AMANZI FES­TI­VAL AC­TION STARTS TO­MOR­ROW

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - ROB KNOWLES

THE Amanzi Fes­ti­val, spon­sored by the Royal St An­drews Ho­tel (RSAH), is fi­nally here, with 10 days of high-adren­a­line in­ter­na­tional wa­ter sports ac­tion to ex­cite, as­ton­ish and en­ter­tain young and old in Port Al­fred from Good Fri­day to­mor­row to Sun­day April 8.

The event opens with the 8km trail run from the Royal Port Al­fred Golf Course and back to the RSAH, fol­lowed shortly there­after by the fa­mous Ma­rina Mile swim at the Hal­yards Ho­tel on Good Fri­day morn­ing.

The first in­ter­na­tional event will be the body­board­ing com­pe­ti­tion, from Good Fri­day to Easter Sun­day at West Beach, and end­ing with West Beach War­fare and the APB World Se­ries body­board­ing com­pe­ti­tion on Mon­day April 2. The event is a coup for the fes­ti­val and Port Al­fred.

On Satur­day and Sun­day East Beach will be roar­ing with the sound of en­gines as an­other na­tional event – the rub­ber duck and jet ski races – take cen­tre stage, an­other ma­jor coup for the area.

And, even more ex­cit­ing news is that two lo­cal Ne­mato Change a Life (NCAL) mem­bers will be co-pi­lot­ing two of the rub­ber ducks.

Pum­lani Ka­mana and Lifa Nxobo ex­pe­ri­enced their first rub­ber duck train­ing ses­sion in late Oc­to­ber last year, and Nxobo vis­ited TotT with NCAL founder Jan Blom to speak about his time crash­ing at high-speed through the waves in and around the ma­rina.

“I was so scared when we first be­gan to prac­tise,” he said. “The [rub­ber] ducks move so fast across the wa­ter and, with all the bumps, it’s a job just to hold on.”

Nxobo said he fell out of the boat sev­eral times dur­ing his in­au­gu­ral prac­tice ses­sion.

Yet now, both he and Ka­mana are go­ing to be co-pi­lots in this high-pace, adren­a­line-pump­ing sport.

“As a co-pi­lot you have to know how to keep the boat bal­anced. Your time is spent mov­ing around at the back of the boat to make sure it doesn’t tip over,” he ex­plained.

In the mean­time, the jet ski races will take place in the river and at East Beach, and the Bar­na­cles Chal­lenge jet ski race on Sun­day should have the crowds cheer­ing in time.

“This is big, re­ally big,” said Amanzi Fes­ti­val co-or­gan­iser Zwelinz­ima “Sx­eaks” Nk­winti. “With a R1-mil­lion in prize money spon­sored RSAH own­ers Martin and Linda Bekker, this is the big­gest wa­ter sports event ever to be held in the area. And, over the next five years we hope to grow it to be­come the big­gest wa­ter sports event in the coun­try.”

It is an­tic­i­pated that about 6 000 ad­di­tional vis­i­tors will ar­rive in Port Al­fred and sur­round­ing ar­eas as a re­sult of the Amanzi Fes­ti­val, and es­tate agents are now ask­ing in­di­vid­ual home-own­ers if ad­di­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion can be found with them.

“The guest houses and ho­tels are com­pletely booked up due to the Easter holidays and this event,” con­firmed Graeme Sunny Hill of Re­max in Port Al­fred.

So, get out your sun hats (and maybe an um­brella or two, as the fore­cast for to­mor­row is rain) and make sure you do not miss a sin­gle en­thralling sec­ond of all the ac­tion at East and West beaches this holiday sea­son and be­yond.

A full pro­gramme of the events can be found on the Talk of the Town website. Visit

www.talkof­thetown.co.za for more in­for­ma­tion.

DUCK­ING WAVES: Rub­ber duck trainee pi­lots and Ne­mato Change a Life mem­bers Lifa Nxobo, left, and Pum­lani Ka­manaare are ready to hit the wa­ter on Satur­day and Sun­day as the ac­tion

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