The Durban Downwind will see some of the world’s best paddlers at the start as it hosts the South African Singles Surfski Championships in Durban on June 24 and 25.
Defending Downwind champion Hank McGregor will be one of those on the start, alongside the Mocké brothers Jasper and Dawid, Ian Black, Kenny Rice, Mark Keeling, Stu Maclaren and Pete Cole, all of who will be vying for the national title.
“There is a big group of elite paddlers heading up to Durban from the Cape,” said Jasper Mocké.
“We are lucky that the course hasn’t changed for the Durban Downwind.
“This means we have been able to get quite familiar with it, although there will always be a few nuances that the local guys will know.”
Mocké, despite having taken time off recently, is motivated to claim the prestigious national title.
“Although I might not be in the best shape possible I still think that I am fit and strong enough to win.
“There is so much hanging on the race and with about five or six guys that could potentially win the race has taken on a whole new intensity,” he added.
McGregor said the tough competition would make winning the title a challenging task.
Familiar with the conditions at La Mercy each, where the event takes place, McGregor said he hoped for favourable conditions over the weakened.
“We always want the best possible conditions for such a big race with the best paddlers in the country on the start line but La Mercy can be very unforgiving,” he said.
“I go out there to win every race that I paddle and to win a national title is always special,” he said.
Depending on the weather, paddlers will tackle a 26km course either to or from the beach.