Sardine run adds edge to surfski epic

Friday, 16 July 2010 16:43 | Written by  Gameplan Media
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The scene at the start - sunrise over Scottburgh The scene at the start - sunrise over Scottburgh Credits: Anthony Grote

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.

Starting at first light the surfski paddlers will leave Scottburgh main beach, then they will be required to beach for a compulsory stop at Amanzimtoti after 29km, before setting off for the finish at Brighton Beach on Durban's Bluff.

With beachings of sardines having been confirmed at several beaches north of Scottburgh in the past few days, and skiboats reporting plenty of marine activity, the field of single and double skis will have the rare treat of paddling through the fabled greatest biomass migration on earth.

Sardine Run Pics

These photos were taken a few days ago by professional photographer Jean Tresfon.  See more of Jean’s work at


While many of the field of predominantly double skis will be fascinated by the birds, dolphins and the other sealife on display, there is likely to be less sightseeing time at the front of the race, which is shaping up to be a riveting contest.

Cape Challenge

Ant Stott and Barry Lewin, the crew which dominated the latter stages of the Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series, will fancy their chances. However they will come up against stern opposition from a number of very powerful combinations.

The Durban paddlers have knives out for Cape Town duo Dawid and Jasper Mocke who won the renowned Dolphin Coast Challenge last year against the best Durban had to offer.  (They then went on to take the Scottburgh to Brighton in singles, Dawid winning with Jasper coming in second.)

Barry Lewin and Ant Stott

Barry Lewin and Ant Stott have dominated this season in Durban

The last time the Scottburgh to Brighton was run as a doubles race, Dawid Mocke won paddling with Hank McGregor.  (McGregor is busy winning the Berg River Canoe Marthon for a record seventh time as I write this.)

Dawid and Jasper Mocke

Dawid and Jasper Mocke will be hard to beat

The world champion brothers Grant and Brandon van der Walt have also committed to mounting a concerted challenge, and will be buoyed by the news that the weather conditions look set to offer light winds and moderate south westerly swell that will not unduly favour the big surf specialists.

Seasoned surfski racer Darryl Bartho has secured the services of Grant Woollaston and have the grit and pedigree to race astutely and keep their powder dry for the critical final 45 minutes into the Bluff.

Series champion Matt Bouman was rumoured to be co-opting the services of veteran Herman Chalupsky, but they had not lodged an entry by the time of writing.

Mixed Doubles

Ski racing pundits will also watch the overall performance of Toti star Michele Eder, who has thrown in her lot with series stalwart Oliver Burn. They will start as hot favourites for the mixed double crown.

 Michelle Eder and Oliver Burn

Michelle Eder and Oliver Burn

More information and results can be found at

Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series

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