Well after 4 years of fantastic downwind conditions the 2011 Dunlop Surfski World Cup held in Durban South Africa will be remembered for the long hard flat paddle and terrifing shorebreak at the finish.

Last year all the paddlers seemed to make there own way to Durban, however this year an early message from Tom Schilperoort to the whole Orka Training Squad put paid to that.

"Hey Guys,
Any of you wanting to come to Durban I have accomodation for you.
My uncle has a penthouse that sleeps 10 people in Ballito. I'm driving up so if you like you can drive with me or otherwise I'll pick u up from the airport if you fly. House is close to the new airport. You have to fly home though because I'm going straight on to Mauritius from Durban. If you keen to come on to Mauritius thats also fine. I have family there to. So I could probably sort you out there to!
I'll fly back to Durbs, then drive home to Cape Town from there!
Lemme know soon if you want to indulge in this unbelievable offer!

And so within no time the "Orka Training Squad Durban Surfski World Cup Tour 2011" was on and the hard training on the swamp began.

In the week leading up to the race Wind Guru must of changed its mind at least a 100 times with the predictions going from terifing downwind in massive conditions to dead flat with no swell conditions, however as race day got closser the one thing that was starting to emerge was that the swell was going to be big and with the finish at the relitivly unprotected beach of La Merecy, things could get interesting there. With most of my squad having a survived Camps Bay at the SA Surf Life Saving Nationals I was pretty confident of the all being fine.

Well the 12 boats were loaded onto the Trailor on the Monday after training and the drivers (Tom, Ashley & Craig) headed off on there 1800km journey to Durban, with stops in St Francis and East london along the way  arriving on the Thursday just in time to fetch the first of the 9 paddlers who had elected to fly. The Thursday Mob (Kim, Kirsten, Anna, Dom & Alex) arrived in Durban to howling Westerly winds and out of control winds and an SMS from race  organiser Billy Harker stating something like Surf massive, Mound breaking top to bottom 15 foot, leash, cell phone and PDF compulsory.

By the Friday and the arrival of the last 4 paddlers (Sean, Kenny, Lyle and Myself) the wind had died but the surf was still cranking and with it being a paddling rest day time was spent at Tom's magnificent spot, overlooking Balito Beach just chilling.
It was then off to La Mercy (Race Finish) to plot our way in through the surf. Once there it really did not look as bad as what everyone was saying and so I think put everyone at ease re the finish. This was followed by supper in Umchlanga Rocks and off to bed.

Saturday dawned sunny but still very chilly and it was off to Marine SLSC (Race Start) to set up boats and do the last hard training session of a few hard 1min just to remind the body that it was not in Durban for a holiday. With the swell still very much on the large side and the SW wind blowing nicely I decided to take them out from Marine and around the protection of the harbour wall and on to the legendary surf spot of Cave Rock, so as to experience what lay in wait on race day once you left the protection of the Bay. The whole  team was fantastic and handled the conditions like pro's. So all that was now required was to get back to Balito, chill and enjoy a great supper (Braai & Beer) before retiring to bed.

With the race start at 9am it was an early start from Balito, a quick re look at the finish on the way and off to Marine.

Well the wind never arrived so it was long and flat, with the shore break at the end keeping it honest. As for the Orka Training squad all had great races with only one ski being slightly damaged at the finish.


4. SEAN RICE 01:47:26.13

5. TOM SCHILPEROORT 01:49:01.25

19. DOMINIC NOTTEN 01:59:19.73  - 1ST JNR

27. ASHLEY CARSTENS 02:03:35.16

29. CRAIG FLANAGAN 02:03:58.34  - 2ND JNR

36. PETER COLE 02:06:54.39

38. KENNETH RICE 02:07:33.06 - 1ST U16

81. LYLE MAASDORP 02:19:35.60

100. KIM BRUGMANN 02:25:09.85  - 6TH FEMALE

126. KIRSTEN FLANAGAN 02:32:57.87  - 1ST JNR LADY

 136. ANNA NOTTEN 02:35:39.72

164. ALEX TOPLISS 02:49:41.45

Only Dom Notton took up Tom,s offer to carry on to the Mauritius World Cup, so good luck to them tomorrow, may it all go as well as the Durban World Cup!!

Photo's by John Hishin of Cape Town Sports Photography