Legend Lewin unpacks Pete Marlin’s appeal

One of the first entries received for the 2021 Dischem Pete Marlin surfski weekend came from stalwart Durban paddler Barry Lewin, a former champion of the race passionate about renewing his connection to the Border classic from 30-31 October.

Following the cancelation of the event in 2020, Lewin feels the East London-based race will actually benefit from the fourteen months of Covid-19 lockdown.

Lewin, a property professional from the KZN North Coast, has done all the recent editions of the race and is named on the twelve-strong list of legends who have completed ten or more Pete Marlin races, and says the race has a number of unique appeals that draw paddlers back from all corners of the country every year.

“One of the things that has happened in the paddling community since the start of this lockdown has been the organising of clubs and groups keen to train together and then travel to events like the Pete Marlin,” said Lewin.

“I have a group of ten on the Dolphin Coast all really keen to get a trailer together and travel to East London for the weekend. Durban has the established Geriatskis, but now the Pirates SLC group and Marineskis are well organised as well.

“Paddling for decades has been such an individual sport, but since the start of the lockdown that really has changed and this amazing club culture has developed,” said the Elaleni Coastal Resort/North Global Group athlete.

For Lewin, this new development is the third unique element that will help drive the entry for the two-day surfski festival in the Eastern Cape at the end of October.

“First and foremost it is such great surfski paddling,” explained Lewin. “It on an exposed coastline where you can get some proper downwind paddling, but with the manageable distances and easy launches from protected beaches, it is completely do-able for the average paddler.

“Then the East London community is so warm and welcoming,” added Lewin. “Everyone opens their homes to the paddlers that come into town from all around the country.

“There is a real family vibe from the local organisers to their sponsors and the East London paddling community and that hospitality makes this event really unique,” he added.

Lewin says the cancellation of the 2020 event coupled with this rejuvenation of the spirit with the paddling community will make the 2021 race memorable.

“This is a race that is very special to me,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to win it and I made the national team when it was trial for the SA team.

“My aspirations now are very different,” he went on to say. “Yes I will go hard when the racing starts, but for me now it is a weekend of fantastic paddling in the most welcoming environment you will find at any paddling event in the country.”

Legends who have done ten or more Pete Marlins
Barry Lewin
Duncan Boyd
Brendan Thompson
Cassie van Heerden
Iain Hume
Dave Puttergill
Keith Flemmer
Angus Warren
Derek Hendry
Andre van Wyk
Hennie Roos
Andre Wood