The Freedom Paddle 2019 took place on 27 April 2019 from the Oceana Power Boat Club on the V&A Waterfront around Robben Island and back - a total distance of 27 kilometers. The best surfski crews in the country squared up against one another in what is being widely billed as the most competitive double ski race in the world. The event has resonated with surfski paddlers from far and wide, eager to get involved with the opportunity to honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy on Freedom Day by paddling around the island where he was imprisoned.
That ethos has also driven several major brands associated with the sport to get behind the event helping it continue its remarkable growth trajectory since its inception last year. We, here at BTI, were extremely proud to have been one of the official suppliers for this event.
"Being able to give The Freedom Paddle a boost with some of our event merchandise was a great opportunity to build a lasting partnership with a growing brand" said BTI's MD, Shaun Wigston. "BTI's vertical banners and gazebo made quite an impact and the media wall definitely elevated the professionalism of the podium photographs," said race director, Robin Tindall.
For the 350 paddlers who took part, the paddle around the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned had a great deal of significance. “We were in a bunch with a few male crews as we went around Robben Island,” said ladies race winner Hayley Nixon. “I had absolute goosebumps, and said to everyone ‘Happy Freedom Day’ and then added ‘Imagine spending 28 years of your life there’. None of us will ever forget that feeling.” McGregor, the overall winner echoed that sentiment. “It was unbelievably cool to be able to paddle around Robben Island on Freedom Day,” he said. “We are just about the only sport that can enjoy the privilege of going around Robben Island as a way to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy on Freedom Day and it was very special for all of us.”
Red Bull’s Dusi star Sbonelo Khwela added his enthusiasm to the upbeat mood of the Freedom Day celebrations as he completed the circumnavigation of Robben Island with local Crispin Thompson. At the heart of the event is a campaign to rid the oceans of plastics - a message that will resonate with the record-breaking field of surf ski paddlers in Cape Town for the offshore paddling bonanza this weekend.