The finish Line

More teams expected to finish Expedition Africa today

Those looking to support the participants in Expedition Africa on the Wildside, at the lighthouse and Cape St Francis beach are in for a treat this morning for at least six teams should reach the finish line during the course of the day. There is presently a heavy fog over the coastline that may slow the progress of the teams on the last leg of the race but this should lift offering a sunny but cooler day.

Four teams are home and dry with Skylotec Adventure (Sweden) crossing the finish line first and completing the 514km Expedition in 82 hours and 11 minutes with Thunderbolt AR (Australia) 2 hours 27minutes further back in second and the first South Africa team, Nevarest Jabberwock, coming in third 45 minutes with Nantes Adventures (France) in fourth place.

The one hour penalty imposed on both Skylotech and Thunderbolt on the second to last leg of this arduous race saw Nevarest Jabberwok make up good ground on the leaders but not enough to take line honours. Well done Nevarest Jabberwok for you can proudly hold the South African flag aloft on the podium.

Possibly the achievement of all the teams whether they finished or finish in four, five or even seven days, should be put into perspective with something many of us are more familiar with, the Comrades marathon. 500 kilometres equates to about six Comrades and although the teams will have travelled on foot, bike and kayak, none of it was on a nice level paved road with the direction clearly marked. Rather their travels took them through thick bush, uneven terrain including mountains, valleys, streams and rivers. To further challenge their progress they have had to navigate their way to each of the many checkpoints where the slightest error would result in losing time and slowing their progress. Added to this is that every team could only be as fast as it slowest team member in any particular section.   Certainly the cycle legs make up a lot of distance travelled and speed up their progress but the three kayak legs of some 65kilometres (almost a Comrades in itself) had teams paddling against incoming tides and headwinds, making their progress all the more remarkable!

But spare a thought for those teams who still have to endure another night or two out in the open battling the elements and the terrain. These are the true heroes of the race for as with any event be it the Comrades Two Oceans or the school cross country, the glory may go to the front runners but the guts goes to the competitors who make up the backbone of any event.

Don’t forget to get to Cape St Francis Resort on Saturday evening for the “Welcome Back Party” where  both live music and a DJ will be there to help celebrate the end to this epic event that has captured the attention od so many throughout the Kouga region.

South African Surfing Team for World Games

South African Surfing Team ready to show their class at the 2017 ISA World Games in Biarritz, France

The South African Surfing team of four men and two woman leaves for Europe today to take on some of the World’s best surfers from over 40 countries at the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games which gets under way at Biarritz in France this Saturday May 20th.

The team is captained by the stylish and powerful World Tour surfer Bianca Buitendag,who hails from Victoria Bay near George and who bases herself in France while competing internationally. Buitendag is at the top of her game at present after a quarter final in the beach break conditions of Rio Brazil last week and will be hoping to add a gold medal to the silver she won at the ISA World Junior Championships in Peru in 2011.

Sea Point based Tanika Hoffman,an experienced international campaigner and accomplished member of the South African Team set up, is the other woman in the team. Hoffman has been representing South Africa at ISA events since 2007 and in 2013 was a member of the South African Team that won gold at the ISA World Games in Panama. Last year she won the Cape Town Pro at Big Bay Bloubergstrand to secure her first ever World Surf League victory.

Top seed in the Men’s group is Jeffrey’s Bay surfer and team vice captain Dylan Lightfoot.Lightfoot is a tough competitor who is hard to beat in any conditions. He is also campaigning hard on the World Qualifying Series and just a month ago boosted his profile when he finished as runner up in the Nelson Mandela Pro in port Elizabeth.

Also in the side is Salt Rock star Shane Sykes whose natural talent saw him included in the 2016 SA Team that competed in the ISA World Games in Costa Rica, Sykes has posted some solid results in his junior career and is due to make his mark at senior level. With a little bit of luck added to his huge talent,France could be where it happens.

When Durban surfer Davey Van Zyl was last included in a South African Team,at the 2013 World Games, he came home with a team gold medal. Since then he has broken his leg,recovered and become the 2015 South African Champion. His solid powerbase and flow earns him big scores in competitions and he is ready for another visit to the podium.

The fourth member of the 2017 South African Men’s team is new cap Brandon Benjamin who hails from Steenberg in the Western Cape. Benjamin was the runner up to five time SA Champion and current World Masters Champion Greg Emslie at the South African Championships at Long Beach Kommetjie last year. The 21 year old has a strong repertoire of innovative moves and is schooled in beach break conditions so Biarritz should suit him.

East London legend, Greg Emslie, a former World Tour campaigner is the coach of the South African team. Emslie placed second to current World Champion in the Quiksilver Pro in France in 2007 and knows the French conditions like the back of his hand. His experience and skill will add immense value to the members of the South African team.

The experienced Isaac February is the Team Manager and his connections in Biarritz and positive outlook will be of enormous benefit to the team. Isaac is the father of Kommetjie based Mikey February who is currently lying 17th of the World Qualifying series after some impressive results in the recent City Surf Series events in Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban. Mikey was not available for SA Team selection as he is competing in a World Surf League QS6000 event in Japan next week.

The South African team is supported by Mercedes Benz South Africa, Buffalo City Municipality, the National Lotteries Commission and Sport and Recreation South Africa.

Travel arrangements were made by All Aboard Travel.