Athletes flock to Hermanus for Walkerbay Xtreme

One of the most exciting events for participants and spectators alike was the sea and sand Xtreme swim-run-jump challenge on Saturday, which included a cliff jump from Dreunkrans.

Two Stellenbosch athletes – XTERRA world champion, Brad Weiss, and triathlon coach, Vicky van der Merwe – were named winners of the Big 6 Xtreme event at the Walkerbay Xtreme, an adventure sport festival held in Hermanus from Friday April 27 to Monday April 30.

They not only participated in the six events forming part of the Big 6 Xtreme – a street mile, mountain bike race, swim-run-jump challenge, sprint triathlon, open water swim and trail run – but also in the off-road triathlon.

Brad, who recently returned to South Africa after winning the annual XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship elite title in the Philippines, was spending the long weekend in Hermanus with a group of friends.

After learning about the event, a few of them decided to enter.

“It turned out to be a lot more competitive than I thought it would be. Some of the younger guys really challenged me,” he said.

One of these young athletes was 15-year old Luke Moir from Cape Town, who won an international cross-country title earlier in April.

He chased Brad across the finish line in the 27km mountain bike race and also won the junior category of the Urban Xtreme MTB Criterium later that same day.

2017 Big 6 Xtreme champion, Vicky van der Merwe, returned to Hermanus to defend her title, bringing with her more than 40 members of the Stellenbosch triathlon squad to participate in various events.

“The Walkerbay Xtreme suits me perfectly, because it is a multi-sport event. It offers so much – it is a family event with a competitive edge,” she said.

Approximately 1 400 athletes of all ages and fitness levels competed in the events on offer. The Walkerbay Xtreme Sprint triathlon was sold out and the cliff-path runs were also very popular.

Spectators especially enjoyed the Urban Xtreme MTB Criterium in and around the Old Harbour and the sea and sand swim-run-jump challenge, which required participants to jump from a cliff into the sea.

According to Rick Oosthuyzen, one of the organisers of the event, the aim of the sport festival is to boost business in Hermanus and surrounding areas and to showcase what the Overstrand has to offer sport tourists.

“It is the third time that this event was hosted in Hermanus and we had a record number of entries this year.

“Especially noticeable was the number of families who attended the sport festival because it offered something for children, parents and even grandparents,” added Rick.