A strong tidal push, deep water channels as well as shallow sandbanks all had to be negotiated in the Keurbooms River the past weekend during the 5K Pulse Swim in Plettenberg Bay.
Race organiser Kyle Harris got the incoming tide spot on and swimmers took to the 16 – 17 C water at Poortjies Beach, near the mouth of the Keurbooms River, aided by the strong tidal pulse and literally saw them flying upstream.
Navigation became critical during the Pulse, as the shallow sandbanks were waiting, similar to sand traps on a golf course, for the unwary swimmers.
Finding the channels and sticking in the fast flowing water saw veteran Eastern Cape swimmer PJ Duffy take victory in the inaugural Pulse swim in 56:33.
It’s been a great year for Duffy who won the Shipwreck Swim in Cape Town earlier in 2014; as well complete the Robben Island Crossing.
“It was a great swim and it’s fun swimming with the strong currents,” said Duffy after the event.
Duffy, who was one of the representatives of the WWW Club, the crew who wear traditional Safari Suits to open water swims, said they will all be back next year.
The first woman home was the formidable open water swimmer from Port Elizabeth, Rebecca Newman.
Fresh off her victory at the 7.5K JBay Cold Water Classic, Newman stuck with Duffy the entire swim, to finish in 56:50.
Jeffreys Bay swimmer JC Van Wyk finished 3rd in 57:08.
South Africa’s two open water butterfly swimmers, Brenton Williams and Kyle Harris also completed the swim, flying the whole distance in 1:22:13.
“Kyle knows the Keurbooms River really well, so I was able to swim off him and enjoy the visual spectacle of swimming up the river towards Stanley Island and the Outenique Mountains,” said Williams, who rates having being able to sight as one of the main advantages of swimming butterfly in open water.
The conditions got the better of 8 year old Jesse Goodal, who decided to watch the swim from the comfort of her dad’s paddle craft said it was an awesome swim.
“I was getting cold so got onto my dads canoe and we also saw a really big crab so that made me a little bit scared as I don’t really like crabs,” said Jesse after the swim.
“But it’s a fun swim and I am going to train hard and try again next year,” added Jesse.
Kyle Harris, the visionary race organiser who came up with the idea of swimming with the tidal pulse from the mouth of the Keurbooms River, said the event will be on again in 2015.
“The swimmers really enjoyed the event and it was great to swim with so many other people in the Keurbooms,” said Harris, who normally trains by himself in the river, which opens up into the ocean at Lookout Beach in Plettenberg Bay.
“There were some technical sections during the swim where swimmers had to negotiate around the sand banks, while the current was also pushing strongly which made for some good swimming,” added Harris.
1 PJ Duffy 56:33
2 Rebecca Newman 56:50
3 JC Van Wyk 57:08
4 Duncan Edwards 1:03:58
5 Evan Jones 1:05:37
6 RalphWest 1:07:55
7 Richden Jute 1:08:00
8 Andy Fermor 1:10:00
Deon Coetzer 1:10:00
10 Jacques Goussard 1:14:05
11 Paul Manson-Kullin 1:14:06
12 Peter Wakefield 1:14:42
13 Kirsten Mac Millen 1:16:38
14 Kyle Harris 1:22:13 (butterfly)
Brenton Williams 1:22:13 (butterfly)
16 Mark Mills 1:28:15
17 Tina Van Wyk 1:35:26
18 Quinton Webster 1:35:26
19 Toni de Wet 1:39:26
20 Jesse Goodall DNF