Yesterday saw the conclusion of another exciting Winkle-Toti-Winkle Sea and Sand Marathon with paddlers enjoying the favourable downwind conditions on the day.
En route to compete in the Cape Point Challenge, Barry Lewin of Varsity College/Jeep Team SA took the top position with a time of 54:17.47 in the singles surfski race.
Lewin, who is no stranger to the race having competed eight times previously, said that the 15-knot southwesterly resulted in many smiling faces at the start of the race.
“I had an amazing day out on the ocean,” said Lewin, who managed to make good ground 200m into the race, using the wind to his advantage and surfing at an average of 17km/hour. “A big thanks to the race organisers and sponsors for putting on such a good show. It’s definitely a race I’ll come back to for years to come.”
The race, which was moved from Winklespruit to Wyndham Beach because of the wind, increased in length from the originally planned 12.6km to 15km in total. Undeterred by the extra distance, Zoog Haynes took second position in a time of 55:57.44 and Oliver Burn clinched third with a time of 56:17.12.
Downwind specialists, Bryce Hatton and Marc Stanton, were in their element and easily took the lead in the doubles race in a time of 55:39.70. The local duo was closely followed by Shaun Burgin and Robin Tindall in a time of 57:31.75, with Mark Lewin and Anna Clifford-Arwidi finishing in third spot in at time of 1:01:21.47.
The “first lady” of paddling, Michelle Burn, took the women’s top spot in a time of 1:01:51.15 with Sharon Armstrong taking second with 1:15:52.24.
The event – held annually on 16 December since 1972 – comprises three main events, organised by the Winklespruit Surf Lifesaving Club and sanctioned by both the South African Canoe Union and South African Road Runners’ Association. Traditionally, the 12.6km surfski race and the 12.6km long course beach run and walk both start and end at Winklespruit Beach after a journey to Toti Beach. The 4.8km short course beach run and walk goes until Warnernerdoone Rocks before returning to Winklespruit Beach.
The three events started on Wednesday at 9.30am with a simultaneous beach clean-up taking place this year, headed by Kyle Dawson of Wasteman.
“The weather was good with a strong southwesterly wind blowing which made for good downwind conditions that favoured the paddlers, but made things a bit challenging for the beach runners and walkers,” explained event organiser, Neville Hazell of Winklespruit Surf Lifesaving Club. “But despite this, everyone who attended really enjoyed the experience.”
Hazell said the annual event, held during the height of festive season, encourages both locals and holidaymakers to enjoy the spectacular beaches that the Sapphire Coast has to offer. In addition, he said that the event also gives community members a chance to see Winklespruit Surf Lifesaving Club in action, with the opportunity of joining.
“There is a great sense of camaraderie within the club and it provides people with the chance to truly enjoy the coastal life,” said Hazell. “We really look forward to continuing this great tradition.”
To ensure the safety of all participants, two rescue boats were deployed on the day with professional lifeguards stationed every 2km of the beach. A 4×4 vehicle was available for support and paramedics also in attendance.
In a further effort to ensure the beaches are at their best, Wasteman sponsored a concurrent beach clean-up with nippers from Winklespruit Surf Lifesaving Club and Wasteman employees taking to the shores to pick up litter along the route.
“The South Coast has some of the most spectacular beaches and we really want to showcase them at their absolute best which is why we undertook this beach clean-up,” explained event sponsor, Ross Fountain of Wasteman.
The event wrapped up with a prizegiving at Winklespruit Surf Lifesaving Club with top quality prizes sponsored by XXX
Winkle-Toti-Winkle Sea and Sand Marathon Results
Men’s Singles Surfski Race
1. Barry Lewin – 54:17.47
2. Zoog Haynes – 55:57.44
3. Oliver Burn – 56:17.12
Men’s Doubles Surfski Race
1. Bryce Hatton and Marc Stanton – 55:39.70
2. Shaun Burgin and Robin Tindall – 57:31.75
3. Mark Lewin and Anna Clifford Arwidi – 1:01:21.47
Women’s Singles Surfski Race
1. Michelle Burn – 1:01:51.15
2. Sharon Armstrong – 1:15:52.24