Mark's Diary

Hi Paddlers

Welcome to the Custom Kayaks Blog page.

Custom Kayaks is a kayak manufacturer based in Durban, South Africa owned and run by Mark Lewin. We make products for a number of different markets and this blog is there to keep reader up to date with news from the factory, our new developments and our products all over the world.

Hope you enjoy!

DURBAN WINTER SERIES 2012 - RACE 5 DOWN WIND

Picture below of Barry Lewin flying in to the finish on a BULLET single ski.

The sea takes and it delivers. Yesterday it delivered. And how it delivered!

Read more: DURBAN WINTER SERIES 2012 - RACE 5 DOWN WIND

DURBAN WINTER SERIES 2012 - RACE 1-3 REPORT BACK

On the back of a record breaking summer surfski series inDurban, the momentum has kicked on into the first three races of this years Winter series. Very big fields of paddlers providing close competition in all the categories right from the novices in the short course through all the grades up to the elite  paddlers where the top paddlers in the country are locked into tight racing in all three of the first races so far.

It is a great platform for us at Custom Kayaks to measure the success across the board of a very balanced, successful range of products. All three of our single ski’s have hit their mark in the series already.  The run down is as follows:-

BULLET (Elite) single ski. Up front, a fit again Barry Lewin has been 3rd, 4th and 2nd overall on his new BULLET single ski and Mark Mulder consistently in the top 10 and one top 5 placing. As it gains momentum, the BULLET, with a fit paddler in the seat will still prove to be amongst the most competitive surfski’s anywhere in the World.

F

FOCUS (Intermediate) single ski. This new surfski has been the real shaker. Its versatility from novice user friendliness, to competitive edge, is clearly evident in the series so far. There are great examples. Paul Jensen, 12 months ago, a novice on an entry level surfski, moving on to the FOCUS attained a good B grade category time in his very first ever Winter series race. The B grade makes up the biggest category of paddlers in the series and is very competitive. The grand masters category, (over 60 years) has produced first and second place finishes on the FOCUS, by Allan Hold and Patrick Elly. Up front,Stretch Struwigfrom Richards Bay  a masters paddler, (over 50 years) is not only dominating his age group on the FOCUS, but has been close to the top 10 overall in some of the races.

HORIZON (Entry Level) It is awesome to see the many new paddlers doing the series for the first time. Many of them on the HORIZON single surfski. A great example is a junior girl paddler, Savannah van Rooyen, in her first season, dominating the junior girls short course race each time so far, winning both the senior and junior ladies race in race 2.

APEX 2 (double surfski). Examples of the versatility of this surfski is endless. Up front at the racing end of the field, myself and partner Linton Hope in the two races we have done, (skipped race 2 having a bad flu bug), have been clear winners in the masters category, (over 50 years), on an APEX, sneaking in a top 5 overall in race one, really frustrating some of the younger top 10 hopefuls. Thando Thusi and Sthembiso Mbatha, the development crew from Marine SLC in their first season together have placed in the top 10 in each race so far. Thando, relatively new to this level of racing enjoying the overall performance that the APEX can give you.

From the top level down through the grades numerous doubles crews young and old are having an awesome experience on the APEX, irrespective of their ability level.

 

WINTER SERIES 2012 -FIRST 3 RACES - WRAP UP

On the back of a record breaking summer surfski series inDurban, the momentum has kicked on into the first three races of this years Winter series. Very big fields of paddlers providing close competition in all the categories right from the novices in the short course through all the grades up to the elite  paddlers where the top paddlers in the country are locked into tight racing in all three of the first races so far.

It is a great platform for us at Custom Kayaks to measure the success across the board of a very balanced, successful range of products. All three of our single ski’s have hit their mark in the series already.  The run down is as follows:-

BULLET (Elite) single ski. Up front, a fit again Barry Lewin has been 3rd, 4th and 2nd overall on his new BULLET single ski and Mark Mulder consistently in the top 10 and one top 5 placing. As it gains momentum, the BULLET, with a fit paddler in the seat will still prove to be amongst the most competitive surfski’s anywhere in the World.

FOCUS (Intermediate) single ski. This new surfski has been the real shaker. Its versatility from novice user friendliness, to competitive edge, is clearly evident in the series so far. There are great examples. Paul Jensen, 12 months ago, a novice on an entry level surfski, moving on to the FOCUS attained a good B grade category time in his very first ever Winter series race. The B grade makes up the biggest category of paddlers in the series and is very competitive. The grand masters category, (over 60 years) has produced first and second place finishes on the FOCUS, by Allan Hold and Patrick Elly. Up front,Stretch Struwigfrom Richards Bay  a masters paddler, (over 50 years) is not only dominating his age group on the FOCUS, but has been close to the top 10 overall in some of the races.

HORIZON (Entry Level) It is awesome to see the many new paddlers doing the series for the first time. Many of them on the HORIZON single surfski. A great example is a junior girl paddler, Savannah van Rooyen, in her first season, dominating the junior girls short course race each time so far, winning both the senior and junior ladies race in race 2.

APEX 2 (double surfski). Examples of the versatility of this surfski is endless. Up front at the racing end of the field, myself and partner Linton Hope in the two races we have done, (skipped race 2 having a bad flu bug), have been clear winners in the masters category, (over 50 years), on an APEX, sneaking in a top 5 overall in race one, really frustrating some of the younger top 10 hopefuls. Thando Thusi and Sthembiso Mbatha, the development crew from Marine SLC in their first season together have placed in the top 10 in each race so far. Thando, relatively new to this level of racing enjoying the overall performance that the APEX can give you.

From the top level down through the grades numerous doubles crews young and old are having an awesome experience on the APEX, irrespective of their ability level.

 

THE LONG AWAITED NEW SKI

THE LONG AWAITED NEW SKI – (It will be named during this week)

The reason that it has taken so long, is that I had to shelve completing the molding midway through, in favor of completing a new lifesaving rescue craft, that was essential to complete important lifesaving orders for the start of this Summer season.

Read more: THE LONG AWAITED NEW SKI

MARKS DIARY – WINTER SERIES - SCOTTBURGH CLASSIC – RACE 7

CANCELLED, due to very rough surf. This was such a pity but unavoidable unfortunately. I have said this before, but I really do not envy Billy Harker, who runs the series, when he has to make calls like that. I think it is the first time in a number of years that a race has been called off altogether. He has a number of factors to consider, not the least of which is that a lot of the paddlers will also be doing the World Cup this weekend and a fleet of damaged boats will not go down too well. So we still have not had a down wind race all season so far. Hopefully we will get one this weekend. I managed to get in a very long paddle with our development squad in the shelter of the Durban beachfront in warm winter weather but still in flat conditions.

Read more: MARKS DIARY – WINTER SERIES - SCOTTBURGH CLASSIC – RACE 7

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