Stage set for 2015 SA Surf Lifesaving Champs in Durban

The country’s top surf lifesavers converge on the Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club this weekend for the 2015 South African Surf Lifesaving Championships, with the Masters paving the way for the juniors and seniors with the SA Masters Championship title deciders on Thursday.

Michelle Burn of Umhlanga Rocks.

Michelle Burn of Umhlanga Rocks.

With the mercury expected to hit the mid-twenties and a light breeze predicted to blow for much of the day, conditions look set to be ideal as another strong display by the country’s age group competitors is expected once more.

Friday signals the start of the championships proper though and local hosts Suncoast Pirates will be hard pressed to claim the spoils on home turf as they square off against the likes of defending champions Fish Hoek, 2014 runner’s-up Marine and perennial performers Durban Surf.

“Suncoast Pirates is an incredible place to have the champs this year; the warm water and the fact that we have a few more waves here in Durban that they do down in Cape Town, for example, means that competitors’ skill level is tested that much more,” says international Ironman competitor and Marine SLC athlete Wade Krieger.

“I’m sure Pirates will provide a really great environment in which this year’s nationals can take place and the athletes can put out the best performances,” he adds.

Krieger has put in a lot of hard work ahead of this year’s championships and hopes he can put in another good performance this weekend.

“I’ll look to take part in as many events as I can within reason,” says Krieger. “I’m a firm believer in focusing your efforts on fewer disciplines though and trying to do those really well so hopefully I can put in a good showing in the ski, board and swim events in particular.”

Having been a regular presence at the front of the field of many of Durban’s weekly surfski races in recent months, Krieger is all too aware of the need to adapt to the explosive requirements of the sport of surf lifesaving.

“In the ski especially, speed and power are key!

“From what I learnt while competing in Australia, its often the guy who can get through the surf first that ends up taking the win.”

While focusing much of his mental preparations on his own performances, Krieger spared a few words for some of his fellow elite contenders.

“Luke Nisbet from Pirates has been out injured for a while but he has a remarkable ability to get back to full fitness really quickly and his great skill and wealth of experience I’m sure will see him right up there again this year.

“Marine’s Paul van Achterburgh is a great pool swimmer and he’s young and keen so if he turns up on the day then he’ll be really competitive and then you also have Chad Ho whose Midmar Mile and open water swimming feats are legendary and will undoubtedly be in the mix as well.”

SA MASTERS SURF LIFESAVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
PROGRAMME OF EVENTS – THURSDAY 23 APRIL

Surf Arena 1 (30-34, 35-39, 40-44 Men & Women):
Board Race
Single Ski Race
Surf Swim Race
Mixed Double Ski
Iron Man/Woman
Board Rescue
Double Ski

Surf Arena 2 (45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+ Men & Women):
Single Ski Race
Surf Swim Race
Board Race
Mixed Double Ski
Iron Man/Woman
Board Rescue
Double Ski

Beach Arena:
Beach Flags
Beach Sprint
Beach Relay
2km Beach Run (30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54)
1km Beach Run (55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+)

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