Sun and fun at Whale of a Race by

WITSAND NEWS – The 4th annual Whale of a Race was hosted by PiliPili Adventure Center and Restaurant and for the first time ever there was an R10 000 cash prize for both the men’s and women’s open category.

“The highest paid Stand Up Paddle Race on the African continent should surely be the toughest too?

Well, on 24 September that was pretty much how things went down at the Breede River Mouth,” explains Theo Erasmus (Station Commander: NSRI station 33).

The 8km race took the athletes down-river towards the ocean, across the mouth of the mighty Breede and back again. As if that’s not enough, Witsand lived up thoroughly to it’s reputation by adding a 20-knot Westerly wind to the mix. That was fun for the first leg with the wind at their backs but needless to say, the finish line would not be reached easily laying directly upwind.

The event, which every year is in part an NSRI fundraiser, had the Sea Rescue team very busy this year.

What in previous years was more of a visual presence for them turned into a rather active operational exercise. The crossing of the river mouth was a particularly grueling ordeal with waves approaching from the East and a big Westerly blowing in the opposite direction. Standing up on the narrow race boards was a bit like balancing on a toothpick and tested the athletes to the max.

From all over the country 34 contestants entered and should all be commended for guts and determination.

First across the line was Dylan Frick with a time of 42:39. This was the third time in four years that Dylan took first prize, a testament to the talent of the 21-year-old. Second across the line was Thomas King (48:07) and third was Kimon Dos Santos (48:43). The first lady across the line was Tarryn King with an amazing 53:19. Second and third respectively went to the KwaZulu-Natal team of Jackie de Billot (57:07) and Lande Williamson (58:29).

First Legend (over 45) was Rory Smyth (49:26) and first Diva (over 45) was Monika Wohlgemuth (1:12:43). For the Juniors they had Henco Scholtz (53:07) and Groms (u.12) Levi Mayes who came in at 1:16:00.

There was an amazing spitbraai with live music to end of the day. Master braaier and NSRI member Attie Gunter treated the guests and locals alike to his speciality lamb, which has also become quite a tradition at the Whale of a Race. “A big thank you to all who took part, the NSRI, the town of Witsand and all the sponsors: Vanhunks Boarding, Jakkalsvlei, Mystic, Rider Bargains, Breede River Lodge, Breedezicht lifestyle Estate, Solrxsa, Xpression On The Beach and South African Breweries.”