SA Surf Lifesaving
Westville scholar aims to make global surf lifesaving history
Durban – Westville Boys’ High School pupils Paul van Achterbergh has his
sights set solely on making history later this week when he tackles the
South African Surf Lifesaving Championships from 21-23 March at Addington
Beach and looks to become only the third person globally to win both the
junior and senior men’s Iron man titles at a national champs.
The young Marine Surf Lifesaving Club member claimed victory in the race’s
junior section last year when he strung together a remarkable swim, board,
ski performance which saw him make the top step of the podium his own before
going on to gain senior national colours and representing South Africa at
the senior World Surf Lifesaving Champs later that same year.
Since then van Achterbergh has put in even more work though, particularly on
his weaker of the three disciplines – surfski – in preparation for his
efforts later this week and is determined to do even better in 2013.
“It’s certainly not going to be easy,” admitted van Achterbergh. “There are
some really good guys that will be there this year but I definitely do
believe that I can do it. I’ve worked really hard recently because I knew a
while ago that it was going to take a lot of hard work.”
“It will be all about how quickly I can recover between events, which is
something I’ve been working quite a bit on and hopefully the schedule
doesn’t change too much so that I have a bit of time between events.
“It really would be awesome if I was able to do it, not just to be able to
make history but to be able to prove to myself that it is possible as well
The feat of winning both the senior and junior men’s Iron man titles at the
same national championships is one that only ever been achieved by two
others in the history of surf lifesaving around the world.
South Africa’s very own Oscar Chalupsky became the first ever to achieve the
incredible feat when he claimed both titles at the South African national
champs in 1980 and the local surfski legend was then closely followed by
Australian Grant Kenny who achieve the same feat at the Australian national
champs at Maroochydore Beach just a month later.
With Chalupsky having also attended Westville Boys’ High School some years
ago van Achterbergh feat, should he in fact go on to achieve the remarkable
accomplishment, will itself be a world record as the school becomes the
first in the world ever to boast two athletes to have achieved the unique
“I’ve put in a huge amount of training recently. I’ve done on average about
sixty hours of swimming a week, I’ve really worked hard on the ski side of
things and I’ve also done a bit more Iron man specific training each week.
“I’ve also looked to try work on the smaller details such as the start and
staying with the guys around the can because it’s those things which are key
to doing well at senior level and if you’re on top of them they really help
With the likes of South Africa’s most decorated surf lifesaver Matt Bouman
and members of the national defending champs Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club
all eager to make the both the senior and junior titles their own, van
Achterbergh undoubtedly will have his work cut out for him over the course
of the next three days.
“Nic Notten has been going really well in the juniors and is definitely one
to watch there whilst Matt Bouman and Jaydn Alford-Loots are probably the
biggest threats in the senior race.
“I’ve gotten a lot better myself though since I’ve been training a whole lot
harder so we’ll just have to see.
The 2013 South African Surf Lifesaving Championships are hosted by Marine
Surf Lifesaving Club and take place from Thursday 21 March to Saturday 23
March at Addington Beach with the South African Masters Surf Lifesaving
Championships having preceded the event on Wednesday 20 March.
Click to download the hi-res
Lifesaving South Africa logo - GIF
Marine Surf Lifesaving Club - GIF
Lifesaving Club member and Westville Boys’ High School pupil Paul van
Achterbergh aims to make history at the South African Surf Lifesaving Champs
taking place at Addington Beach in Durban from Thursday 21 March to Saturday
23 March as he seeks become only the third person in history to claim both
the senior and junior men’s Iron man national titles.
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