World’s oldest surfski series gets new lease of life

2011-01-14 00:00

DURBAN — Umhlanga surf lifesaving Iron man Matt Bouman will start the defence of his title in the Varsity College Surfski Series tonight determined to fend off the challenge from the droves of aspirant elite racers coming through the ranks.

The popular Friday night series last year played host to some titanic racing in Durban Bay featuring Bouman, Grant van der Walt, Hank McGregor and several others who currently rank in the ISPA top 20 world rankings.

Bouman was beaten only once in the 10 series races last year when he was eclipsed by Hank McGregor in the second race of the series, denying him in the process a rare clean sweep in the hotly-contested Friday night races.

Bouman, at 34, has made it clear that he does not plan to let up on his dominance of the domestic surfski scene in 2011.

A new angle will be thrown on the double ski races as the sprint combination of Toti racers Tiffany Kruger and Michele Eder will contest many of the events and it will be fascinating to see how much pressure they put on the elite men’s double ski crews.

The Friday night series starts with the first race, the Global Trader Surfski Challenge, at 5.30pm from the new home for the series at the newly-built Marine Clubhouse, offering the traditional 4 km short course and the competitive 8 km long course option in the shelter of Durban Bay.

The series has proven popular over the years as it offers paddlers of all abilities the opportunity to race in a safe and manageable environment, starting and finishing at Addington Beach where the surf is far less of a threat to paddlers and their craft.

It also dovetails neatly with the winter Discovery Sunglass Surfski Series, which builds to more challenging races on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, and ultimately the Discovery Scottburgh to Brighton and the Dunlop Surfski World Cup.

Series organiser Barry Lewin has scrapped the series entry fee. “It won’t cost any more if you do one race or all 10,” said Lewin. More information can be found at www.marine series.co.za.

VARSITY COLLEGE MARINE

SURFSKI SERIES CALENDAR

Friday 14 January 2011 - Global Trader Surfski Challenge

Friday 21 January 2011 - Billy the Bums Surfski Challenge

Friday 28 January 2011 - MultiSport Magazine Surfski Challenge

Friday 4 February 2011 - Thule Surfski Challenge

Friday 11 February 2011 - Hansa Surfski Challenge

Friday 25 February 2011 - USN Surfski Challenge

Friday 4 March 2011 - IT Works Surfski Challenge

Friday 11 March 2011 - Sunday Tribune Surfski Challenge

Friday 18 March 2011 - Billy the Bums Surfski Challenge

Friday 25 March 2011 - Varsity College SA Schools Champs 2011. — Own Correspondent.

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