Bay Union Surfski Series season underway

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Bay Union Surfski Series gets scintillating KZN winter ocean paddling season underway

Durban – KwaZulu-Natal’s paddlers are eagerly readying themselves for the start of another busy winter season of ocean paddling with the four-race 2014 Bay Union Surfski Series kick starting the world-renowned season on Sunday 4 May.

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Hank McGregor will look to get his Bay Union Surfski Series title defence off on the right foot on Sunday 4 May when he and hundreds of other surfski enthusiasts take part in the Bay Union Season Starter at Marine SLC, race one of the four race series.

After its successful inaugural edition last year, the popular series of Durban based clashes gets underway with the Bay Union Season Starter at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club (SLC) with the following three Sundays seeing the staging of the Lion of Africa Surfski Challenge, McCarthy Toyota King of the Bay and the Bay Union Reef Challenge presented by Point Watersports Club (PWC).

The addition of the King of the Bay event is just one of the many changes the series will enjoy in its second edition while the core of what proved to be so successful in 2013 remains.

“It is hard to find anywhere else in the world that comes close to paddling on Durban’s warm Indian Ocean in winter!” enthused series coordinator Barry Lewin. “This natural gem and the great support we received from the paddlers at last year’s series really has us excited about the upcoming 2014 Bay Union Surfski Series.”

“We are really pleased to welcome the King of the Bay race to our series this year. The event is an iconic one on KZN’s surfski calendar and with the race traditionally finishing at Marine (SLC) each year there is such a great fit between the race and the series already.

“We also have our other three fantastic events that were so well received last year back again this year plus we’re really looking forward to the return of the Bay Union Shootout, a knockout surfski sprint competition which takes place immediately after race four at PWC on Sunday 25 May,” he added.

The series’ debut edition in 2013 saw Epic kayak/Team Jeep’s Hank McGregor claim the overall spoils and the global paddling icon is eager to get his title defence off to a positive start at the 2014 series opener.

2013 women’s series shining star Michelle Burn’s participation in the series recently became doubtful after the Fenn Kayaks/Team Jeep announced she and husband and fellow top paddler, Oliver Burn, are expecting their first child in November.

The series’ success last year saw title sponsor Bay Union Financial Services have little hesitation in reaffirming their commitment to the showpiece for 2014 and the return of the action to Durban’s waters is something Director Nando Menin has been looking forward to for some time.

“Bay Union is excited to sponsor the Bay Union Surfski series for the second year running,” said Menin. “We were amazed by the response we received last year from our clients, suppliers and the media and it was easy for us to decide to get involved again this year!”

Race four’s Wardkiss Club Challenge – a race within the main event which sees the top performing club overall crowned victorious – is another notable feature of the series and guarantees the front end of the series finale will be contested with even greater determination as PWC’s surfski section look to defend the title they fittingly claimed last year.

Lion of Africa Insurance is one of a handful of newcomers to this year’s series and with comes a fresh injection of support and enthusiasm.

“Lion of Africa is very excited and honoured to be sponsoring such an event,” said Head of Marketing for Lion of Africa Insurance, Rethabile Mahuma. “As a brand, we recognise ourselves as key players in terms of sponsoring worthy causes and we are very big supporters of sports and a healthy lifestyle.”

“The Bay Union Surfski Series a dynamic project, its fresh and very innovative and we are proud to be the only Level 1 BBBEE short term insurer in the country that is sponsoring this event,” she added. Add event not cause

With the popular 6 and 12km course options available for paddlers to choose from in races one, two and four, doubles or singles categories as well as the pristine paddling conditions associated with Durban’s winter, the 2014 Bay Union Surfski Series looks set to provide a memorable four weeks of paddling fun.

“To the paddlers who supported us last year we welcome you back and look forward to seeing you at the four events in May together with all the new participants who we hope will take to the water in this fantastic sport,” enthused Menin.

More info can be found at

Race 1 Sunday,4 May 2014 Bay Union Season Starter Marine SLC
Race 2 Sunday,11 May 2014 Lion of Africa Surfski Challenge Marine SLC
Race 3 Sunday, 18 May 2014 McCarthy Toyota King of the Bay Stellar CC Marine SLC
Race 4 Sunday, 25 May 2014 Bay Union Reef Challenge, presented by Point Watersports Club (incorporating the Wardkiss Club Challenge) AND Bay Union Surfski Shootout Point Watersports Club
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