Surfski

All you need to know for Surfski @ DUC

As part of the Point Watersports Club (PWC) the surfski members benefit from the fact that PWC is a registered Canoe South Africa (CSA) club and members can take part in CSA sanctioned events wearing the club colours.

Members need to become separately registered with CSA and for those only intending to do social or close to shore racing, an annual membership of CSA as a Social member only costs R100.00 per year. A visit to the CSA website will give greater detail on the considerable benefits of becoming a paid up member of CSA.

More extreme CSA sanctioned surfski races require a full membership with CSA….details on their website.

At the new club facility, custom built racking facilities for surfskis and a wash off area are nearing completion. Details of how to apply for one of these racks and the annual fees applicable are available from the club manager.

For newcomers to the sport, an active but independent Paddling Academy operates in the area and can be contacted: jacqui@paddlingacademy.co.za

Ocean Safety

The appointed Surfski Safety Officer is Neville Hart and the appointed Surfski Proficiency tester for the club is Wally Bodin. Additional individuals have made themselves available to assist but the requirement for signed off Proficiency for surf ski paddling, should direct their enquiries to Wally Bodin: wally@elitefp.co.za

Surfski paddling in the ocean is a hazardous sport and sea conditions can be very unpredictable and changeable. As an affiliated KNCU club we are obliged to ensure we operate within the CSA regulations and adhere to all SAMSA (Marine Safely Association) regulations as well.

All surfskis operating from the DUC club site must be marked with a CSA number and the person paddling the craft must be CSA registered.

Individual paddlers must be in actively managed training or have completed and passed the required Surfski Proficiency test.
It is a requirement of club membership that both the craft and the owner / paddler must be identifiable by the markings on the craft used. There are clear safely compliance reasons for this requirement.

Because of our proximity to the harbour, we are under constant surveillance of the harbour authorities and need to be respectfully aware of this at all times in our paddling activities.

DUC SURFSKI SECTION SAFETY CODE

Our club’s ocean water sports are granted ‘licence to operate’ subject to various controlling authorities, one of which is the Harbour of Durban Port Captain. While we have been granted the concession to self govern ourselves, we need to be highly respectful of the fact that we need to come to the party and show mature leadership with regards to safety on the water. With that in mind, the following pointers regarding safety should be observed by all surfski paddlers using DUC as their base of operations. With the sport of surfski paddling, there are differing levels of risk exposure and these can be broadly grouped as follows:

INSHORE PADDLING

This is often the full extent of surfski paddling for those learning or not wishing to take the sport to more extreme levels of participation. Most of this activity will take place close to shore and close to DUC. Close being defined as no further out to sea than the end of the North Harbour Wall.

In these instances, ability to swim, remount, wearing of approved PDF and clearly identifiable craft markings allows most learners to enjoy the sport as they make their way to obtaining their certificate of Surf Ski Proficiency.

OFFSHORE PADDLING

This includes paddling further out to sea and can be part of the regular group paddles which often head out to ‘the can’ area or ‘around the corner’ to the second fence on the South side of the harbour mouth.

This is where the extreme component of paddling comes in and requires a whole additional set of safety responsibilities.

DOWNWIND PADDLING

Invariably this takes the extreme level of surfski paddling to a much higher level and consequently obligates all participants to rigidly adhere to a more comprehensive set of safety responsibilities.

RACE PARTICIPATION

During organised race events, the obligatory safety regulations are enforced by the organisers, so these events tend to take care of themselves regarding appropriate safety during the event.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Further details are added below to guide you to what is the correct level of water safety equipment / precautions you should comply with, suiting the level of surfski paddling you intend to participate in.

However, no surfski activity should take place from the DUC club facilities without the following MINIMUM COMPLIANCE aspects:
1. Approved lifejacket
2. Clearly identifiable ski markings
3. Additional Safety Requirements for Offshore and Downwind Paddling:

In addition to the above MINIMUM COMPLIANCE requirements, it is recommended that the following is adhered to:

  1. Group / Buddy paddling arrangements with fellow paddlers
  2. Prior notification to shore based connections / next of kin
  3. Water proof pouch with cell phone, full battery, preloaded with the free NSRI app called SafeTrax
  4. Bright lumo colour markings on clothing / ski / paddles

Apart from all these recommendations, it is strongly urged for paddlers to paddle within their abilities and frequently practice remounting their skis in testing sea conditions as well as frequently checking the operational efficiency of their surfski……cables, rudders, carry a wooden clothes peg to help jam a rudder in position if a cable breaks, etc..