City swim­mer ready for new race on wa­ter

Pugh, Mocke in 49km surf­ski sprint

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - LISA ISAACS

NINE months ago, Lewis Pugh asked Dawid Mocke if they could win the most gru­elling one- day surf­ski race of the year, The Cape Point Chal­lenge. Mocke re­sponded con­fi­dently: “Of course”.

Pugh, ocean ad­vo­cate and pi­o­neer swim­mer, and Mocke, en­tre­pre­neur, mul­ti­ple surf­ski ti­tle holder and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist, have teamed up in a dou­ble surf­ski to take on some of the world’s best ath­letes at this pin­na­cle of surf­ski events to­day.

The pair face the tough task of pad­dling 49km from Scar­bor­ough, past Cape Point and on to Fish Hoek beach, a feat they’ve dubbed the “Com­rades Marathon of the seas”.

But Mocke said the event was about more than just win­ning: “I want to end this year on a high. I get to pad­dle with a friend and men­tor in an amaz­ing race.”

Pugh added: “With swim­ming, I have al­most done it all. Pad­dling poses a chal­lenge. It is com­pet­i­tive and ex­cit­ing… It is us against the el­e­ments.”

The cold wa­ter, huge waves and choppy seas are just some of the el­e­ments the surf­skiers are look­ing for­ward to do­ing bat­tle with. But they say they’re used to tack­ling un­fore­seen chal­lenges.

The day be­fore Mocke com­peted in the surf­ski world cham­pi­onships in Hong Kong last month, he suf­fered a burst ap­pen­dix and un­der­went emer­gency surgery.

He was badly beaten in the race, and says his con­fi­dence took a knock. He also needed time to re­cover and wasn’t able to train.

When he ar­rived home, Pugh im­me­di­ately no­ticed a change in his team­mate’s at­ti­tude.

“He wasn’t the per­son I knew,” Pugh said.

So they sat down and de­cided how to deal head on with the prob­lem.

“When you’re up against the ocean, you can’t be up against your part­ner as well,” Pugh said.

And while Mocke is more than com­fort­able in a long nar­row kayak, it’s new turf for Pugh, who has com­pleted a long-dis­tance swim in ev­ery ocean on the planet. And Pugh and Mocke only started train­ing to­gether about a year ago.

In the run-up to to­day’s Cape Point Chal­lenge, the pair have par­tic­i­pated in a race ev­ery Fri­day. Ear­lier this month they won the Light­house Me­mo­rial Race, and were keen to re­peat the re­sult to­day.

It was all set to start at 6.15am to­day, and Mocke said their fi­nal words of mo­ti­va­tion would be sim­ple: “Here we are. Let’s race.”


MORE THAN A RACE: Hus­band and wife team, Elske and Ian Hen­der­son, aboard their yacht Isla dur­ing the pre-race event in Ta­ble Bay har­bour. Their race is a fam­ily af­fair, which in­cludes their two young daugh­ters.


IN IT TO WIN IT: Lewis Pugh, left, and Dawid Mocke pair up to dom­i­nate at the Cape Point Chal­lenge to­day. Here they’re pic­tured dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion.

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