Stalwart Durban surfski paddler Zoog Haynes is a man on a mission as the countdown continues to the Dis-Chem Pete Marlin on 5 and 6 November, having entered to paddle the double ski race with his son Ty.
Haynes was involved in a car crash in June that left him with serious spinal injuries, but the tenacious Haynes is determined to get the all-clear from the doctors to be able to take his place on the start line.
“I have been slowly recovering and rehabbing after breaking my back,” said Haynes. “I have a final set of x-rays early next week to see if everything has knitted back together as it should.”
Haynes is itching to get back into his ski, particularly as he has entered the Sunday double ski downwind with his sixteen year-old son, with whom he shares a deep love of ocean paddling.
“Ty-Face and I first started paddling together more than seven years ago at the weekly Marine Series races in Durban, and he fell in love with the sport. After doing a Dolphin Coast and a Dusi he has now lined up the Pete Marlin,” said Haynes.
Having been an active paddler for many years, Haynes is on a bigger mission to make sure that surfski and canoeing is accessible to as many younger paddlers as possible.
“There is a huge generation missing from surfski paddling in South Africa,” said Haynes.
“Twenty years ago you would battle to get a top twenty,” explained Haynes. “You had guys like the Bartho brothers, Clint Pretorius, Scott Rutherford, Warren Jacobs, Matt Bouman, Barry Lewin, Hank McGregor, Brett Challenor, Brett Pengelly and the list goes on.
“These guys were dominating and you would be hacking to just make a top twenty, and even then you would be up against the old ballies,” he said.
“Now there are a couple of senior and then you find some vets and masters on the podiums now.
“It is up to us older guys to get their kids and their friends into a boat, teach them the ropes and get them to enjoy paddling in the ocean and racing.
For Haynes the special bond between himself and his son that he enjoys when paddling a double ski offshore is irreplaceable.
“Nothing can compare to the look on your kids face after you get off the water after a blistering downwind,” he enthused.
“There are more and more older paddlers who are doing this and you could see the big Under 16 compliment at the Wall and Back dice last week, which is so good to see.
“I am committed to getting all my kids into the sport and doing whatever I can to get the younger paddler filling up the results.
“I have made incredible mates and had an awesome time paddling out in the ocean, and I certainly want to continue that for my kids,” he said.