskis?  Ralph Baker, a student at the Newcastle University School of Marine Science and Technology (phew what a mouthful!) recently completed an eight month long project looking at this precise question.
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 18:46 | Written by
[Editor: When Jean Mars Tavignot tried out his new Red7 Surf 70 Pro in downwind conditions, he was not pleased; his 10 year old Fenn Millenium handled the short steep Mediterranean waves better!  Nothing daunted, he took out his toolbox…]
Monday, 01 August 2011 06:50 | Written by
I have always wanted to fit an elliptical rudder to a Fenn, particularly a Mako 6 as it is my favourite ski. I can paddle an Elite but I prefer the 6 for all round stability and performance particularly in chop. Its main weakness is that the shark fin loses bite…
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