Bay Union King of the Bay Media Release

 No: kotb2006

02 Oct 2020

   Embargo: None

Written by: Dave Macleod


King of the Bay to decide first post-Covid national title this weekend


Durban – The  paddling spotlight will focus on the iconic Bay Union King of the Bay surfski classic on Sunday at the start of a heady nine days during which time four national paddling championships will be decided.

With the calendar shaken up by the coronavirus lockdown, the Bay Union King of the Bay SA S2 race will be the first national showdown of the year and many of the country’s best ocean racing paddlers will fight it out for the honours across Durban harbour and across Durban Bay.

With KwaZulu-Natal, and Durban in particular, boasting some of the world’s best surfski paddlers it is sure to be an exciting affair, with the men's and women's title races set to produce tense racing across the 21km across the harbour and the out-and-back loop to the Mngeni River moth before fishing at the new DUC base on Vetch's Beach .

The race, which will also decide the KZN S2 ski titles, has become an icon on the Durban surfski calendar because of the mix of disciplines involved, from the flat-water start at the Bayhead to a downwind stretch, and the inevitable haul into the wind, it tests all the skills of the paddlers.

Leading the charge in the men’s race will be the duo of multiple marathon world champion Hank McGregor and and his MacSquad protégée Hamish Lovemore.

The pair will team up for the national surfski title before heading to St Francis next weekend for the South African Marathon Championships, which is part of the P.W. Harvey & Carey Olsen St Francis Paddle Fest 2020.

Seasoned paddling star Brandon van der Walt has teamed up with Under 23 ace David Evans for the King of the Bay this year. With a number of high profile wins under his belt over the years and coming off a strong lockdown, the pair will be a formidable threat to McGregor and Lovemore, particularly if the ocean conditions are mild.

There is undoubtedly going to be a strong mix of local Durban paddlers on the start line this weekend, with a number of athletes travelling in from outside of the province introducing an element of the unknown. Following many months of no competitive paddling having the opportunity to compete for a national title will be a significant drawcard.

The women's field has an unusual look to it, as it will be missing a few of Durban’s finest with Hayley Nixon in the final stages of pregnancy and Jenna Ward opting to miss King of the Bay in order to focus on the marathon championships next week.

Despite this the pair that is going to be front and centre is another mixture of youth and experience with Michelle Burn teaming up with young Saskia Hockly.

The Umhlanga pair has been training hard together and the race will give the young Hockly the perfect opportunity to learn from one of the country’s best surfski paddlers.

For many other recreational surfski paddlers, the accessible Bay Union King of the Bay, with its 11km short course option, the race on Sunday will be a celebration of the emergence from the Covid-19 lockdown for surfski events.

More information can be found at www.kotb.co.za
ENDS

Photo Caption Photographer
Credit
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Bay Union King of the Bay Logo.

 

The uniqueness of a paddle through the Durban Harbour has always been the appeal at the Bay Union King of the Bay which also hosts the South African S2 and KZN S2 titles on Sunday.

Lynne Hauptfleisch/
Gameplan Media

Taking on the flat stretch of water through the Durban Harbour is one of the unique appeals of the Bay Union King of the Bay which also hosts the South African S2 and KZN S2 titles on Sunday.

Lynne Hauptfleisch/
Gameplan Media

It's going to be another exciting edition of the Bay Union King of the Bay as Hank McGregor (front) and Hamish Lovemore (back) pair up for a shot at the South African S2 and KZN S2 titles on Sunday.

Graham Daniel/
Gameplan Media

The young and the experienced. Seasoned campaigner Michelle Burn (right) has joined forces with the young and talented Saskia Hockly (left) for a shot at the Bay Union King of the Bay which also hosts the South African S2 and KZN S2 titles on Sunday.

Antje Hockly/
Gameplan Media

After some strong training, the women's pair of Michelle Burn and Saskia Hockly will be the duo to beat at the Bay Union King of the Bay which also hosts the South African S2 and KZN S2 titles on Sunday.

Antje Hockly/
Gameplan Media

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