Athletes, adventure seekers and families who enjoy an active lifestyle flocked to Hermanus for the HI-TEC Walkerbay Xtreme (WBX), a four-day adventure sports festival from 27 to 30 April.
Recreational athletes as well as members of multi-sport clubs such as Embark, ATC Multisport (Atlantic Triathlon Club) and the Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad made their presence known in the various events on offer, including sprint and off-road triathlons, an open water swim, a swim-run-jump challenge, mountain bike races and running events.
Noticeable was the number of families participating in the sports festival, with shorter distances in the MTB challenge and open water swim, a fun run as well as a junior triathlon catering for younger athletes and beginners.
Two Stellenbosch athletes – XTERRA world champion Brad Weiss and triathlon coach Vicky van der Merwe – were named winners of the Big 6 Xtreme event. This event saw athletes competing in a street mile, 27km MTB race, swim-run-jump challenge, sprint triathlon, open water swim, and trail run.
Brad, who returned to South Africa shortly before the WBX 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 Lakeside, who won an international cross-country title earlier in April. He chased Brad across the finish line in the 27km MTB race and also won the junior category of the Urban Xtreme MTB Criterium later that same day.
2017 Big 6 Xtreme women’s champion Vicky van der Merwe returned to Hermanus to defend her title, bringing with her more than 40 members of the Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad.
“The Walkerbay Xtreme suits me perfectly, because it is a multisport event. It offers so much – it is a family event with a competitive edge,” she said.
Approximately 1400 athletes of all ages and fitness levels – more than 85% of them from outside Hermanus – competed in the events on offer. The Walkerbay Xtreme Sprint triathlon was sold out and the Cliffpath runs were also very popular. Spectators especially enjoyed the Urban Xtreme MTB Criterium in and around the Old Harbour and the See & Sand Swim-Run-Jump Challenge, which required participants to jump from a cliff into the sea.
Ameen Stemmet from Lansdowne, who travelled to Hermanus with a group of about 40 friends and fellow athletes, said they had a fantastic time.
“This year, the organisers took the WalkerBay Xtreme to another level with features like free Wi-Fi and more activities and events for all to participate in. We will definitely be back next year.”
Jamie Day from Noordhoek is also keen to return.
“My favourite event was the See & Sand Swim-Run-Jump Challenge. It was so exciting and the most extreme thing I have ever done, which is what the whole weekend was about. I loved conquering two major fears in one event. The feeling of elation afterwards is indescribable! I will come back again and again.”
The date for next year’s event is 26 – 28 April 2019. For more information, follow Walkerbay Xtreme on Facebook (www.facebook.com/walkerbayxtreme), Twitter (@walkerbayxtreme) or Instagram (@walkerbayxtreme).
- The HI-TEC Walkerbay Xtreme is backed by Old School Group, a leader in Sports Tourism and renowned for their award-winning sporting events. oldschoolgroup.co.za