Africa Marine and Leisure Expo

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This winter, the Africa Marine and Leisure Expo returns to Scottburgh Beach and other venues in the Umdoni area, bringing with it fun for the whole family. Entrance for the Expo will be completely free, and it promises to be a truly special weekend. Theevent, which will be held on August 3 and 4, was born from a desire to link marine conservation concerns with a healthy ocean-based tourism industry. Highlights of the festival include the Scottburgh Powerplay Surf Pro Contest and Tag & Release Fishing competitions.

Initiated by South Coast Tourism, the event is intended to raise awareness of our most valuable natural resource, water. Therefore, exhibitors and attendees at the Expo come from a hugely varied background, bound together by a common interest in the ocean. It promises to be a winter highlight for all those that spend time on the sea, from surfers to bodyboarders, jet-ski fanatics to kiteboarders, and divers to fishermen. In line with the conservation aspect of the event, it will also play host to several of the area’s most prominent marine protection groups and individuals.

The purpose of the African Marine Expo  is to underscore  the tourism asset and beauty of the stretch of  Indian Ocean that touches our shoreline  and to send out a message that everyone should do more to protect this asset. We promise a sea festival that should thrill, educate and entertain the visitor, offering non stop fun for the whole family to enjoy,” commented event organizer Vicky Erasmus from Wozani Africa.

Given the dual focus of the Expo on tourism and conservation, its prime location in the Scottburgh area could not have been better picked. Scottburgh has long beenestablished as a centre for marine tourism on the South Coast, and as the gateway to the world-famous Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area it also sees its fair share of conservation initiatives. The decision to hold the event in such a place was deliberate, as the area already sees some symbiosis between water users and conservation efforts. It is hoped that the outcome of the event will inspire a greater awareness for the fragility of the marine environment amongst the user groups who utilise it the most, and therefore have a tangible impact on protecting our ocean resources for generations to come.

On Saturday and Sunday (3 & 4 August) guests will be treated to a display of top class surfing prowess in the form of the Scottburgh Powerplay Surf Pro contest, which will be held on Scottburgh Main Beach. The competition is sure to be fierce, especially considering the prizes at stake: R30,000 for the winner of the men’s event, and R5,000 for the winner of the women’s. The event is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa. 

For those more concerned with what’s beneath the waves, fishing competitions are scheduled for both days of the Expo. On the Saturday, anglers will launch from Pennington Beach to take part in the African Marine Expo Tag & Release Deep Sea Fishing Competition, for a purse of R10,000 plus product prizes- anyone interested should register on the August 2 at the Pennington Beach Club House.

Sunday’s fishing will be handed over to the children, with the Family Fun Junior Tag & Release Shore Fishing Competition. Registration for this event will take place at 7am on the day, and will cost R20. The junior angling addicts will get to show off their skills on Scottburgh’s Back Beach, and will be competing for exciting prize hampers. The tag and release element of both fishing competitions is intended to highlight that angling can still take place without having a negative impact on the marine environment.

The conservation aspect of the event will be further highlighted by the guest speakers who will be present throughout the weekend, and who will explore the issues facing the KZN coastline in more depth. These speakers include well known scientists, conservationists, divers and underwater photographers to name just a few. 

As if that weren’t enough, there are plenty more attractions on offer at the Expo to make absolutely sure that the weekend is a roaring success for all who attend. There will be a Leisure Expo, showcasing all kinds of products related to having fun on the ocean, from boats to boards to buoys. Guests will be able to cheer on participants in the event’s bodyboarding contest, and be wowed by the riders in the jet-ski demonstrations. For the children, there will be a Marine Mania entertainment programme and festival running for the entire course of the Expo, while those a little older will no doubt enjoy watching the Bikini Fashion Show. All weekend, live bands and DJs will ensure that everyone is in the party mood, making the Expo a truly entertaining and enjoyable experience for all.

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