Durban paddlers Quinton Rutherford and Brett Hadiaris set two new Guinness World Records this week when they paddled from St Lucia to Durban.
The records were for the longest distance paddled: 220km, in a double surfski in 24 hours; and, secondly, for the fastest speed when covering 100 nautical miles (186km), which they achieved in 12 hours. The full distance to Vetch’s Beach in Durban took 15 hours.
The pair set off from St Lucia at dawn on Monday in calm ocean conditions, which was the start of what they described as a “brutal” paddle.
“When we set off, we knew there could be so many unforeseen challenges, such as hitting a shallow bank or the rudder breaking. When we got out, there was no wind so we were paddling in flat conditions.
“It was tough paddling up to Richards Bay, but then we got a downwind for about 100km before it died again. It was exhausting; my petrol was finished at about 200km,” Rutherford quipped.
But as Hadiaris said: “Coming to the end, we both got a second wind and paddled into the finish.”
Rutherford, who also holds two Guinness World Records in a single surfski for the longest distance and fastest speed over 100 nautical miles, said ocean conditions between Zululand and Durban were “conducive to breaking world records”. There was a deep sea current which helped and he challenged paddlers from around the world to come to SA to break his and Hadiaris’ records.
The world record attempt was initially going to be Rutherford with SA champion paddler Hank McGregor last year, but because Rutherford was ill for three weeks, poor ocean conditions and McGregor’s river racing commitments, the attempt was delayed to this year, with McGregor withdrawing and Hadiaris stepping in as the second paddler.
The pair had paddled the tough Gqeberha to East London four-day ultra-marathon last year and with some extra training, were ready to set off this week.
Rutherford said that proper nutrition and hydration, as well as training, were key to setting the new records.
On Thursday night, the sponsored Fenn surfski was raffled at Durban Undersea Club , raising around R150 000 for 7-year-old, Farren Grace, from Durban, who is battling B-Cell Acute Lumphoblastic Leukaemia.
Rutherford said: “The paddling community has been amazing with all their support.”
Yesterday, Farren’s mom, Katie Pillinger, said: “We are super grateful to Quinton and Brett and the whole surfski community in Durban who have been so supportive. When the financial burden is lifted off your shoulders, it has a huge knock-on effect in that we’re not so stressed and this helps Farren in terms of healing.”
She said Farren had been doing well and was heading back to hospital on Monday for her next bout of chemotherapy, which will take place every second week until May.
The record attempt was registered with Guinness World Records and was being scrutinised by their officials who are expected to ratify it soon.
The Independent on Saturday