After many hours of preparation, the team behind the Prescient Freedom Paddle are pleased to confirm that all plans are in place to host the annual 27km paddle around Robben Island, in recognition of the freedoms enjoyed by the citizens of South Africa, on Freedom Day the 27th April.
The Freedom Paddle is one of the largest surfski races in South Africa and also incorporates SUP (Stand-Up Paddle boards), prone paddlers and rowing sculls, making it a one of a kind event in the world. The world renowned and recognised landmark of Robben Island is significant in that the journey of those before are recognised by the participants who will paddle around the incarceration venue of Nelson Mandela and his stalwarts of the struggle. The weather conditions on the day will determine the extent each paddler has to endure their own struggle against the elements to make it safely back to the main land.
For the athletes, their training has been challenging but has also shown the value and love that so many people hold for the sport. The appreciation levels of the environment and the sport itself are at an all time high as people flock to opportunities presented in these trying times. As much as possible has been done to accommodate everyone who is interested in the challenge including providing surfskis or partnering with others who have a double ski. Rob Tindall, Race Director commented, “We’re humbled with the opportunity to be hosting the race once again and very grateful to all who have made it possible. Celebrating our Freedom this year will be more special than ever before and we welcome everyone to join us in this celebration, even if it is just “from a distance.”
An interesting aspect to the race is that entrants are not obliged to reveal their partners in the Doubles race when entering and hence racing combinations are not know until closer to race day. Currently the defending Champions, Hank McGregor and Josh Fenn are a confirmed partnership but others are waiting to team up to make the strongest possible combination to challenge this pair.
News just is in that SA K1 Marathon Champion, Hamish Lovemore is pairing up with Bevan Manson to make a very strong combination. The excitement is building in the entire paddling community as the full summer season has been compacted into a short window making each race a new podium possibility for all the top competitors. Racing has never been so exciting.
All of these elements add up to making this a fantastic spectacle and event for the local community, for the sport, for the paddlers, for the City of Cape Town and for all those involved once again.
We have appointed Event Plan and Medics in Motion to assist with the entire event compliance and
safety plan. CSA’s Covid-19 protocols have been provided and we have engaged with the City Health and
Safety Officer and National Health Department to ensure the event is complaint. The events application
has been accepted for consideration by the City of Cape Town and we await approval. We are being
guided by the National Government and National Health Department Covid-19 regulations throughout
the process and all measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of all participants and crew. At
this time, we are confident that the event will go ahead as planned, however final confirmation can only
be determined closer to the event in line with National Governments adjusted risk assessment protocols.