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SA’s Young Surfski Stars Ready for National Schools Champs

The 2016 Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships take place this Friday, 11 March at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club in Durban with talented youngsters from throughout the country eager to stake a claim for this year’s spoils.

Adding to the hype of the final race of the ten leg 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series, the national schools champs are set to be a ding-dong battle across both the Under-18 and Under-16 age groups.

Durban’s Bailey de Fondaumiere narrowly edged out Cape Town’s Mark Keeling last year and many expect the pair, now both in their final year of school, to once again go head to head for the title.

Carbonology’s De Fondaumiere has been in fine form throughout this year’s Marine Surfski Series, mixing it up with some of the country’s top senior men and clinching multiple top ten finishes along the way.

Meanwhile, Orka Squad’s Keeling focused much of his recent efforts on his Under-18 boys FNB Dusi title winning effort with his partner Mpilo Zondi (Computershare Change a Life Academy) but has shown great form on the ocean as well, often pushing the likes of Kenny Rice, Brandon van der Walt and Stu Maclaren in the Cape’s weekly ADT SeaDog Paddle Series races.

Keeling’s fellow Western Cape ace Zach Preyser is better known for his flat water sprinting abilities but is another to have strong great for in his surfski of late and represents somewhat of a dark horse contender.

East London’s William Wood finished second in the Under-16 clash in 2015 and, having now graduated into the Under-18 age group, is another out-of-towner eager to take on Durban’s local stars of tomorrow for a place on the podium.

Junior girls flyer Kyeta Purchase (Fenn Kayaks), who claimed the Under-16 girls title in 2014 and Under-18 girls crown last year, goes into this year’s championships as favourite to defend her title and walk away national champion.

The Our Lady of Fatima Convent pupil has been in such strong form throughout this year’s Marine Surfski Series that she is currently locked in a battle for second place overall, despite Durban’s wealth of talented senior women’s competitors, and is likely to push some her male junior counterparts this Friday.

Christie MacKenzie and Sabine Lawrie may well battle it out for the remaining Under-18 girls podium positions while the Under-16 age group is likely to see Oli Hart from Cape town feature strongly together with Durban’s Hamish MacKenzie and Dante Lahore.

The 2016 Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships take place over an eight kilometer course that starts and finishes in front of Marine SLC at Durban’s Addington Beach on Friday, 11 March. Racing gets underway at 17h30 and more information can be found at www.marineseries.co.za

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