I have been looking forward to this festival all year. It is such a great week (or two) in Fish Hoek in Cape Town, South Africa. There are 3 races in a week. First race is the Cape Town Downwind which is the final of the World Series Races and we paddle a route which takes in the famous Miller’s Run and we finish on Fish Hoek beach.
The conditions for the downwind were perfect, decent swell and a 20-25kt wind = awesome, fun and fast :). A great race which didn’t disappoint. So much fun racing, it was so good to have a great downwind conditions on race day.
Then on the Tuesday is the memorial race, Peter Crees Lighthouse Race. Which is usually run to Roman Rock Lighthouse and back, but due to the wind the course was changed to the Miller’s run course. Good decision by the race director (Andrew) as we had another great downwind race.
This then sets us up for the main race of the season, The Cape Point Challenge is a major race here and it is on the list of many paddlers to complete. To give you an idea of the race, we start in Scarborough on the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsular and paddle around Cape Point and into False Bay where we finish in Fish Hoek, a total of 50km. We start in Batches early in the morning and the batches are worked out so that everyone will get to the Point at roughly the same time to help with the safety aspects of the race. I was in a batch due to leave by 5:50am, yup that’s early! When we arrived we were greeted with a misty and chilly morning on the Atlantic side, and the sea was showing off its ferocity……the swell was rather big and to miss the shore dump we started at the far end of the beach near the reef break, but then we had the reef break to negotiate. So needless to say there were many nervous paddlers doing last minute checks and prep. Race conditions were no wind and big swell.
We got away cleanly, well we just made it out before the set came through. At the briefing the night before we were warned that the swell was going to be big and that we shouldn’t try and cut inside any reefs. The NSRI would sit in the safe zone, so if we past near them we should have a good safe line through. When an experienced South African Surfski paddler says the swell will be big then you know its going to be big! Right after the start we formed a nice bunch and were going at a great pace, I felt good but about 8-9km into the race I felt we were to shallow and I could see the NSRI crews a bit further out, the waves were also starting to peak every now and then (not what you want to see) so I made the decision to lose my bunch and go further out. Which would result in paddling the rest of my race on my own. South Western Reefs was (in my mind) huge, so again I went wide. Then when I rounded the point I could not believe the difference inside False Bay, flat and glassy with a light headwind at times. Only one way to paddle the final 25km on your own is to find a rhythm and just go.
I didn’t know how well I was doing as no one was catching me and I was only catching a few people and I didn’t know which batch they had started in, just paddle and keep your rhythm is the only thing I could tell myself. I got a “second wind” about 5km out from the finish which got me to the end. It was only at the end that I found out that I won……what…….really……. I cannot describe the feeling winning the Cape Point Challenge.
1. Chloe Bunnett
2. Kisrten Flanagan
3. Tarryn Brown
4. Nikki Mocke
5. Jodi Cleworth
Well done to Hank McGregor for wining overall in a record time.
1. Hank McGregor
2. Sean Rice
3. Dawid Mocke
4. Simon Van Gysen
5. Kenny Rice
Well done to everyone who attempted this year’s race, it was a tough one!
I have recently joined the Carbonology Sport team and I am paddling the Pulse, I have really enjoyed the boat and have learned so much on the sea over the past couple of months. Thank you, its great to be supported by such an awesome team. I am really looking forward to the next season.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE :)