South Africa’s Downwind Dash Gets Feisty: Wind, Waves And A Broken Board
Boss Man’s note: This race actually happened eight days ago, however after my week in exile on Bora Bora, where we enjoyed absolute paradise but also carrier-pigeon style internet, I’m a bit behind on the news… Apologies for getting this up late as it sounds like a cracker of a race!
Race #4 in the October to December 2014 edition of Cape Town’s long-running PRIMI Naish Downwind Dash series was one for the books.
It had been blowing 30 knots all day with a solid 2.5m swell, which provided quite a spectacle for this week’s downwinder. The start of these races is all about timing the sets and the first group of starters did just that – if you are a fan of carnage that is…
Only two paddlers, Bas Koopmans (yes he is the brother of Ethan) and Rory Smythe, cleared the first set of waves. Everyone else got completely cleaned up. Check out the photo sequence, especially Tarryn Kyte who faced up to her worst fears. She made it out, but there was more to come for her…
About five paddlers broke leashes and had to return to the beach to get new ones while another two paddlers threw in the towel completely after taking a proper beating.
The second group of starters, which included the more experienced/faster paddlers, went off 10 minutes later but also faced some solid set waves, which threw most guys off their boards at least once.
Ethan Koopmans and Tom King, however, showed their class by clearing the sets and the field to get a big head start. Tom King was sporting the new, narrower Coreban Dart and for the first 8km he was in touch with Ethan. But it was Ethan’s 18th birthday and he decided to give himself a present by pulling away on his Naish LE to make it 4 wins out of 4 and to clinch the Overall PRIMI Naish title with one race still to go.
Ivan van Vuuren took a very wide line, which often seems to work for him, but this week stalwart Greg Bertish snuck on his inside to take 3rd while Joshua Robertson nearly managed to close down Ivan in the final meters up the beach.
The entrance to the finishing area at ‘Small Bay’ had been kind to the first five paddlers, however the next five and many more down the order got totally worked by the surf coming in.
There were boards everywhere and in the middle of it all was a two-piece Coreban Dart belonging to Tarryn Kyte. Tarryn had been in a clear lead in the women’s race when she got annihilated by a bomb set, which broke her board clean in half. Drifting around between the rocks and the kelp, a very galant Grant Donald offered Tarryn a lift on the front of his F-16 to the beach. Tarryn crossed the line with the one end of her board and was awarded a finishing time just ahead of Kim Duvenage and Tammy Robarts, who had done a leash exchange at the start!
So, that’s how they roll in Cape Town – classic downwinders where a bit of swell can make or break your race! Enjoy the pics by Wayne Robertson…