TIME is gradually looming closer for the next Royal St Andrews Hotel Amanzi Challenge to take place in Port Alfred.
Last year, history was made when Port Alfred locals, Zwelinzima Nkwinti and Dave Lawson, in collaboration with Royal St Andrews Hotel, successfully hosted a multi-day water sport event in the form of the Royal Alfred Marina Mile swimming race, rubber duck racing, bodyboard and surfing tournaments as well as an inflatable tube race for children.
The debut event was a huge success, with visitors from all over flocking to Port Alfred for the Easter weekend, and even received national TV coverage.
For next year the dates March 30 to April 8 are diarised for a bigger, better and more water wild Royal St Andrews Hotel Amanzi Challenge, seeing two new events included in the ten day multi-day water sport festival.
Lawson and Nkwinti managed to secure the Amanzi Challenge as a qualifier for the international circuit in several sport disciplines, including bodyboarding and surfing.
Moreover Royal St Andrews Hotel owner Martin Bekker has pledged R1-million in prize-money for the event.
For organisers Lawson and Nkwinti, the main purpose of the event is to showcase Port Alfred, and more broadly the entire Ndlambe, and to create bigger hype and draw more tourists to the area.
While growing the event is of primary concern, Nkwinti and Lawson have anchored youth development as a pillar for future success. Currently there are a three youths who are learning to become pilots on the rubber ducks and have participated in two training sessions.
“We are looking to grow the numbers of youth to about ten,” said Nkwinti.
The development programme is not intended to exclude anyone interested in learning on how to race rubber ducks. “As long as they are from Ndlambe, “Lawson said.
The development youths will also take part in racing the ducks as co-pilots in next year’s event.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said Nkwinti.
Two new events have been added to the line-up including a jet-ski race which will see jet-skis compete in the same “Barnacles Challenge” course the rubber ducks will race in.
According to preliminary program, on March 30 there will be an 8km trail run starting at St Andrews Hotel with the route going alongside the golf course and on the beach.
Also on March 30 the Royal Alfred Marina Mile will take place following the same route through the canals it did last year. Following that there will be three days of rubber duck and jet-ski racing through the Kowie River mouth, then a four-day bodyboarding competition which will include the South African bodyboarding championships. From this competition, the South African team will be selected and will face off against international bodyboarders from Australia, France, Morocco, Hawaii and more to be confirmed.
Three days of surfing will follow, which is structured to be a qualifier competition for the international surfing circuit.
Lawson said the plan is to get more youth involved with surfing and bodyboarding and grow development in these areas.
“We have a passion for sport and for sport development. With so much traditional sport being played in the area, we believe through this event we can help grow the interest and expose our townships as well as any other youth in Ndlambe to water sport,” said Nkwinti.
For any youth interested in taking part in the rubber duck training and development as well as surfing and bodyboarding contact TotT on Facebook or (046) 624-4356.