18 May 2013 –
Durban, South Africa, May 18, 2013 – The watersport fraternity has thrown its weight behind a South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) campaign to create a major maritime event which will ensure that surfing and jet skiing are no longer seen as the preserve of just a select group of wealthy people.
The launch of the all new international Surfing and Jet Ski Competition by the South African Maritime Safety Association in association with Durban Stars took place in Durban on May 17, 2013. This is to be followed by the inaugural SAMSA-Durban Stars Surfing and Jet Ski Competition which will take place at Durban North Beach from 25-26 May 2013. Other sporting codes like Jet Ski, beach volley ball, beach soccer, skate boarding and BMX will also be accommodated. Samsa last night (Friday) introduced eight brand ambassadors which will be the faces of the campaign which kicks off in Durban next weekend. Teale Hogg, Ntando Msibi, Brandon Jackson, Welcome Radebe, David van Zyl, Scelo Travis Zondwayo, Dan Redman and Jordi O’ Keeffe, all surfers and skiers, will help promote their sport and encourage people to attend the beachfront extravanganza next weekend.
Luminaries from various sporting codes pledged to ensure that next weekend’s event becomes a major drawcard for several years. Samsa’s head of maritime tourism and leisure, Itumeleng Pooe, said water events could profile South Africa as a top maritime destination. “Alot of tourism activities happen around our waters and our successful tourist destinations are coastal and in demand.”
She said SAMSA’s aim was to ensure that the event in Durban would serve as a catalyst for similar big events in other coastal towns in the country. “We need a flagship event in each coastal area. We are aiming to grow it into something big with the main event culminating here in Durban.”
Pooe said they were not only focusing on coastal but inland areas as well because South Africa had abundant water supplies which could build a base for entrepeneurship.
SAMSA is currently on a major drive to strengthen the country’s maritime sector at all levels, from training to skills development. Last night Paul Izzard from the KZN Central Surfing Association praised SAMSA for the initiative and said surfing was a sport which required a healthy lifestyle and had therefore “saved many a child”. He said it was impossible to surf if you took drugs or drank alcohol.
Peter Britz the president of the South African Jet Ski Association said the country had already produced seven jet ski world champions and they were keen to continue doing so.
eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo said maritime events seem to have taken a backseat over the years. He said the Gunston 500 and Mr Price Pro had attracted more than a million people to the city and they hoped that the new event would do the same. “Our ocean is our own goldfield so we must encourage our children, especially from townships, to see it as not just a place of leisure but also of opportunity.”Nxumalo said already 16 schools in the metro were going to offer maritime studies.
The CEO of Durban Stars, Phindani Nene said Samsa had turned his dream into a reality. “This is not just about sport but about skills development.” He said next Saturday and Sunday would be great fun with skiing lessons on offer, courtesy of the department of economic development who would be bringing jet ski manufacturers to the beach for the event.
Issued on behalf of the South African Maritime Safety Authority by FBI Communications, in conjunction with Blue Leaf Communications.