Horrific wind tested all the competitors in the Mr. Price Anchor Challenge in Fish Hoek on Saturday. A vicious South Easter which had been blowing for much of the week was the biggest challenge for the competitors and caused the cancellation of the surf ski leg of the race. After surviving a buffeting mountain bike ride through a section of Silvermine and Clovelly, the competitors gathered on Fish Hoek Beach under big bright tents to get ready for the swim. A few spectators leaning at wild angles in an attempt to keep their balance watched with growing respect as the swimmers ran along the beach to launched themselves into a sea that looked like the inside of a giant washing machine. Keeping track of the swimmers from the land in all the white water was almost impossible, but four inflatables patrolling the line of swimmers made sure that everyone was safe. Springbok lifesaver Jasper Mocke won the swimming with an impressive lead over the rest of the field. His brother Dawid, World Champion Surf Skier came second, followed by his wife Nicki Mocke, also a World Champion – a tough family to take on in the sea. The swimming was followed by a 12km run from Fish Hoek Beach and around the Silvermine River Wetland. By then your’s truly had so much sand in her eyes and salt on her glasses, that she cut a hasty retreat.
The event appeared to be incredibly well organized, and one can only hope that the exceptionally strong wind will not be a deterrent for future Anchor Challenges. The Anchor Challenge is an initiative of the Valley Christian Church in Fish Hoek and the proceeds will be shared between the charity’s Empowerment Through Education, Justice Acts and the Prison Broadcasting Network.