Durban to host ‘beach extravaganza of 2013’

2013-05-24 00:00

DURBAN’S North Beach is set to return to the heady days of the ­Gunston 500 tomorrow and Sunday, thanks to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa).

Partnering with Durban Stars, Samsa host “the beach extravaganza of the year”, encouraging people from all walks of life and previously disadvantaged communities to get involved in water sports and promote environmental awareness.

Organisers hope to revitalise the days of the Gunston 500, which was established in 1969 and was a highlight on Durban’s sporting calendar before moving to Ballito under a new sponsor after four decades.

Samsa have selected their own brand ambassadors for the event, a selection of surfers and jet-skiiers to encourage the inaugural event to take off and cement Durban’s place on the tourism map.

Ayanda Mngadi, executive head of the centre for corporate affairs at Samsa, said, “This competition will ignite the legendary culture of the Gunston 500.

“Our hope is for this event to grow and maintain a recognised status by the end of our five year strategy in 2018. Next year, it will be a seven-day competition with international competitors invited.

“We aim to preserve and revitalise the atmosphere and character associated with the original Gunston 500.”

The competition has been sanctioned by the KZN Surfing Association, SA Surfing Federation and the SA Jet-Ski Association, with eThekwini Municipality supporting the initiative and assisting where possible.

Said Mngadi: “This does not only promote tourism but also benefits the city’s economy. The surfing fraternity and maritime industry see this initiative as a catalyst in the development of athletes.”

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