*Pete Marlin – On tour with the TVL Navy*

*Once a year the finest surfski paddlers from Gauteng descend from their high altitude to take part in the Pete Marlin surfski race in East London.   The race is a 2-day-event with the main singles race on the Saturday and the doubles on the Sunday. If the weather gods are generous it is normally two days of exciting, thrilling and challenging downwind paddling! Add to that the warm and welcoming hospitality and helpfulness of the East London surfski community and you will have a fantastic funfilled  surfski weekend ahead!*

*The 2016 edition of this legendary race (also SA Surfski Champs this year) was no exception! As a matter of fact the build-up to this race reminds me of the ancient Romans mobilizing their army to go to battle! It is maybe therefore the Gauteng surfski paddlers also are known as The Transvaal Navy!


As such we often take out our surfski battleships to navigate and conquer the vast ocean of Emmarentia Dam and similar high altitude waters! We also organize trailers for our precious crafts. We co-ordinate flights, rental cars, minibuses and accommodation. We get stunning team racing attire. We plan social dinners, lunches and braai’s. We have our own Whats
App group which is bustling with activity like Forum Romanum on a market day!*

*All this reached its culmination when nearly 40 Transvaal Navy paddlers checked-in to their batches on the beach below Orient in East London last Saturday, ready to take on a fairly mild SW downwind race to Yellowsands! 23 kms later we had all experienced what we came for! The wind picked up during the race and we had some lovely challenging runs to have
some fun with!*

*Being SA Surfski Champs the Transvaal Navy proudly won 1 gold (Pete O’Connor GGM), 2 silver (Brian Longley GGM, Anna Clifford Arwidi SM) and 1 bronze Graham Holm GM) on this singles day!*

*On Sunday, the doubles day, the weather gods had a different agenda in mind for us!  With an onshore wind blowing, the traditional downwind race changed into an out-and-back course from Nahoon beach. The beauty of this beach mesmerized some of our paddlers to an extent that made them spend extra time in the breaking waves going out and coming back in! Well out
though, the 2-lap-course between a buoy and a deceiving constellation of rocks by the name of “Three sisters”* *managed to still serve us some testing conditions. -You never know what to expect of a woman, let alone three women together!!!*

*Even day 2 ended with the Transvaal Navy on the podium! 2 gold (Graham
Holm/Gary Ralph GM and Pete O’Connor/Dave Gilmer GGM) and 1 bronze (Tony
Purchase/Graham Neate M).*

*From 2015 this race also has a very special trophy in memory of our own legendary paddler Mark Feather! First Gauteng male and female singles and first Gauteng doubles are honoured. This years’ winners were Cornelis Human, Anna Clifford Arwidi and the doubles combo of Gerhard Moolman/Derek Hompes.*

*That concludes the success of the 2016 Pete Marlin surfski race. It is a weekend not to be missed! You will have fun, be mesmerized, challenged and taken by the beautiful coastline of the Eastern Cape and the friendly surfski community! Rumour has it that The Transvaal Navy is already mobilizing for 2017! -Don’t hesitate if somebody is trying to recruit YOU
to The Transvaal Navy!!!*

*Anna Clifford Arwidi*