January 29, 2015
by Peter Petersen

Lighter Winds But Bigger Swells For Race #2 Of The PRIMI Naish Downwind Dash

SUP downwind race

After last week’s blistering start to the 2015 PRIMI Naish Downwind Series, this week’s race #2 served up a more modest 15-20 knots but also some solid swells at the finish.

Just over 50 paddlers (31 SUPs and 21 surf skis) took to the course here in Cape Town last night. Among the group was Dylan Frick and Mishka Steyn, two stalwarts of the Downwind Dash series who made a welcome return this week. These two will also both be representing South Africa at ISA Worlds in May.

Waves were manageable at the start although one or two paddlers went down and lost a little time. With a SW swell direction the waves were substantially bigger at the finish in Big Bay, where some bomb sets rolled through to greet Ethan Koopmans.

Once again Ethan blitzed the field to take a convincing win. The young gun was nearly two minutes ahead of runner-up Tom King, and it seems this pair has taken ownership of the top two steps on the podium. Ethan also reeled in the entire group from the first wave of starters (the “recreational” start group – who had a 10 minute start on the “elite” start group) to take overall line honours as well as the main victory.

Ethan Koopmans Stand Up Paddling

Dylan Frick was looking strong as always off the start with him and Ethan pulling away aggressively. Further down the course however, Dylan faded as his training has only just resumed and he is yet to find full form again.

Mishka Steyn has been nurturing some injuries and was also somewhat off her normal pace, only managing to take 3rd in the Ladies. Tarryn Kyte once again dominated, beating Dutch visitor Emma Reimeijnrink into 2nd. Emma came off the water with a leaking handle and a board that felt about 20kgs – hope we can get it dried out for next week!

Further down the order, the Maxwell father & son Battle was reversed, with son Matthew beating dad Dave by the narrowest margin to take 3rd in the Juniors. Dad explained that he had nursed Matthew around the rocks and through the surf in Big Bay but we just look at the results!

Joshua Robertson did not have the best outing by his own standards but still did enough to take the Juniors well ahead of Wade Keet.

Stand Up Paddling in South Africa

The Small Bay entrance to the finish in Big Bay was looking menacing tonight with some steam-rollers coming through. Many chose the safer route around the rocks into Big Bay – it’s always a bit of a gamble as any dithering will catch you out and send you swimming (and occasionally break a board) – but it’s a part of the race which allows fortunes to be reversed at the very last minute. This means you keep going right till the end even though you may seem dead and buried – you never know if the guy ahead will shipwreck and open the door for a sneaky one!

The PRIMI Naish Downwind Dash Series continues next week. Also the Red Bull King of the Air (Kiteboarding event) opens up its 2-week window on Saturday. Robby Naish is reported to be visiting once again and we hope to be seeing him on the waves in and around Cape Town in the coming week!

all photos by Jane Bouwer Amory

Ethan Koopmans SUP Cape Town