AMANZI FESTIVAL ACTION STARTS TOMORROW
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