Union Open Ocean Surfski Challenge Media Release
Umnini development paddlers star at surfski series
Durban - As the popular Bay Union Open Ocean Surfski Challenge
reaches its halfway mark, the progress and attitude of the young
men and women from the series’ development programme has been a
major talking point of the series.
The Sunday morning 12km and 6km races feature some of the best
surfski racers in the world, but there is strong drive,
supported by the sponsors, to train and encourage the next
generation of the sport's stars.
In the build-up the the four race series there is frenzy of
activity in the development squad, which is made up of young
boys and girls from communities of Umgababa and Umnini, coached
by Mhlengi Mngadi.
The youngsters, who have been identified by Canoeing South
Africa's development co-ordinator Janet Simpkins, started
training for surfski paddling last year, visiting the Vetch's
Reef-based club once a week.
By the end of their maiden series, the passionate young paddlers
were regular visitors to the podium in the short course races,
and eager to extend their skills and endurance test to the more
competitive long course races.
In the first two races of the 2018 series Paulos Shozi has raced
into very impressive long course top ten positions, in races won
by world class paddlers Andy Birkett and Hank McGregor.
With Bay Union backing the successful programme, the
eleven-strong squad, ranging from 11 to 25 years of age, has set
it's sights on lofty goals of getting half of their paddlers
into the top ten in the tougher long course events.
Their progress this season has been all the more remarkable
because their regular training base on the river at Umgababa has
been hampered because of damage suffered to the Umgababa River
estuary by the last floods.
"Instead of being able to train four or five times a week, they
have been relying on their one day a week at PWC with Point
Watersports Club coach Mitchell Tees, which makes their results
really impressive," said PWC's Jacqui Boyd.
"Having witnessed the paddlers in action on the water over the
past two Sundays as part of the Bay Union Open Ocean Surfski
Challenge, both their enthusiasm and the way that they have
embraced the sport is amazing and heart-warming in equal
measures," said Dave Pearse CEO of Bay Union.
The Umgababa development squad was founded by Swelihle Ndlovu in
2007, when he was a member of the Amanzimtoti Canoe Club, with
the help of local Mike Chiazzari and the KZN Canoe Union. When
Ndlovu moved on to become the swimming coach at the Sharks Board
Mngadi took over as coach of the squad.
More information can be found at www.oosc.co.za
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Bay Union Open
Ocean Surfski Logo - JPeg
Members of the Umnini development team that has
been turning heads at the Bay Union Open Ocean
Surfski Challenge (from left) Kwanele Mngoma, Minenhle Ntombela, Senzo
Ngcobo, Kwanele Banda, Ayanda Dube, Thubelihle Banda, Mhlengi
Mngadi and Lungelo Shange.
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