Event of the year

Clinton Millard in action

Easter Festival coming soon

LOUISE CARTER

EASTER in Kowie is set to be filled with boundless sports excitement as Amazing Events presents the Royal St Andrews Hotel Easter Festival to kick off April 14-17 at various water and beach locations.

A big drawing card for the heart of the Sunshine Coast has always been the magnificent beaches and river settings. Sport lovers and founders of Amazing Events, Dave Lawson and Zwelinzima “Sxeaks” Nkwinti realised the potential for a full-on water and land sport extravaganza in Port Alfred and put plans in motion for this debut event.

Royal St Andrews Hotel embraced Nkwinti and Lawson’s vision to bring a major sporting event to the Kowie waters and is the official main sponsor this year.

April 14 an opening ceremony will take place at 6pm at Royal St Andrews to welcome all the participants, organisers and guests.

On Saturday April 15, East Beach will host an old Port Alfred highlight in the form of a rubber duck challenge. The event, which will be officially resurrected on Easter weekend, will see boats from all over the country hosted and promoted by Border Inflatable Boat Club in an ocean circuit race.

The race will kick off around 9.30am at the East Beach dunes parking lot, and will carry on until past lunch time. On Sunday, at 3pm adrenalin will be pumping and excitement will flow overboard as the second stage of the rubber duck contest will see boats race from the Ski-boat Club, out the tumultuous Kowie River mouth  into the ocean, towards Fountain Rocks and lap for five times.

During this race, the river mouth will be temporary closed for private boats. It will be the first time in ten years that rubber ducks will be racing competitively in Port Alfred and organisers and participants are ecstatic about the event taking place.

Mike Hatting, coordinator and technical officer for Rubber Ducks SA, said it had been a long time since he has competed in Port Alfred and is happy about bringing the race back. He used to compete in earlier years when the formula one races were held in Kowie.

“We use to be big into this; we are pretty excited. We can provide a slot for this on the national circuit which will see it grow in the future,” he said.

“We use to be big into this; we are pretty excited. We can provide a slot for this on the national circuit which will see it grow in the future,” he said.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, the Kowie Boardriders Club will host the East Beach Easter Surf Classic at East Beach nearer to the pier. A contest briefing will take place at 8am and surfers will surf in respective heats throughout the day, depending on conditions. The surfing competition will have divisions for U16, open, over 40, longboard, kneelo and a ladies’ section. Sunday will see the semi-finals and final take place with a prize-giving to follow.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity. Royal St Andrews has been generous in their sponsorship and we are excited about being able to offer substantial cash prizes and merchandise for winners,” said KBC chairman Warwick Heny.

In conjunction with KBC surfers and volunteers, Shaka Surf School will assist anyone interested in surf lessons on Saturday morning from 11am. “We are expecting good weather for Easter weekend and good surf,” said Heny.

More water fun will take place in the form of a West Beach Warfare, an annual body boarding tournament where board riders will take on the notorious West Beach wedge in a two day competition. There is a coaching and a training session on April 14 from 8am-3.30pm.

Organiser of West Beach Warfare, Clinton Millard said more than 60 entries had been received, from as far as Durban, and he expected still more to come in.

“It’s going to be a great event. Port Alfred needs this and with all the different sport taking place, I’m sure it’s going to grow.”

Not all the fun will be reserved for the adults. On Saturday there will be a kiddies’ tube race at Kiddies Beach. Tubes will be sponsored by Ralph Schmidt from Supa Quick Port Alfred and children, who can swim, from the ages of 8 to 12 can enter. The race for fastest on tube will start at 9am with a prize-giving to follow.

If endurance swimming is your game, then the Marina Mile Swim is not to be missed. A first of its kind, the swim will take place starting at the Halyards Hotel jetty at the first Royal Alfred Marina canal at 3.15pm and will see swimmers swim through the canals in a circular course back to the start. Registration will take place at the Halyards Hotel at 1pm, and the race briefing will be at 3pm. There will be three age groups from 12-19 years old, 20-30years and 30+.

Throughout the weekend there will also be beach volleyball at West Beach by Eastern Cape Volley Ball, beach soccer and touch rugby.

“Special thanks must go to the organisers and sponsors, whose enthusiasm and commitment to tourism growth on the Sunshine Coast is unwavering. Ndlambe Municipality, SAPS and NSRI all support the event and have offered their assistance throughout. We are confident that this event, set to become the premier event in the Eastern Cape, will be a major draw-card for tourism growth,” Sunshine Coast Tourism manager Sandy Birch said.

Talk of the Town is media sponsor for the event and will be posting coverage weekly as well as full coverage daily during the event on talkofthetown.co.za. Keep an eye out for more details and as well as the full programme. Early entries to sporting events can be made online at www.amazingeventspa.co.za. Or visit the Amazing Events Facebook page. Online entries will close by April 12.

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