Top contenders announced for the Engen Ballito Downwind surfski race

Engen Ballito Downwind surfski race
Engen Ballito Downwind surfski race

The return of the Engen Ballito Downwind to the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill brings with it some serious competition as top paddlers from the Eastern Cape, brothers Matthew (22) and Joshua (24) Fenn, take on the top local competitors this Sunday, 7 July. This doubles surfski race, from Blythedale to Tiffany’s beaches, forms part of the 55th Ballito Pro festival programme running in KwaDukuza until the 8 July, featuring live entertainment, quality retail, extreme sports, art activations, kids’ activities, and more!

Organisers South Africa Surf Ski are partnering with The Ballito Pro for the event, with new title sponsor, Engen Ballito and perennial surfski sponsors, the Pumpsmiths, supporting the event. Barry Lewin, Event Organiser, said the stage is set for an epic surfski showdown this weekend.

“East London’s Matthew and Joshua Fenn will be taking on the KZN North Coast contenders with intimate knowledge of the local course, for the Engen Ballito Downwind title. The local crew topping the list include winners of the 2024 Leatherback Rum Surfski Challenge and last weekend’s Scottburgh to Brighton, Luke Nisbet and Brent Chiazzari,” says Lewin.

He explained that a third crew includes surprise contenders, the mixed doubles of Hank McGregor and Pippa McGregor. This husband-and-wife power paddling couple from Ballito has notched a number of wins together, including the uMhlanga Pirates race as a mixed doubles team. They also took respective wins in the men’s and women’s races at the 27km Prescient Freedom Paddle around Robben Island.

“The McGregors currently hold the record for a double between Blythedale and Tiffany beaches – the race course – so they will definitely be top contenders,” continues Lewin. “The ladies’ favourites are uMdloti’s Saskia Hockly and Christie Mackenzie, the current KZN Flatwater Marathon Champs who are looking forward to competing on home turf!”

Commenting on the impending race, East London’s Matthew Fenn said: “We are feeling really excited about the race this weekend, we always look forward to going to Ballito to race the guys there. Generally, the locals are in top condition and bring their A-game! We’ve raced a few times on the KZN North and South Coast, we try to race there as much as we can, so we know the area quite well but are looking forward to some tight racing in this competition.”

2024 Engen Ballito Downwind

Course: 18.5kms from Blythedale Beach to Tiffany’s Beach

Date: Sunday, 7 July

Time: 9am

Entry: | R305 (incl. KNCU fees) with a race shirt for the first 50 paddlers to pre-enter

This is a proudly Ballito Pro event presented by The Pumpsmith, South Africa Surf Ski, and Engen Ballito.

2024 Ballito Pro Festival Lineup

Outside of the surfing and surfski action, visitors to this year’s Ballito Pro will enjoy two weeks of non-stop festival fun at the longest-running professional surfing event in the world. Some exciting 2024 festival elements include:

  • Ballito Pro Music Concerts Presented by Corona
  • Recreational Action
  • Corona Sunset Beach Bar Sessions
  • Retail Delight with food, drinks, arts and crafts
  • Kids’ Corner with face painting, sandcastle building, beach dashes, and Jive with Jen dance
  • Battle of the DJs and After Dark programme
  • Monster Energy Activation
  • iLembe Surf Riders Fundraiser
  • After Dark Programmes and Parties
  • Painting on Purpose Art Activation
  • Litter4Tokens Awareness Campaign and Beach

Following the 2024 theme, This is the Battlefield – Lena Inkundla Yempi, visitors will watch the best surfers battle it out in the longest-running professional surfing event while enjoying a host of top-class festival entertainment.

Don’t miss any of the action at the 2024 Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival #thisisthebattlefield #lenainkudlayempi

Watch LIVE The Challenger Series will be broadcast LIVE on, the free WSL app, and the WSL’s YouTube channel. Also, check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners.


To find out more about The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill festival programme, visit:






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