Bay Union King of the Bay Media Release

 No: kotb2005

29 Sept 2020

   Embargo: None

Written by: Dave Macleod

Burn and Hockley eye women's laurels at King of the Bay

Durban – With the national double surfski title at stake, seasoned Durban ocean racing ace Michelle Burn has scooped the services of teenage rising star Saskia Hockley for the Bay Union King of the Bay surfski race on Sunday, throwing down the gauntlet to the elite women’s crews planning to be on the startline on Durban Harbour.

Burn is a multiple former winner of the King of the Bay women’s title at the popular 22km race that starts at the Durban harbour Bayhead and crosses the harbour before heading out on an out-and-back ocean leg to the Mngeni River mouth while schoolgirl Hockley is putting her hand up as one of the province’s leading junior female paddlers.

“Saskia and I are both Umhlanga Surf Lifesaving Club members, and when we heard that the King of the Bay was going to be a doubles race, we decided to paddle together,” said Burn after the pair had completed a double ski training session together this week.

“The boat is going really nicely  and Saskia is strong. She is not scared of hard work and puts in the effort,” she added.

Hockley, who turns 17 in February, turned heads at the KZN flatwater marathon champs at Camps Drift last weekend where she romped to victory in the junior category and went toe-to-toe with established elite stars Jenna Ward and Bridgitte Hartley for almost the entire senior race, and then went on to claim the overall K2 gold with Ward on the Sunday.

“I paddle at Blue Lagoon sometimes and see Saskia training with Lee McGregor’s MacSquad, and it always strikes me how good her technique is and how well she is going,” said Burn.

Burn has found a rich vein of form as the lockdown eases and is excited to test herself against what she hopes is a strong field of women’s S2 crews on Sunday.

“It has been great to train and feel no pressure because there weren’t any events during the lockdown. I am feeling good and looking forward to racing again,” she said.

“This race has a bit of everything with the flatwater on the harbour for the first half, but what tends to happen is that we paddle in bunches across the harbour and the racing only starts once we get out of the harbour,” said Burn, who is widely respected as a skilled downwind paddler.

With Jenna Ward opting to sit out the Bay Union King of the Bay and defending champion Hayley Nixon in the late stages of pregnancy, pressure will come from a number of women’s crews, notably lifesavers Paige Horn and Kyeta Purchase.

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Multiple former winner of the Bay Union King of The Bay Michelle Burn has secured the services of rising junior star Saskia Hockley for race that will decide the South African S2 and KZN S2 titles on Sunday.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Umhlanga Rocks SLC teenage lifesaver Saskia Hockley will team up with seasoned surfski pro Michelle Burn for the Bay Union King of the Bay double ski race on Sunday.

Antje Hockley/
Gameplan Media

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