• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Sensational Surfski racing is on the cards at Pete Marlin

With just under thirty days to go until the Pete Marlin Surfski Race, excitement is starting to build as East London locals get ready to take on the best. The Pete Marlin Race is a 22km World Series Race, that attracts surfski paddlers from across the country including Spain, Namibia and Australia.

Hosted along one of the most pristine coastlines in the world, it usually runs between Yellow Sands/Glen Eden and the Orient Beach. Pete Marlin race organiser, Charl Van Wyk and his team create an environment of great camaraderie ensuring a unique event and an experience that every paddler will love. In the men’s division, we have the current Fish River Canoe Marathon winner, Stu Mclarean from the Cape who will be hungry to be on the podium.

Nicholas Notten, silver medallist in the U/23 World Marathon Championships and decorated lifesaver with great surfski skills, will be another serious medal contender.

We also have some local talent that won’t be easy to beat in Joshua Fenn, the current U/23 World Surfski Champion who is in top form and an athlete to keep an eye on. Matthew Fenn is the current U/18 World Surfski bronze medalist and a serious talent who will be in the mix with the leading men and a definite podium contender in the U/18 category.

Current World Marathon Champion and nine times Dusi Champion, Andy Birkett will not go down without a fight especially if conditions favour him, as speed and fitness is definitely on his side. Bevan Manson is also coming off a good base, having recently won the World Masters Surfski Championships in France.

We also have a couple of East London legends that will definitely surprise some of the racing snakes and be in the mix, namely U/18 sprinting star Jordy Malherbe, Hennie Roos, Andrew Carter, Duncan Boyd and Brendon Thompson.

The ladies’ division has no shortage of accolades, skills or talent. The favourite to watch this year is Michelle Burn. She is one of South Africa’s most skilled downwind paddlers, having made the podium in almost every major international surfski race as well scooping up two silvers at past World Surfski Championships.

The current Fish River Canoe Marathon gold medallist and evergreen duo of Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase will be in the front bunch. Further international stars racing are Chloe Bunnet from Spain and Wendy Reinjies from Australia who will push the top girls all the way.

Durban’s downwind specialist Sharon Armstrong will come into play if there is a strong wind that blows on race day. On the local front we have Nikki Birkett, who has also won a few SA titles and made the podium at a couple of international surfski events in the past, she will be a fierce contender.

East London does not lack talent, paddling stars Zara Wood, Jade Wilson and Cailtin Elliot will put on an awesome show in the U/18 division and perhaps challenge some of the senior women.

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