Development surfski stars back on the water

AFTER months away from the water during the Covid-19 lockdown the unique collaboration between the Bay Union Siyaphambili Surf Ski club and the Geriatskis based at the Durban Undersea Club resumed with the experienced surfski paddlers taking more than half a dozen youngsters for a 12 kilometres paddling session in double surfskis.

Aimed at passing on tips and experience to the enthusiastic youngsters from the Siyaphambili club, the out-and-back trip to the shipping buoy from Vetch’s beach rekindled the passion for paddling that has become a hallmark of this development project run by DUC.

“These youngsters are the core of the club and serve as its steering committee as their numbers keep on growing,” said Jacqui Boyd. “The club is now registered with the KZN Canoe Union and has full reciprocity with DUC,” she added.

She pointed out that while the monthly double ski paddle sessions with the Geriatskis is a highlight for the young paddlers, it forms part of a much broader programme.

“We have a life skills development programme covering a range of areas from education assistance to a mentoring programme and assistance with employment opportunities through the paddling community,” said Boyd.

“The first project is extra maths which will be taught on Saturdays after their paddle by Wiseman Mkhize who holds an honours degree in applied mathematics and is a volunteer life saver.”

Alongside the monthly paddle in doubles skis with the experienced Geriatskis, the morning also saw a training session specifically geared towards women wanting to learn how to paddle surfski.

“We have had more women trying out the sport and enrolling in the beginner programme post-Covid than any previous year,” said Boyd.