Ready to race in Trans Agulhas Challenge

Tjaart Oosthuizen and David Barnet on their inflatable boat.

Tjaart Oosthuizen, of Welgemoed, and David Barnet, of Blouberg, hope to come out tops at the Trans Agulhas Challenge.

The race, now in its 30th year, starts at Plettenberg Bay and will see more than 60 inflatable boats battle it out on the waves from Thursday December 28 to Monday January 1.

Mr Oosthuizen and Mr Barnet have been teammates for 15 years – which is a record in this competition.

Mr Oosthuizen had been involved in the sport for 19 years. His friends asked him to be backup on the Trans Agulhas in 1998 — when he was first exposed to the sport.

“This was where I learnt what the sport was all about. I was immediately interested, and the following year I participated in my first Trans Agulhas,” he said.

He crossed paths with Mr Barnet in 2002, when they decided to join forces and start their own team. In that same year, they received both their national and provincial colours and won both the Trans-Atlantic and Trans Agulhas inflatable boat races.

Mr Oosthuizen said they practised throughout the year focusing on cardio and strength exercises.

“We also spend a lot of time on the ocean in a variety of weather and sea conditions as you never know what weather conditions the Trans Agulhas may pose. It is a very demanding race, and we believe 90% of the contribution to our success lies in our preparation both physically and mentally.

“The adrenaline secretion during the race helps you to overcome the physical pain you endure during the race,” said Mr Oosthuizen.