South Africa’s latest junior surfski world champion Saskia Hockly will take on the Petrefuel Dolphin Coast Challenge from 14-15 August as an important step to her international racing later in the year.
Hockly showed her ever-growing prowess when she powered to a win in the junior girls race at the recent ICF Ocean Racing World Championships after having shot to prominence when she won the senior women’s K2 race at the SA Marathon Championships and the junior girls race at the same event in May.
The Dolphin Coast Challenge is a unique race for the KZN ocean racing community covering two days between Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club in Durban and Salt Rock on the North Coast with the overnight stop in uMdloti.
For the youngster from Umhlanga, the race is going to form an important part of her preparation for her charge at a medal the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships.
“I’m doing the Dolphin Coast Challenge in preparation for our racing in Romania at the end of September,” the Euro Steel star said. “I am trying to get as much distance in as I can in a racing environment.
“I personally enjoy the longer races because I am more of an endurance athlete and to have two days of around 20km each is also a bonus for me.
“I tackle multiple day races day by day and treat them each as their own race which works better for me.”
This will be a first singles race at the Dolphin Coast Challenge for Hockly who has experienced the conditions before but with a few more years of experience under her belt should feel comfortable going into the race.
“I did the race two years ago in a double with my father but I am really excited to compete in a top surfski race in my single again.
“I’m expecting the surf to be a bit wilder especially if there is wind and the shore break will be much more technical to navigate. It should make the race more interesting!”
Hockly’s recent win at the surfski world championships has catapulted her into the top bracket of ocean racers in the country despite her still being a junior. She will come up against the senior women’s world champion Michelle Burn at the Dolphin Coast Challenge, a race she is looking forward to.
“Winning the world championships definitely boosted my confidence greatly but I’m not going to go into the race big-headed but instead just race my best race.
“My training partner Michelle Burn has also put her entry in so it will make for a fun day of racing and I’m excited to see how I can match up against her,” she added.