South African paddlers have responded enthusiastically to the launch of a brand new surfski challenge around Robben Island aimed at commemorating Freedom Day and highlighting the serious environmental challenges facing the oceans.
The Bamboo Warehouse Freedom Paddle presented by SASurfski.com will take place on 27 April, Freedom Day, and will be staged as a 28km race around Robben Island starting and finishing at Oceana Power Boat Club adjacent to the Cape Town Waterfront.
After putting feelers out to various local paddling communities, the response has been strongly supportive and entries have been received from paddlers from every corner of the country.
“Robben Island is an iconic symbol of our new South Africa. It just made sense to create an event that has the power to connect South Africans with this incredible place,” said event director Robin Tindall.
“As surfski paddlers we are incredibly lucky to be able to experience Robben Island from the sea. The wild side of the island is breathtakingly beautiful. The coast line is pristine, the sea life exceptional and the view of Table Mountain and the 12 Apostles is truly spectacular” said fellow event organiser Tim Fey.
Entries have been confirmed from many of the top surfski paddlers in the world, ensuring that the pace at the front will be fast and furious.
“Everyone will be wanting to claim the top spot to be able to say they won the very first Bamboo Warehouse Freedom Paddle,” said Tindall.
But he added that the main thrust of the event was to include athletes of all abilities, and from as many walks of life as possible.
“Most of the field will be there, not for the racing, but to be a part of something special, to take on the endurance of the challenge but also to reflect on what Robben Island means to us as South Africans,” he said.
Race safety officer and surfski coach Richard Kohler said “We would like everyone to come down to the Oceana Power Boat Club on 27 April to see what this sport of surfski is all about. ”
“If you have a surfski and feel up to the challenge then enter and join us. We have a shorter 15 km option for the less fit. Folks will also have the opportunity to try a surfski or a Stand Up Paddle Board while the main race is underway.
“We will have lifeguards on duty and extensive on water safety under the watchful eye of the NSRI,” Kohler added.
The Bamboo Warehouse Freedom Paddle is also about promoting a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and living in harmony with our planet.
“At Bamboo Warehouse, our core mission is to provide a sustainable alternative to using rare hardwoods for furniture and floors. Partnering with The Freedom Paddle gives us a fantastic way to spread our message of sustainability” said Graeme Solomon, founder of Bamboo Warehouse and top canoeist and surfski paddler.
“Having spent countless hours in our rivers and oceans training and racing, I have seen first-hand the trash we are choking our planet with. It is vital we switch from single use plastics and using unsustainable resources. Let’s create a planet our kids can enjoy” said Solomon.
The Freedom Paddle is scheduled for 9am on Friday 27 April 2018. More information can be found at http://sasurfski.com/freedompaddle/