East London - The country’s top surfski paddlers will converge on East London this weekend at the same time as a frontal system that promises to deliver classic conditions for the KIA SA Surfski Championship races on the weekend.

With the race forming part of the Eastern and Western Cape summer Discovery Sunglass Hut surfski series, the race organisers have been overwhelmed by a massive entry for the single ski championship race on Saturday, and the double ski national title decider on Sunday. A total of R60 000 in prize money is on offer, with the single ski winner taking home R10 000.

Border Canoe Club boss Charl van Wyk was enthusiastically eyeing the weather forecasts, with Saturday in particular set to offer big three metre swell and steady 15 knot South Westerly winds over the 25km downwind course.

“We have about three options in mind, depending on the actual weather on the day,” said Van Wyk. “Some of the point breaks will be big, and we will also have to check how big the shore break is at some of the potential finish sites.”

“It looks like we will be able to start from Orient beach, with a dry start, and then offer the racers really good downwind conditions for the single ski race on Saturday,” he added.

“The double ski race on Sunday will be milder, and it looks like the wind may well drop altogether around midday, so we might look at an out-and-back course for the double ski race on Sunday,” he added.

The news of big downwind conditions may not please Durban racer Grant van der Walt. The young Varsity College teenager snatched the national senior single ski title in flat racing conditions in Plettenberg Bay last year. The former Under 23 World marathon champ thrives in gentler sea conditions as he lacks experience in big downwind racing.

While Grant van der Walt and his talented younger brother Brandon will both be on the startline in East London, they will line up at Orient beach alongside some of the best downwind racers in the world for what promises to be a ferocious tussle for the title.

Fish Hoek superstar Dawid Mockè is the current ISPA World Champion, and is in great shape as he prepares his assault on the Hong Kong Dragon Run and Dubai Shamaal titles in a few weeks time.

Joining Mockè in East London will be fellow elite Cape racers Sean Rice, Tom Schilperoort and Mockè’s younger brother Jasper Mockè.

Durban will field a large and talented contingent spearheaded by Hank McGregor, Barry Lewin and Darryl Bartho, with the distinct possibility that the tenacious competitor Matt Bouman will slip in a late entry and be on the startline at Orient beach on Saturday.

The Eastern Cape challenge will be fronted by the runaway leader of the PE Discovery Sunglass Hut Surfski Series Richard von Wildemann.

The women’s racing looks set to see a showdown between the Plettenberg Bay Olympian Michéle Eray, and the Capetonian Nikki Mockè who has returned to her best form in 2010.

While they are sure to provide a thrilling dice in the single ski title decider on Saturday afternoon, they have opted to pool their substantial resources for the double ski race on Sunday afternoon, and will start as out-and-out favourites to romp home to the women’s S2 gold medals.

The men’s double ski racing is always shrouded in a degree of mystery, as combinations have been known to chop and change in the days leading up to the race.

However, amongst the top contenders are the crews of brothers Jasper and Dawid Mockè,  Sean Rice and Tom Schilperoort, and the recent Hansa Powerade Fish marathon champs Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt.

Billy and Tracey Harker will be out to dominate the mixed doubles racing, as they have done throughout the Western Cape series to date.

The KIA SA Single Ski champs get under way some time after 12pm on Saturday afternoon, on a course that will be decided on the day to best suit the prevailing weather conditions. Sunday plays host to the KIA SA double ski champions.