Intro to Dabs Surf Ski

Surf ski paddling is a paddling discipline linked to international and South African canoeing. Obviously most of the surf ski paddlers are based at the coast but Gauteng has many active surf ski paddlers. Some are involved because they enjoy the character and fun associated with the classic South African surf ski races. Some are involved because they enjoy open ocean paddling when on holiday at the coast. For most it is a combination of both participation in classic ocean races and the fun of downwind paddling.

All paddlers and particularly paddlers who do not paddle on the ocean regularly need to be very aware of safety. The dangers of sea paddling are sometimes obvious and often not that apparent. Whether racing or just enjoying a downwind fun paddle the same precautions apply. First be a competent paddler; then use all the safety equipment such as PDF and cell phone with (NSRI) tracking; cold water is dangerous; offshore winds are a threat; and above all you must be able to remount your surf ski in the prevailing and possible conditions.

Classic races include Scottburgh/Brighton and Cape Point and PE to East London. Most paddlers are more interested in the many shorter races and most focus on downwind paddling as it offers the most fun. The major races are on the GCU calendar. All races and the latest news can be found at and

Doubles and singles paddling is popular and for beginners the best option is to find a competent sea paddler to take you out in a double. Normally paddlers own their own craft but there are three doubles at Dabulamanzi and a double and a single at Marine for use by GCU members. There is a charge and the accepted behaviour with any borrowed craft applies. You break it, you take it.

Annually Dabulamanzi hosts the fun and famous High Altitude Surf Ski Champs on Emmarentia. This is in the first quarter of the year, after Duzi and is a fun way to be introduced to the sport.