Freedom Paddle 2019

Celebrate the Freedom of Surfski paddling by taking on the challenge of Racing around South Africa’s Symbol of Freedom – Robben Island.

The Freedom Paddle is a 27km race / paddle from Oceana Power Boat Club around Robben Island and back. On the 27th April 2019, Freedom Day, line up and be a part of a race around one of the most iconic islands in the world.

In association with our presenting partners

We are so very grateful to receive amazing support from these great companies.

Freedom Paddle 2019 Race Briefing

So No to Single Use Plastics

Plastics are choking our waterways and our oceans. As paddlers, we see this every time we head out for a paddle. Radical change is needed and we believe that change starts with us. We have applied for and been awarded Planet Protector status. This means we have committed our selves to

  • Raising awareness of the dangers of single-use plastic and to offer alternatives
  • Not using any single-use plastics at the event
  • Providing recycling bins and recycling the waste generated by the event
  • Efficient, non-wasteful use of potable water
  • To raise funds for organisations active in the conservation space

As such your goodie bag at race day will not come in a bag. Please bring your own non-plastic bag. Each goodie bag contains compostable bags and straws to be used in place of plastic. Thanks to Bonnie Bio for supplying these.

Our mother ship for the race, The Yacht Boaz, is far more than a yacht. She and her skipper Kieth are active crusaders in the fight against single-use plastics.

Please use the recycling bins provided at race day and registration. Please choose sustainable non-polluting alternatives to plastic. Encourage others to do the same.

Entries are closed

Don’t forget to create your doubles team

Use the link in the email you received to do so

Everything you need to know is right here..

Friday Night Registration

Registration happens at the race venue, Oceana Power Boat Club, the evening of 26th April, between 4 pm and 8 pm.

  • Every surfski needs to be checked into the boat pound at registration. No surfski’s will be allowed onto the premises on race day. The venue is small and our numbers are large and we cannot risk traffic congestion.
  • Drive into the venue and pull up next to the pound. Our ski valet lads will unload your ski and take it into the pound for you while you go and park. There is no parking inside the club. There is plenty of street parking and a parking garage 100m away.
  • Registration is inside the clubhouse.
  • Step 1 – grab a refreshment at the bar.
  • Step 2 –SafeTrx table. Have your phone with SafeTrx installed and your account created. Both paddlers in a double need to run SafeTrx. Run a test SafeTrx and if your position shows on the screen go to the next table.
  • Step 3 – Check-in and confirm your details at one of the 4 registration tables. Make sure you know what CSA number is on your ski and make sure the registration person captures that correctly. The timing system relies completely on you having the correct CSA number on your ski and in the timing system.
  • Grab your no bag goodie bag (if you entered and paid before 1 April). Bring your own non-plastic bag for your goodies and race garment.
  •  Get the link for the online pre-recorded race briefing. Be sure to watch and pay attention. We hope to have the briefing played on loop on the club TV.
  • Step 4 – Head over to the Brian’s Kayaks/Mocke/Holdfast/Crossing Gear stand and pick up anything you may need.
  • Step 5 – Head over to the boat pound, apply your race stickers and get your ski race ready. There will be very little time on race morning so get it done at registration.
  • Step 6 – head back inside for another refreshment and catch up with your paddling mates.

Race day

Club gates open at 7am, 1st light. Yup KZN people, it will only be getting light around 7 am.

  • 6.15 wake up and check the race WhatsApp group. Singles are scheduled to start at 9 am, and doubles 20 minutes later.
  • If there is no race delay (read fog) get to the club at 7 am. Remember no parking inside the club. There is plenty of street parking and a parking garage 100m away.
  • Find your boat in the boat pound and get 100% race ready including all safety kit – see safety section.
  • Call over a safety inspector when you are ready. They will issue you a race whistle if you pass inspection.
  • The slipway will open at 8 am. No one will be allowed on the water before then. You will only be allowed onto the water if you have been issued a race whistle. Be patient and courteous, there will over 200 surfskis launching from a single slipway. Please launch quickly and paddle away to make space.
  • Singles start at 9 am. The start line is between the white hut and the Red Bull buoy. No-one including the doubles to be on the North side (Robben Island side) of the start line after 8.50. There is plenty of space behind the line and along the harbour wall to warm up.
  • S2 and S3’s will start at 9.20am. The S2’s will have a seeded front row. Every non-seeded team will need to stay behind the seeded row. There will be 2 min time penalty for transgressors.
  • The starter will be on a Black IRB moving up and down the start line keeping the front row from moving forward. Make sure you stay behind the line. The start signal will be an air horn blast.
  • The finish line is in the same place as the start line but the line will be made shorter.
  • On exiting the water exchange your race whistle for your uber cool race medal.
  • Return your boat to the pound, get changed and grab a Red Bull or a Devils Peak beer, you deserve it.
  • Prize giving will be an efficient affair starting ASAP, estimate 1 pm.

Safety Requirements

Nothing crazy, just the basics. 

  • Cell phone, fully charged and running the latest version of SafeTrx (new version released 5 days ago).


  • SafeTrx tracking code “FP19” entered into the app.
    (Click me to watch a video on how to do it).
  • The SafeTrx app must be set to continuous tracking mode.
  • Brightly coloured PFD.
  • Both paddlers to have a leg leash no matter the wind strength. Paddle leashes are NOT sufficient.
  • Valid CSA numbers on the ski fwd of the cockpit on either side of the ski above the seam line. This can be either paddler’s no. This number must be entered into the timing system at registration.
  • Race sticker on both sides of the ski, fwd of the cockpit and your CSA number.
  • Race whistle, which will be issued once you have passed the safety inspection.


April is the calmest time of the year in Cape Town and the best time for an island rounding. However, the weather does not always co-operate.

  • Heavy fog before the start. This is our highest risk. If there is fog in the morning, the race start will be delayed until the fog lifts. The latest the race can start is 14h30. If the fog persists beyond this point the race will be abandoned. Watch the race WhatsApp grp for updates.
  • Heavy fog during the race. It is very possible for the race to start in clear conditions and for the fog to cover the fleet mid-race. Race control will be in contact with on water race safety. Depending on the severity of the fog and the position of the bulk of the fleet, the race could be abandoned. Listen out for 3 long blasts followed by 3 short blasts on an air horn from your closest safety boat indicating abandonment. Immediately you are to cease racing, group together with your nearest fellow paddlers and return to the start. You will need navigation assistance from a phone app or your GPS watch. Safety boats will assist with navigation home. More details on how to do that here.

All the information you need to navigate around the island safely can be found by clicking here.

Order of events in case of Fog

  • 06h15 Message to WhatsApp grp “Fog delay -Stay in bed – wait for next message at 8h30”
  • 08h30 “Extended FOG delay – enjoy breakfast – wait for next message at 10h30”
  • 10h30 “No2 Extended FOG delay – wait for next message at 12h30”
  • 12:30 “get yourself down to the race venue – possible race start @14h00”

CSA Membership

The Freedom Paddle is a CSA race. In addition, the race is SA Surfski Doubles Champs. This means each and every single paddler needs to be a member of CSA.

Here is what you need to know.

  • If were a paid-up CSA member for the 2018/19 season then that is good enough to cover you for The Freedom Paddle.
  • You can join CSA by joining your local canoe club, they will walk you through the process of getting you signed up and providing you with a CSA number. As soon as you have a number please email it to us.
  • If you have a CSA number, but you are not a current paid-up member, you will not be allowed to race.
  • There is a temp license option available only to paddlers who have been a CSA member in the past and who have completed open ocean surfski races before. This license allows you to race but you are not eligible for a CSA podium position in the event. The cost is 50% of the entry fee payable to the race. Please make contact should you wish to take up a temp license.
  • International paddlers who are a member of their local structures are exempt, provided they can prove sufficient competency.

Freedom Paddle 2018

steps to be eligible for the

Freedom Paddle

Do you have what it takes to tame the stormy oceans around Robben Island? Do you want to push yourself and find out where your limits are? This is a significant challenge so a few steps are required to prove your competence.

stay tuned

This website will be updated continuously

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