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Issue 2 2019 Apr / May

i s Du Guts & glory


Remounting a Ski Rudderless Paddling Get Seated

Atlantic Ocean Race KAYAK




Full Calendars

IMAGE Graham Daniel


12 Dusi 2019 20 #firstdusi a novice tells all 36 dotcloud New system for CSA

38 Sprint cup 43 onward & upward Sports4Life

66 canoe polo champs 68 putting down roots


freedom paddle double series 26 atlantic ocean surfski 53 and then i got high 57 west coast canoe challenge 59 little fish 61 coolest race in town 63 paddling race for everyone


10 tidbits News! News! News! 47 Opinion To Rudder or not to Rudder

72 74

paddling tips Take a Seat Get back on your horse, we mean boat 80 Out and about 88 Calendars 98 view from the back of the boat

on the cover


IMAGE EVENT FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon 2019 PHOTOGRAPHER Graham Daniel ATHLETE Christie McKenzie Send your letters to

FIND us on the WEB FB @thepaddlemag PUBLISHER Terrence Pomeroy-Ward AD SALES DESIGNER Tracy Ward ADMIN PUBLISHED ON

27 April | 27km around Robben Island


We certainly are a resilient lot; when load shedding struck we made a plan and went paddling. When lotto funding dried up other sponsors got up and got the Matties development team all the way to Shongweni Dam so that they could put all their hours of practice to good use. Huge congratulations to Cassandra and Don for all the work that you did.

When Hank McGregor had that misfortune on day one of the FNB Dusi Canoe marathon he continued and finished in an impressive 23rd spot. What was even more astounding is that he posted the second fastest time on day 2 and finished 11th overall on the day. We are a bit like a staffie that run through the mud and then shakes itself afterwards, yes he still has mud on him but not nearly as much as before. Looking ahead, our athletes that are hoping to represent us at World Sprints, Marathons and Open Ocean Racing in the near future must flinch each time they watch the news and see the Rand/ Dollar/ Pound o what the hell just about every other currency in world exchange rate. But one thing is certain if the fist Sprint Cup is anything to go by,

a word or two Dear Editor,

Thank you for a great mag, we have not had this type of communication since the demise of SA Paddler. Thank you for your article on safety, I did not realise that I could use safetrx to keep track my husband or sons while they are off shore and I will certainly make sure that they always have bright clothing on from now on. While that is great, it would take the NSRI at least an hour to reach us one the mayday signal goes out.What I would like to know is what can my family do to help themselves? Tim’s story about his rescue has got me quite worried.



the standard of competition is climbing. So this is going to be an amazing year of racing and paddling. On a lighter note we have a lot to look out for in the coming months. The Orange Decent takes place over the Easter Weekend and by all accounts the water is clean albeit a little low at this point. The following weekend sees the second running of The Freedom Paddle where enterprising paddlers will sit on matchsticks made of fibreglass ad attempt to take on the mighty Atlantic Ocean as they head around our iconic Robben Island. The very next day is the SA Singles race to be run from the Stand (luckily the water is slightly warmer that side). Paddlers will have just have enough time to get the sand out of their shorts before they grab their even skinner boats and prepare for their provincial marathon trials. This year’s SA Marathons are being held at Cradle Moon in Gauteng and it looks to be a stunning venue. The guys in Gauteng are already forming Whatapp groups and sending out meeting requests so it is certainly going to be super organised. Ed.

Ed: Thank you for your letter, we am glad that you are enjoying the read.You are right, we get a number of enquiries asking similar questions; the most common of which is ‘how do you get back on to a double ski?’ I went off to Ian from Go Downwind to find out and his answer was ‘as soon as we fall off we will let you know!” so we have embarked on a series of self-rescue tips of the next six months starting with three methods of remounting your ski. I do hope that it helps.

PG 74

e o n a C s A p S am h C n o h t n a o o r M e a M itage, Cradl r e H e k a L

15 - 17 June


Versatile, waterproof, user friendly car seat cover that protects your seats from sweat, water, dust and dirt.

Kevin is an established surfski paddler, having completed three Cape Point Challenges. He is motivated by technique and boat speed, and can often be seen on the water perfecting his stroke or at the gym working on his fitness. He has authored and published a number of books of surfski. They are available in epub, pdf or kindle formats. Google ‘surfski book’ for the links.

peter roussouw Peter has a number of Dusi’s and Fish Marathons to his name and many of the local river races. He served as Chairman of JCC for years and Marathon Chairman for Gauteng for 9 years and for CSA for a year. He has organised events for many years, including the Vaal Marathon. Pete is the founder of Sports4life.

Natali Coetzee Natali is an avid photographer and writer, but she’d just as soon exchange the tools of the trade for a paddle and canoe. Rapids still terrify her, but sometimes, she’ll face those fears. She believes that everyone needs encouragement, and will happily cheer on all other paddlers.


Tracy-Lee a born teacher who runs two Kip McGrath Education Centres. She is an avid scuba diver and surfer. This has extended to the river where she loves the rapids and hates the flat water. She paddles at 5am in the mornings to keep a balance between work and life.


Don is the National u21 mens canoe polo coach and heads up canoe polo in the Western Cape. He is a former national and African champion in canoe slalom and has raced in everything from extreme-kayaking to flatwater sprints.




Writer of paddling books; designer and manufacturer of some of the most innovative kayaks on the market; expedition paddler with descents on four continents; veteran of races like Dusi, Fish and Berg; freestyle kayaker representing SA at World Championships; safety kayaker and raft guide on various rivers in Africa and Europe; ex-competitor in canoe polo and raft racing; experienced in open canoeing, surfski, slalom, wildwater racing and oar rafting; mechanical engineer with intimate understanding of fluid dynamics; reluctant coach and eternal student.

LISA DE SPEVILLE 20-years ago Lisa de Speville discovered the sport of adventure racing, which was her first introduction to paddling. Lisa now lives in the town of Parys on the Vaal River. She enjoys hard-andfast flatwater paddling from the canoe club and leisurely tripping the whitewater section from the town with friends. Homemade flapjacks and crunchy apples are her favourite river-trip snack foods.

ROB MOUSLEY Rob Mousley won the Cape Town Surfski Series “Most Enthusiastic Paddler of the Year” award in 2005, and nothing’s changed since then. When the southeaster blows, he’s usually to be found on the world renowned Miller’s Run, which is conveniently located near his home in Cape Town. Having been involved in a number of rescues over the years, he’s become a keen advocate for safety in surfski paddling.


Cassandra has coached the Maties development canoeing team for two years now. She has enjoyed a number of marathon events and has dabbled in sprints. Her passion is sharing her knowledge and skills through her work with youth at risk.


Graham Daniel Celliers Kruger Cape Town Sports Photography Canoe South Africa Louis Hattingh

Clarie Farringer Velddrif Tourism Atlantic Ocean Surfski Gauteng Canoe Union Little Fish Photos By Carolyn J Cooper

TIDBITS WORLD SURFSKI SERIES Introducing the World Surfski League: 6 Races, 5 continents, US$300 000 total prize pool Races will take places in USA, Ireland, Hong Kong, South Africa, Australia. More information will be released in the next few weeks.

South african canoe marathon championships We are looking forward to another awesome SA Marathon Championships over the weekend of 15-17 June 2019.

Dabulamanzi Canoe Club will be hosting at the stunning Cradle Moon in Gauteng.

CANOE SA Canoe will be introducing exciting new systems that should really improve registrations etc. Read about it on page

2 June 2019 Keep a look out for events in your area!

KHWELA WINS 9TH NON-STOP CROWN Sbonelo Eric Khwela has once again claimed the infamous Non-Stop Dusi crown - for the unprecedented ninth ‘time! Finishing in a time of 8:17:07!


IMAGES Graham Daniel

i s u D

Guts & glory 12 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA



We are blessed to have a number of really great river races on our calendar, but the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon has a special place in most of our minds as one of the races to do. There are a number of reasons for this: The first reason for this is probably the amount of effort that it takes to simply finish the Dusi; with three days of paddling and running there is simply nowhere to hide if the Christmas puddings are still sitting on your waist. The next must be the war stories as each paddler recounts how they either survived or did not against their nemesis rapid. For those that have traditionally paddled a safe race there are new rapids to shoot and for those that paddle every rapid the goal is to once again get through unscathed. The third reason is that you know that even if you are having a bad day there is someone on the river that is also having a bad day. After a low Drak and 50Miler, paddlers were doubtful about whether there would be enough water in the uMsunduzi River to make it worth entering. There were lots of questions being asked; will there be a release from Henley, Nagel and most importantly Inanda dams.

Day 1 The doubters were quickly silenced as Pietermaritzburg awoke to a full uMsunduzi River with water pouring over the sides at Ernie Pierce Weir. It is always an inspiring opportunity to be at the start of the Dusi and look across to see who has made it in to the seeded rows. There are some of South Africa’s great paddlers like Hank McGregor (3 wins) and Andy Birkett (8 wins) and

absolute Dusi stalwarts; Sbonelo Khwela and Thulani Mbanjwa (who still holds the record for the fastest K2). Right next to them are the upcoming challengers; Stewart Little, Banetse Khwela, Clinton Cook and Siseko Ntondini to name but four. Last year the young upstarts Jordan and Cana Peek whipped the carpet from underneath their competitions feet win they came flying through to take the win in the woman’s race. The women’s line up looked very similar to the men, with Dusi champions in the form of Bridgitte Hartley, Jenna Ward, Christie Mackenzie and Robyn Owen (5 wins) lining up next to Nikki Birkett (making a charge to get back in to form) and women looking to make their mark on river paddling for example Amy Peckett and Melanie Van Niekerk and SA Sprinter Donna Hutton. Euro Steel ace Hank McGregor made his intentions known right from the start as he shot of the starting line and managed to outsprint the younger paddlers to lead the charge down Ernie Pearce Weir and through FNB Weir (old YMCA Weir) closely followed by Andy Birkett, Sbonelo Khwela and Thulani Mbanjwa. Hank lead the way up until Taxi Rapid when it appears he hit a rock at the bottom and swam. The jolt from the impact broke his footplate leaving him struggling through the rest of the day. Euro Steel’s Andy Birkett was quick to capitalise on the mistake and took the lead and shot off down the river determined to make this race his own. But the Euro Steel/Red Bull star Sbonelo Khwela still had a trick up his sleeve and at the bottom of Campbells Portage put in a burst of speed and seized the lead. Sbonelo kept up the relentless speed all the way to the

finish of day one giving him the top step for the first time in his career. Sbonelo managed to finish 1:20 ahead of Andy Birkett who finished just over four minutes ahead of Thulani Mbanjwa. Hank McGregor made a remarkable recovery from his misfortune to finish a very respectable 23. In the women’s race it was Amy Peckett (U18) who was first off the mark but was outsprinted by Euro Steel/ Varsity Collage’s Christie Makenzie just before Ernie Pearce Weir leaving them to go down the weir together. Christie then held on to the lead through Campbells and the dreaded guinea fowl portages all the while being charged down by Tamika Haw, herself a podium finisher of the Dusi. She took a swim above Mission Rapid allowing Tamika to seize the lead. Tamika pinned her ears back and pushed even harder to keep the lead which she did all the way to the finish. Christie threw everything at it to catch Tamika and ran exceptionally well up cabbage portage to finish only 32 seconds behind Tamika. Surprisingly Jenna Ward clearly not having a good race came trailing behind the race leaders to take 3rd about a minute ahead of Amy Peckett.

Day 2 Day two of the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon is 42km long. It is undoubtedly a paddlers’ day with rapids in quick succession for example Confluence - Washing Machine – Cascades – Jaws and Gumtree – Thombi – Hippo. The paddlers were in for an exciting day before the trek around Inanda Dam to get to the finish. In recent years this has been a tough section with THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 15

the low water making it technical negotiating through the rapids and very tough on the long flat sections. But 2019 was not one of those years! The paddlers were greeted by a full river as the mist in the valley started to clear. New paddlers to the Dusi were in for a day that they will remember for years to come. It was nearly impossible to predict the winners of day two at the start with the men and women’s races leaders having narrow margins going in to the day and anything can happen on the river. Sbonelo took off at the starter’s gun knowing that he needed to maintain the gap between himself and Andy. Unfortunately it was not enough and by the time he went under the bridge at Marianni-Foley Causeway


Andy had caught up the 1:20 minute lead and was right on his tail. The two ran neck and neck up Nqumeni Hill. But there were still the traditional ‘Big 3’ coming up and Thombi has caught Andy up before. At the last little rapids before the dam Euro Steel athlete Andy Birkett was clearly in the lead and the World Marathon Champ was simply unstoppable as he stretched the lead to a full five minutes on Sbonelo. Thulani Mbanjwa on the other hand was having a relatively lonely day on the river cementing himself in to third place. Elapsed time is a strange animal because it can hide paddlers that have a storming day but got lost in the field due to their day one results. As expected, Andy Birkett

had the fastest day followed by his K2 World Marathon Champs partner, Hank McGregor. They were followed by Sbonelo then another Euro Steel competitor Andrew Houston and Stewart Little. Hanks effort took him from 23rd at the end of Day 1 to 11th at the end of day two. In a race where everyone is leaving it all on the river, climbing that many positions is a mammoth achievement. In the ladies race Tamika Haw powered off the starting line as though she was doing a 500m sprint and not in for 42km haul. Christie Mackenzie was right behind her and quickly settled in to her stroke that took all the way to World Marathon Champs last year. The Euro Steel rising star was quickly on Tamika’s

heels and away they went together in cat and mouse game that would last all day. Although Christie took two swims, one at washing machine and then another soon after that at gauging weir she managed to catch Tamika at the start of Nqumeni Hill and so the pair set off together. They exchanged places regularly through the Big 3 and going through Marriotts. In the last set of rapids before the dam Christie managed to get the jump on Tamika and set off across the dam in pursuit of her maiden K1 victory. Tamika followed her stroke for stoke but after such a long hard fought day had to settle for second place by one second. Tamika 1 – Christie 1. It would all come down to day three in the ladies race! In 3rd place and six minutes behind the leaders came

Jenna Ward who was recovering from her day one, and two minutes behind her was Amy Peckett.

Day 3 The day began to the fantastic news that there were 11 cumecs of ice cold water pouring out of the bottom of Inanda Dam. Day three of the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon was going to be paddlable all the way home. Only the top contenders and those with irreparable damage to their boats would be walking over Burma Road today. Day three is 32km long with about 22km of wonderful rapids and then a 10km haul across the mud flats as the river winds its way to the finish at

Blue Lagoon. Going in to the men’s race Euro Steel Andy Birkett had a five minute lead on Euro Steel/Red Bull sponsored athlete Sbonelo Khwela. By his own admission, Andy had been man down during the night and so he was starting day three short of the form he wanted to be in to claim his 9th crown. Almost 10 minutes behind them was Euro Steel Stalwart Thulani Mbanjwa and five minutes behind him was David Evans (U18). Andy paddled a flawless race setting his own pace at the front but right behind him, Sbonelo who was flying! His swim in the middle of Tops Needle only seemed to spur him on. He floated over the rapids and simply flew up and down Burma Road to post the



Highest number of Dusi’s completed: Lyle Wheeler

897 Total Number of Paddlers

610 Total Number of Canoes

324 K1 Canoes Started

289 K1 Canoes Finished

286 K2 Canoes Started

262 K2 Canoes Finished


K3 Canoes Starte & Finished 18 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

fastest time of the day of 2:28:29. At one stage he had diminished Andy’s lead to less than two minutes. In the end though it was left to the Euro Steel front-runner to paddle in to the finish on his own and take the win of the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon 2019 and in so doing add an outstanding 9th win to his tally. Euro Steel / Red Bulls Sbonelo Khwela came romping home two minutes later followed by Thulani Mbanjwa to complete the podium positions. In the ladies race the battle between Tamika and Christie was unrelenting. They crossed the dam exchanging places, Tamika got through Tops Needle first only to be caught by the time they got to Umzinyathi. Up and down Burma Road they both charged – both determined to finally claim the top step of the podium. Tamika needed to put a gap between her and Christie before Mango Rapid because after that was Christies home ground; she knew every bend, every sandbank and she had the distances perfectly worked out. But no matter how hard Tamika tried to shake her, Christie just hug on, waited for the interval to finish and then put in her own! In the end it came down to an end sprint to the absolute delight of the spectators gathered on the banks. The crowds erupted as people screamed and cheered for their favourite. In the end it was Euro Steel/ Varsity Collage star Christie Mackenzie who positioned herself well for the end sprint and managed to keep it up all the way home to claim her maiden win and become the youngest woman to ever win the FNB Dusi Cane Marathon. Christie 2 – Tamika 1. What a race! The surprise of the day came when Amy Peckett (U18) came flying in 5 minutes later to claim the 3rd step of the podium just ahead of Jenna Ward in 4th place.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS Men 1.Andy Birkett 8:09:48 2.Sbonelo Khwela 8:11:55 3.Thulani Mbanjwa 8:29:07 4.Khumbulani Nzimande 8:32:21 5.Andrew Houston 8:32:25 6.Carl Floscher 8:34:54 7.David Evan (U18) 8:35:54 8.Stewart Little (U23) 8:41:55 9.Hank McGregor 8:43:00 10.Mpilo Zondi (U23) 8:43:35 Women 1.Christie Mackenzie (U23) 10:00:11 2.Tamika Haw 10:00 12 3.Amy Peckett (U18) 10:28:07 4.Jenna Ward 10:28:09 5.Nikki Birkett 10:55:09 6.Tracey Oellermann (U23) 11:23:11 7.Cara Waud (U18) 11:28:37 8.Shannon Parker-Dennison (U18) 11:58:52 9.Kim Peek 12:41:27 10.Melissa van Rooyen 13:02:59


#firstdusi I felt like an idiot when I heard myself saying the cliché, “I have always wanted to do the Dusi!” on my date with the Rivergod after he told me he had done 28 Dusis! Then I found myself on our 4th date behind him paddling in a K2 time trial at Blue Lagoon. Three weeks later I seconded him in the Dusi and I announced I was paddling the Dusi in 2019. Two months later I had passed my paddling proficiency. I learnt from the likes of Jan de Neef, Lyle Wheeler, Nicolette Crozier and, my Rivergod, Terence Galloway. I am a strong Leo who does not get nervous, but diarrhoea had gripped me on the day of registration. We were well prepared because Rivergod has taught me, “Luck favours the prepared.” So what was this? I had my Nyami Nyami around my neck and my Rivergod in our boat. We were in the 25year batch. I was taken by surprise when I heard John Oliver over the loudspeaker, “Go at your own pace.” No canon to pierce my ears? We were off to Ernie Pierce Weir. Right brace and I heard, “Well done, babes.” Off to the FNB Weir and the nerves were gone. We had two holes in our boat and had to repair them on the side of the river numerous times during the day. This was disconcerting to do a crash course in boat repair on my first day. Our boat went in for repairs overnight and we got full body massages so we could 20 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

sleep well that night. What was also disconcerting were the partners that were fighting with each other in their boats. I had numerous people tell me Dusi makes or breaks marriages and friendships. Rivergod and I were newlyweds. He taught me that the driver is in control and makes all decisions. I only got one splash of water in my face when I did not listen at Maze. Plus I got ditched literally on Valentine’s Day! We were running down Geoff’s Rd when Rivergod swerved for a car which resulted in me jumping out of the way of our boat and landing in a ditch. He continued to run down the gravel road while I got up, dusted off and ran after him like nothing had happened. I have been taught you get up and carry on! On day three at one of the water holes before Dog’s Leg Rivergod wanted me to finish driving the boat. I said, “No, you got me this far down the river, you will get me to the finish.” Our marriage was strengthened during Dusi. On day two my nerves were still there. I had my regular Futurelife, Sunlife Vitamin B-shot, boiled egg and banana for breakfast. I could not wait to see the Confluence. In hindsight, I should have. As we went over just after Rivergod pointed out the two rivers running into each other. I thought that my days were numbered but my river safety skills kicked in and I landed

up hugging a rock in the middle of the river panting profusely. I heard a man saying repeatedly to Rivergod, “How are you going to get to her?” He replied calmly, “I will get to her.” Then I found myself climbing up the big rock and into my seat once Rivergod approached me. We continued with holes in our boat again. At Ngumeni repair station, they were repaired properly. As we hit the water I realised they missed a hole. So there we were, repairing a hole again on the riverbank. The river tries your patience and resilience. As a teacher, I knew I had these traits but I found that I had more than I knew I had. Paddling has definitely brought out traits in me that are not emphasised daily. I knew I had determination but I never knew that my determination would hold me through 120km of pure adrenalin pumping paddling. Most people portage Slide and this was not the case with Rivergod. So when I looked backed and saw what I had just paddled over I was in awe. It puzzled me as to why people portage at this point. Yes, I was in repeatedly in awe of what I had done over these three days. My mother seconded and was in awe of her daughter constantly. I must say that seconds are not thanked. Without them, we would not be able to successfully paddle the mighty Dusi River. It is a relief to get a banana, salted potato, water thrown over you and your bottle


filled. Not to mention the words of encouragement when you are at the end of your tether. It is also imperative that your partner is supporting you 100% of the way. So when I got, “Well done babes.” And “nicely done.” I knew that I would continue and finish. There are times when you think that the river is going to beat you, pull you down and spit you out. However, if you ensure that your mind, body and soul are in tune with each other you will conquer the mighty Msunduzi River. As Rivergod says “Luck favours the prepared”. Have your mind in tune with your paddling goals, train, complete safety courses, choose the right partner, choose the right seconds and just do it! Inanda Dam was my “brick wall.” If I had to go round one


more corner I was going to scream so loud that the birds’ ears hurt. Rivergod thought this was hilarious until he felt me wane. He advised me to take out my Sunlife energy sachet. That saved me and got me to the finish of day two. My father-in-law decided to repair our boat overnight. A wise decision as we had no holes on day three. But I did have to conquer Inanda Dam again. Luckily there were no corners. Oh my, what crystal clear water to paddle! I must say the valley is the most stunning place to be. We are so fortunate to have such a rich and diverse country to explore. The Msunduzi River showed me all her magnificent glory for three days while I struggled to paddle this forgiving and unforgiving river. The

tears started streaming down my face as we paddled the last 2km of the river. It was surreal having absolute strangers clapping and cheering as we paddled the last stretch to the finish. My only wish is that I savoured the finish a little bit longer than I did. However, I know that I will be doing this repeatedly so I will savour it next time. My father was at the finish congratulating me with disbelief on his face because he thought I was kidding when I said I was competing in the Dusi. Valentine’s Day in the Galloway household will never be the same again. Rivergod will complete his 30th and I will complete my 2nd in 2020, and so it will continue for years to come. TRACY-LEE GALLOWAY

the first choice for paddler’s seconds There is not much that will deter an avid paddler or outdoor enthusiast from seeking their next thrill. The icy chill of the water in the early morning as it hits your skin, the adrenalin rush as you face the rapids, the surge as you push forward to the backline - there is little that can beat that feeling. Knowing that your journey to the water is covered adds to the excitement. The certainty that there will be no terrain too tough for your Dunlop Grandtrek tyres puts your mind at ease. The confidence that your seconder will get you to the drop off point and navigate their way to the pickup, puts your focus back where it should be – on the water. The iconic Dunlop tyre brand, manufactured by Sumitomo Rubber South Africa Pty (Ltd) (SRSA), offers the outdoor adventurer a comprehensive range of trusted, no-nonsense, all-terrain tyres ideal for on- and off-road exploration. Whether your journey involves highway, off-road terrain – or even mud terrain, the fully comprehensive Grandtrek range rises to meet the challenge of even the most extreme topography. “The tyre of choice for 4X4 enthusiasts embarking on off-road jaunts, the Grandtrek AT3G was put through its paces in mid-2017 and again in late 2018 by worldrenowned professional adventurer Peter van Kets and photo-journalist Jacques Marais during their Beyond the Desert Edge and Beyond the Rift expeditions,” says Riaz Haffejee, CEO of SRSA.

through sandy and rocky desert terrain, grasslands, indigenous forests, bamboo thickets, tea plantations and mountain rain forests with ease. Peter van Kets said; “It was very reassuring for us to use Dunlop tyres again - it meant we knew we could trust our equipment 100% when the chips were down in a remote rainforest, thousands of kms from backup.” According to van Kets, the tyres showed only minor scuffing after the first expedition, with very little wear after the gruelling journey hammering over some of the most inhospitable terrain - from the soft desert sand interspersed with alluvial rock to the rock-strewn ascents – of the Namib desert, yet not one of the tyres was destroyed. “The excellent performance of this tyre can be attributed to the fact that Dunlop constantly seek to enhance our range to meet the needs of even the most demanding enthusiast while always prioritising safety,” Haffejee said. “In the case of the Grandtrek AT3G this has played out with the development of the technologically advanced 3-ply sidewall, which offers additional protection against damage and the stone ejectors – making this tyre an excellent choice for exploration in even the toughest terrain” he adds.

IMAGE Jacques Marais

When heading off-road or visiting outlying destinations where support may not be easily accessible, it is important to ensure that your tyres are in top condition. Dunlop Grandtreks are the With Dunlop as a key sponsor, the two expeditions best out there and lets you take your adventure – covered approximately 20000kms of the harshest anywhere. Go ahead and Take the Road. terrain across the African continent and saw the AT3G tyres surpass all expectations, journeying


Dunlop Freedom Paddle

Doubles Series


The definition of paddling heaven? A 30kt – gusting 36kt – southeaster in False Bay, long, clean waves and a doubles race on the (in)famous Miller’s Run course. Yeeeeeeha! 2018 saw the inaugural Freedom Paddle race, held on Freedom Day (27 April) with the course around Robben Island - to commemorate South Africa’s most important public holiday. That race was an overwhelming success, with paddlers coming to Cape Town from all around the country. The weather played ball and a brisk head-on northwester challenged the paddlers on the way out to the island and gave them some runs home again on the way back. Doubles Series, presented by Dunlop Race organizer Robin Tindall then came up with the idea of the Freedom Paddle doubles series, to be held in the months leading up to the 2019 race. Aside from the sheer fun of it, the series would help the paddlers train for the main event. “Dunlop Tires kindly stepped up to sponsor the series,” said Tindall. “Huge thanks to Evan Ridge, GM of Dunlop Western Cape.” The first race of the inaugural Freedom Paddle Doubles Series was held on 27 January, 2019, hosted by the Fish Hoek Beach Sports Club. “One of the innovations that we brought to the series,” said Tindall, “was to retain flexibility as to venue and course. We have a set of clubs who volunteered to host the races, but with the understanding that we’d only choose

the venue a week before – as soon as we have an indication of the weather forecast.” A second innovation is that points are awarded to individual paddlers – allowing for the inevitable crew changes.

Race 1 - Fish Hoek At the end of January, it was clear that a howling southeaster was on the way and Fish Hoek was selected for the venue. Hopes rose and fell with the forecast, which fluctuated wildly in the days leading up to the race, but Sunday came and with it “proper” Miller’s Run conditions. For safety reasons and to enable control of the swarm of adrenalin pumped racers, the start was on the north side of Miller’s Point, giving a race distance of around 11km. What a race: the leading boat, Mark Keeling and Alan Houston, finished in just 37:02, over a minute ahead of second placed Ernst van Riet and Graeme Solomon. The women’s race was won by Bianca Beavitt and Melanie van Niekerk in 41:09. The writer and his partner did it in 43:27 and can honestly say that it was the most exhilarating doubles race he’s ever done. The runs were massive, the sequences endless, the wind howled, the spray flew, and the mountainous waves rumbled and crashed behind us. You get the idea. It was extraordinarily fun.

Race 2 – Strand The Strand Surf Lifesaving Club hosted us for the second series race on 17 February. The longed-for SSE (which enables one of the best downwind routes in the Cape from Rooi Els to Strand) didn’t come to the party, but the route planners made the best of a moderate SE by sending us from THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 25

Gordon’s Bay to Steenbras Point and back and then downwind to Strand. The overwhelming aspect of this course is the sheer beauty of the paddle along the cliffs to Steenbras Point. Tactical decisions were important: on the way out, if you went wide you could catch some small bumps (and we overtook our arch-rivals, immensely satisfying) while on the way back it was vital to stay as close to the rocks as possible to avoid the gusts of wind sweeping down the sheer cliffs. Local knowledge played a key role on the downwind leg to the club at Strand; it’s a fine art to catch the small, diagonal runs and we were


overtaken by several crews who made much more efficient use of them. Coming into the beach at Strand you have to take the right line to avoid being dumped by the shore break; happily, there was little surf to upset those whose skills are lacking in this area (like me). Stu Maclaren and Kenny Rice surprised no-one at all by hammering the rest of the field by nearly three minutes, covering the 17-odd km in just 1:10:45. The result of the day though was the second-placed overall and winning mixed-double crewed by Jessica Pollock and Nic Notten. Bianca Beavitt and Melanie van Niekerk cemented their positions at the top of the standings by winning the women’s race for the second time.

Race 3 – Back to Fish Hoek The Cape weather is nothing if not changeable and, having had one outstanding downwind, a combo grind/downwind, it was clearly time for an utterly flat, honest challenge. The Fish Hoek Beach Sports Club hosted again, and the race directors sent us with the gentle northwester via Roman Rock down to Spaniard Rock, half way between Simon’s Town and Miller’s Point. Rounding the rock, we returned along the shoreline, rounding the Navy Diving School’s “jungle gym” in Simon’s Town before heading back to Fish Hoek. The fleet split into slipstreaming groups shortly after leaving Fish

Hoek Bay; to our initial advantage, my partner and I found ourselves in the second group behind the leaders… but by the time we reached the lighthouse, my partner was having a heart attack and my lungs had long since been ejected onto the front deck. We backed off (just a fraction, and to the disgust of Eugene van der Westhuizen who was leading the singles race) and hooked a ride on a saner (slower) double that came past a few minutes later on its own. We managed to slip that double, clinging on by the skin of our teeth every time they put in an interval, almost all the way to Fish Hoek, finally hitting the wall about 2km from the finish. Several other doubles, paddled by callow and

uncouth youngsters promptly passed us at high speed, but we just managed put in another heartstopping interval to finish a few seconds in front of the remarkably fresh-looking Bianca Beavitt and Jessica Pollock. A few beers later, courtesy of the friendly club barman, we were talking up our performance and looking back fondly at what had actually been another fun dice. Kenny Rice and Stu Maclaren took their second series win in 1:24:36, just over a minute ahead of second placed Mark Keeling and Alan Houston. Bianca Beavitt and Jessica Pollock dominated the women’s race to win in 1:35:51.

for the doubles events,” said series director Robin Tindall. “And we’re up to 256 paddlers signed up so far for the Freedom Paddle on 27 April. “A huge thank-you to Rich Kohler, my organizing partner-in-crime; to Terrence and the team at FHBSC and Herbert and Armand at Strand for hosting us - and to Dunlop for sponsoring us; without them, it just wouldn’t happen.” The Freedom Paddle takes place on 27 April, with the final race in the series happening on 12 May.

“It’s been fantastic to see the support rob mousley



IMAGES Supplied by Atlantic Ocean Surfski



Paddling in paradise

Lanzarote, Canary Islands The race takes place on the leeward coast of Lanzarote, Spain. The spot is a paradise for watersport due to conditions and its weather (21ºC on average all year round). It has a unique format with a one day 40km downwind course split onto three legs: • LEG 1 Arrieta-Costa Teguise, 17km • LEG 2 Costa Teguise- Arrecife, 10km • LEG 3 Arrecife- Puerto del Carmen, 13km Last year’s winners were Hayley Jo-Nixon (RSA) and Jasper Mocke (RSA) and in 2017 Angie Le Roux (FRA) and Sean Rice (GBR). took the win. This year was a huge success since the entries were full (180) with almost a month before the entries closed. The Canary Islands are known for their trade winds that blow the whole year round (Alisios, NE wind from the NorthAtlantic Ocean) but this year the wind was missing on the first leg although there were still some good bumps since there’s always a bit of movement from the swell which is also a common feature of this archipelago. The second leg had a bit more of downwind with 0.5 m bumps for most of the course and a flat section to make it spectacular for the public coming into Arrecife. The third leg was great too, with people trying to squeeze the last bit of power from their exhausted bodies. The really exciting thing about having three legs within a race is anyone can have a cracker of a comeback at any stage of the race and upset the podium positions. In the final analysis every second

counts in determining the winners and those that are allowed to continue on to the next leg of the race.

off determined to close the deficit on Rice and certainly managed to keep the pressure on. But Rice, using all his downwind experience, was able to hang on to the lead. To Here is how it works: there is a Harbrcht’s credit he finished less cut off after each leg of 50 minutes than a minute behind Rice. Medina from the time that the first paddler showing signs of fatigue after the arrives. If you get to the beach after fast paced first leg finished forty the allotted time you are eliminated seconds behind the leaders but did from the race and may not continue. very well to hang on to third place. The next leg starts 60 – 75 minutes after the first ski has got to shore. The third leg was always going to This gives the last paddlers just be a royal battle with the question enough time to refuel and get their of fitness and ability to recover strength back. paying a huge part. The paddlers had already effectively completed Sean Rice (2017 winner) (GBR) two races before that set off on put the hammer down from the the third leg. So the question in start of the first leg and looked everyone’s mind was whether Rice’s determined to reclaim his crown two and a half minute lead enough but he was hounded all the way by going in to this leg? And there were a very strong Gordan Harbrecht other paddlers like Yannik Laosse (GER) and ‘local’ Esteban Medina (FRA) and Walter Bouzan (ESP) that (ESP) who were clearly not going to had been knocking on the podium give up without a titanic battle. The door in the first two legs – could level of competition makes for very they put in a late charge and upset exciting racing at the front end but the order? Harbrecht lived up to his it also makes it a tough challenge for nickname ‘Flash’ Gordon and using those that are hoping to just make his sprinting experience laid down the 50 minute cut-off. Rice took the the track for others to follow in first leg by just under a minute and the third leg. He finished just over a half from Harbrecht and Medina a minute ahead of Rice who was was only six seconds behind him. having a phenomenal race by all In the second leg Harbrecht set accounts. In third place was Nicolas THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 31

Lamert (FRA) who had been steady climbing through the ranks going from 12th in the first leg, 7th in the second to 3rd in the third. This late charge forced Medina in to 4th place and the ever solid Bouzan in to 5th for the leg. In the end it was Rice who having won the first two legs had an unassailable lead which put him in 1st place on the podium followed by Harbrecht in 2nd and Medina in 3rd. In the ladies race the smart money was always going to be on either Hayley Nixon (RSA) the 2018 ladies winner or Angie Le Roux (FRA) the 2017 winner to take the win as they have both been in fantastic form lately. But this is three races in one so anything can happen on the day! And it did happen in the ladies race. Nixon opened her innings with a wonderful win in the first leg showing why she is currently the world’s leading lady coming in in a super time of 1:19:07. But it was the second place of Judit Verges (ESP) who came out of nowhere to clinch second place more than one and a half minutes ahead of the other favourite Angie Le Roux. This was the first of the upsets. In the second leg it was Mar Ramon Barcelo (ESP) that caused the biggest surprise when she zipped


in to take the win from Nixon and Le Roux in the shortest leg of the day. Ramon Barcelo came in 17th on the first leg and did unbelievably well to recover and then take the fight to the leading ladies.You can imagine everyone’s surprise when she came screaming in from the deep a minute and a half ahead of Nixon and Le Roux who tied on the short leg.Verges after a cracker of a first leg was relegated to 4th by 37 seconds followed by Chloe Bunnett (ESP). With two upsets already on the day all the eyes were on the third leg of only 13km. Nixon headed in to the third leg with a 50 second lead on Verges who had almost a minute on Le Roux. If the first two legs were anything to go by – it was still anyone’s race. Nixon’s fitness and years of hard training certainly paid off in her ability to recover and put the hammer down when it really mattered. She had a lightning fast 3rd leg and took the win when it mattered the most to come sailing across the line nearly a minute and a half ahead of the chasing lady. Le Roux in turn managed to open a nine second lead on Verges which put her second for the first time on the day. The sterling effort was not enough to displace Verges from the second step of the podium. Nixon

having convincingly won two of the legs claimed the top step of the podium followed by Verges in 2nd and Le Roux in 3rd. Organizers provided chips (for the timing) and GPS trackers to make it safety-wise. Live coverage of the race was possible thanks to Live videos on the race FB page and the trackers on internet (sport tracker). Apart from the goodie bags, the race had refreshments and snacks after each leg (Energy drinks, water, fruits, energy bars, nuts and even gummy bears). A massive after party was organized at prize giving (equal prize pool for both men and women) with 300L of beer. A LITTLE HISTORY In its first edition, the race unfolded without problems with almost a 100 paddlers entered, mild downwind in the 1st and 3rd leg and good and fun downwind in the 2nd one. In 2018 massive storm appeared the week of the race bringing with it chilly weather and a massive shore break. The safety policy of the port authorities forced the organisers to cancel the first two legs of the race remaining a 13km fast downwind dash to the finish.The swells certainly picked up after the first two kilometres making for very exciting racing. JOSÉ MARIA GRACIA MARTIN


Keen to get there in 2020 or 2021? Transportation for the race is quite easy even though it’s an island. Direct and cheap flights can be taken from any major city in Europe in the most popular flag carriers (Iberia, British Airways, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus) and low budget carriers (Easyjet, Thomas Cook, Ryanair, TUI fly). Arrecife airport (ACE) is 10 minutes by car to the city centre and lots of rental cars, buses and taxis are available to make the journey easier. With regard to ski hire, NELO, O’Krea, EPIC and other brands are available for rental, as well as different trailers that make their way from Europe. Most of them are given some help to cover the ferry expenses. Hopefully more brands will be represented in 2020 and all of them should be available for the ICF OCEAN RACING World Championships in 2021 to be hold in this Island. The other thing that makes this race amazing 34 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

is the amount of effort that the race organisers put in to getting the juniors involved in the sport. They in turn are rewarded with a phenomenal turnout with over 100 young paddlers competing on Friday. This is incredible when one considers the population of the Canary Islands. The youngest paddlers compete on a 1km course and the distance then extends as the juniors go up in age. The cadets race over 5km and older juniors join the main race on Saturday and race the last 13km from Arrecife to Puerto del Carmen with the rest of the field. The race organisers plan to open the race to more entrants each year but they revel in the opportunity to provide a race that is up to the task of looking after the athletes in the special way that they have grown accustomed to. So make sure that you get your entry in soon to avoid disappointment.



CSA going Dotcloud Besides public speaking, most people’s biggest dread is having to move house. Especially when the house you are moving into is still in the process of being built and the wife is continually asking the builder to add a few tweaks. She has also insisted that you toss a vast number of items that you have become very fond of, despite the fact that they do not work properly, or do not work at all. Well, CSA is moving house. Not in the literal sense (the CSA office is a very small corner in my lounge), but from an organisational perspective. With the level of technology available to us, it seems absurd that we are still completing registration forms with a pen. For that form to be processed by the club secretary, then the union secretary, then CSA. Only to have the same process repeated every time we enter a race. Do we really need to provide the same information week in and week out? Some of our tee shirt sizes may change slightly (or for some, a lot), but unless the wife has chucked you out, your address, etc. remains fairly static. There are also far too many loopholes in our current system that allow a bit of “human intervention” when it comes to circumventing the odd rule. The CSA board made a decision a couple of years ago to take a leap of faith into the hi tech realm. We stumbled across a system that SA Cycling had just implemented, that had been developed by a Gauteng company called “DotCloud”. They were still in their “teething” phase and busy “perfecting” the system. We held off adopting the system until we were given the “go ahead” by SA Cycling that the system was working effectively. In the interim, SA Triathlon had also

adopted the system. A year ago, CSA began a development phase with DotCloud. The development phase will end in a few days’ time, and the system will be launched on the 1st of April. Initially, the system will cater for registration with the unions and the federation. A second phase will incorporate inclusion of the club admin if the individual clubs wish to go that route. Please bear in mind that this system is not an “off the shelf” product. It has been specifically designed for our unique requirements. And trust me, we have some very unique requirements. I can predict with almost 100% certainty that this transition is not going to be smooth. Over the years, we have complicated ourselves and our sport to a huge degree. All I ask is that everyone be very patient, and to try to assist and be positive. Once it is working properly, it will be a game changer for all of us. Don’t rush to register on the 1st of April. We will let you know when the system will be ready to accept registrations. It will probably a few days after.You will not be blocked from racing. CSA will draw the line in the sand when it is appropriate. Once up and running we will have a single system that will deal with club registration, union and federation registration, race entries, timing, accounting, proficiencies, nomination forms, etc, etc! Quite something to look forward to!

collin simpkins THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 37

IMAGES Louis Hattingh

SA SPRINT CUP EAST LONDON We have seen the future of canoeing and it is looking incredibly bright. First of all we would like all the administrators, coaches and supporters of sprints to take a bow. As the paddling community we are indebted to you for making 38 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

it work. It is not an easy task to get paddlers to train consistently and then when it comes to the event it is the coaches that have to book accommodation, sort out the finances and pack the boats on to begged/ borrowed and stolen

trailers in order to get everything to the event. The SA Schools and the first ever SA Sprint Cup where held over the 21 – 24 March. Which were a resounding success on so many

levels. We will try and cover some of these in the report. The first stroke of genius came from the Sprint Management of CSA themselves when they introduced an SA Sprint Cup over

the last two weekend in March. Traditionally sprints is made up of provincial and national trials and then off to World Championship trials. The problem with this is that our elite paddlers are so spread out that the first time they really get to

compete against each other is at the national trials. This effectively brings all their training down to one day’s results. There is no room for improvement or growth; you either crack it on the day or wait another year to try again. With the THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 39

introduction of Sprint Cups there is time to practice being under starters orders and learn from ones mistakes between attending the Sprint Cups. The next great idea is having SA Schools and senior’s right next to each other (it is not new) but it really is brilliant as the juniors get to bump shoulders with the cream of South African paddlers. All of this is in preparation for what is set to be a really exciting year of sprint racing as our athletes prepare for the upcoming World sprint tour and the big finale at the end of the year the Olympic qualifier the Senior World Sprint Championships in Szeged from the 16 – 25 August. The international events are set out below: o Senior World Cup first in Poland 16th May and two weeks later Duisburg on the 3rd June


o Junior and U23 Sprint World Championships in Pitesti starting on the 26th July o Senior World Sprint Championships in Szeged from the 16th – 25th August What a week of racing it turned out to be! The number of young aspiring sprinters were really encouraging to see. Traditionally there is a big drop off in paddlers from the U14 / U16 group to the older age groups as paddlers get side tracked by the other disciplines. But this year the number of races needed was overwhelming, the U18 boys needed five heats, four semi finals and a C, B, and A final. The quality of the racing has also been improving over the last couple of years as coaches get the support they need from their clubs and the union which makes for very exciting racing to watch. Certainly from what we see

clubs are investing in training weeks during the holidays and on and off the water training equipment in order to give their athletes an edge. The oddity of the junior paddlers being classified by their school persists to this day with some schools taking a huge amount of pride in their teams while other schools may not even realise that they have a representative at SA Schools Sprints. At the top end of the junior level it was heart stopping as we saw the results for the U18 boys and girls coming in, the completion was that fierce. In the juniors right from the start it was clear that there was a huge charge from local lad Jordy Malherbe, who had a phenomenal year last year at the Junior & U23 Sprint World Championships in Bulgaria. There he raced the U18 Boys 500-metre K1 (made B Final)

and 1000m K1 (3rd in B Final). This was his home ground and he would be making full use of the tides and currents to get an edge over his competitors. From far down the coast came his biggest competition in the form of Uli Hart who is part of the Orka squad in Cape Town. Uli represented South Africa at the World Marathon Championships last year so this was going to be a battle to watch. In the U18 girls the battle lines were very quickly drawn between Zara Woods; has represented SA at the World Surfski Championships and Jackie van der Westhuyzen; has represented SA at the Junior & U23 World Sprint Championships. The wonderful thing about watching the juniors race is that they have a simple strategy; go flat out from start to finish. So the only question is – who has the most flat out

strength? As the results started coming in we could see that it was going to be a tough battle for Victor Ludorum. Uli drew first blood with the wins in the 1000m K1 and looked to be the stronger paddler in the longer distances. Jordy on the other hand was flying through the shorter distances of 500m and 200m. It was the enthralling wins in the 5000m K1 and K2 with Matthew Fenn that tipped the scales for Orka Paddling squad member Uli Hart. In the singles events Zara bagged gold in the 1000m and 200m K1 and Jackie gold in the 500m K1 so it would come down the longer races and the K2 events to be the decided between the two. Zara Wood and Nosipho Mthembu were unstoppable in the K2 combining to be a formidable pair eventually

giving Zara 7 golds and 2 silvers at the end of three days of intense racing. In the Sprint Cup for the U23 and seniors, the racing is very different in the sense that paddlers are not racing for an overall position but rather they are hoping to qualify to represent South Africa at a specific event. Hopefully we will continue to send a K4 team but that will depend more on the specific athletes selected. Although the Olympics are next year, countries need to qualify or secure births based on their results at the previous year’s world championships. So all eyes are on the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Szeged, Hungary in August this year. As we understand it, the two SA Cup events, will serve as the


national trials for selection for the World Cup tour and the Junior and U23 Sprint World Championships a month later. At the first SA Sprint Cup it was good to see that our sprint leaders have been putting in the hard yards and are getting faster as the day draws near. The 1000m K1 titles were dominated by seasoned campaigners, in the ladies none other than our three time Olympian Bridgitte Hartley and in the men Louis Hattingh. In the 500m K1 it was Chrisjan Coetzee that dominated the men and showing tremendous growth in her paddling


Donna Hutton took it for the women. In the 200m it was Esti Van Tonder and Chrisjan Coetzee who took the win in their respective races. It was good to see two other names up in the mix and those are Nicolas Weeks and Kayla De Beer showing that they are ready to mix it up in singles even if they prefer doubles. The star of the show goes to Donna Hutton who won the ladies 500m and was consistently up with the race winners in all the other races. She came 2nd in K1 1000m and 2nd in the K1 200m. She will certainly be one to watch later this

year. The other athlete to watch is Jarryd Gibson who has clearly set his sights on the Olympics! While not quite able to take a gold medal home he was right behind the race winners getting silver in the 1000m and 500m and bronze in the 200m.

Onward & Upward Sports4Life


Sports4life became a reality in the late 1990’s in Marina Da Gama in Cape Town where I was able to get ten local schools together in a pleasantly blended experience of the more “advantaged and disadvantaged “schools in the area. This gave unique input to the schools league events held in Cape Town at the time.

Championships” with trophies being awarded at the end of the series to the “Marathon paddler of the series”, to the club that has shown the most percentage overall growth, to the club that has introduced the greatest percentage of woman paddlers and to the club that has signed up the most new schools into paddling.

I was transferred to Johannesburg in June 2002 and immediately got involved at Johannesburg Canoe Club at Wemmer Pan. There I enjoyed many great years of training and coaching the locals, one of which included the current new Junior Canoe Springbok, Alex Masina.

A key passion that I have is to introduce new people to the sport of canoeing. Over the last five years I have taught over 850 people to paddle, over 500 of which joined Dabulamanzi Canoe Club at Emmarentia Dam.

Sports4life started hosting marathon events at Wemmer Pan 11 years ago and still continues to do so today with the goal of helping the Gauteng paddlers to be adequately prepared for Gauteng Marathon Champs and for SA’s. The marathons run from January to May every year, one event per month. This year I have introduced a different format and for the first time we are hosting a “Gauteng Interclub

The current focus, while doing all I can to raise the necessary funding to buy the buildings at Wemmer Pan to house the Human and Sport Development Centre, the Nutritional Science and Medical Care Centre and the Artisan Training Centre, is to connect with as many schools as I can in the area and to hopefully introduce them to our awesome sport. I am strongly focusing on getting young woman into the sport as it is the safest outdoor sport for woman is SA. Not all of our young athletes will be academically gifted and when we are empowered to get the Artisan Training Centre

going, we will be able to equip our young athletes with the necessary skills to be able to earn a decent living for themselves, while they continue their canoeing, and work with us in growing the sport. If the necessary support funding can be raised by being able to give the needed BEE points to supporting companies then we will be able to create an awesome connection between the more advantaged and disadvantaged schools, and hopefully be able to see many more Alex Masina’s coming out of the greater Rosettenville/Turffontein areas and powerfully impacting our sport. There are many government schools in the area and thousands of young people. With using the awesome knowledge provided by Dr. Annette Martins in her video on the mental benefits of canoeing, I hope to be able to inspire many more schools to commit to making canoeing a full school sport. If you own or are in a position of influence in a company and would be keen to partner with us in developing the potential within so many young people in the area, please do contact me.

Peter Rossouw


Alex Masinga’s family still live in Rosettenville, close to Wemmer Pan. He used to walk to the pan daily to come and train, and for a 9 year old was amazingly focused on his training. He was one of those young men that you never needed to pressure to train and from the beginning always showed great respect for those coaching him and for club members. After my responsibilities grew he blossomed under the

coaching of Mike Nicolas and Martin V/D Berg. In 2017 Alex made the SA Junior Sprint team to race in Europe at the Junior Champs and also won the Victor Ludorum title at SA Schools. In September 2017 he won the bronze medal U18 at World Marathon Champs hosted by NCC in Pietermaritzburg. THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 45


IMAGES Celliers Kruger

To Rudder or not to Rudder



I recently launched a 4.6-metre long recreational/touring sit-on-top (the Marimba) with my new kayak company,Vagabond Kayaks.The response from the market has been overwhelmingly positive, as expected, but I also received requests that reminded me of a peculiar aspect of South African paddling: most paddlers think that a rudder is needed to steer a kayak. Before I delve into the details, let me make a few things clear: no kayak under 3m long needs a rudder. Never. Ever. Period. Between 3m and 4m, maybe, but most unlikely. Between 4m and 5m, maybe, maybe not. Between 5m and 6m, possibly, but maybe not. Over 6m, yes, you need a rudder. If and when you need a rudder is determined first by the actual design of the kayak, second by the conditions that you will use it in, and lastly by your skill level.

When do you need a rudder? In principle, the purpose of a rudder is to steer a kayak that is otherwise difficult to steer; in other words, to turn a kayak that is designed to go straight. The reality is that most kayaks can be steered without a rudder with relative ease. I will get to steering techniques further down, but let me first explain when you really need a rudder: • Sprinting: when you sprint, you cannot afford to waste energy to steer your kayak, apart from wiggling your toes to steer the rudder. • Riding slip on flat water for long distances with a long kayak: it is difficult to stay in the perfect spot to ride slip without a rudder. • Riding swells or surfing ocean waves with a surfski or any other long kayak: you need that rudder to steer the kayak and keep it in the sweet spot. IMAGES Ray Chaplin IMAGE Celliers Kruger

• Rough conditions on open water: when you cross a big dam or lake, or cover distance on the ocean, and the weather turns foul, a rudder helps to keep direction while you battle the elements. You may notice that I did not include rapids in this list. The reason


is simply that you don’t need a rudder most of the time in most rapids with most kayaks. If you absolutely cannot turn your riverracing K1 in rapids, there is a good chance that you’re paddling a K1 with a hull designed for flatwater racing, not for river racing. By this time, you may wonder if you shouldn’t just put a rudder on a kayak in case you need it? There are a few reasons why it is better not to add a rudder: • A rudder adds weight. • A rudder adds cost. • A rudder is something that can (and often will) give trouble when you least expect it. • A rudder prevents you from expanding your repertoire of paddling skills. The normal aluminium over-stern rudders commonly used on racing K1s in South Africa are relatively cheap and light, but they are also very prone to damage. It is far more difficult to steer a kayak with a broken rudder through a rapid than to steer a kayak without a rudder.

Should I use a skeg? For the sake of completeness, a few words on the rudder’s cousin that is not common in SA but that is

widely used over-the-seas: the skeg. The purpose of a skeg is to keep a kayak that has been designed to turn easily, to stay in a straight line. Skegs can generally lift up to slide over rocks or sandbanks, just like rudders; but they can’t pivot and they are not controlled by pedals to help you change direction. Most kayaks with skegs installed have a mechanism for raising or lowering the skeg, so that you can choose whether or not you want to engage the skeg. Skegs are typically deployed when hitting long sections of flat water; where you just want to keep paddling in a straight line without having to constantly steer the kayak. When manoeuvring is required, the skeg is lifted to allow the paddler to steer the boat easier by paddle strokes. Skegs tend be used most often on kayaks in the 3m to 5m range.

Learn to steer your kayak without a rudder All right, let’s move on to steering techniques. There are different ways to control the direction you want to go by using a combination of paddle strokes and body control. The preferred technique will depend on the type of boat you’re

paddling and where you’re paddling.

Back stroke I put back stroke here just so that I can tell you not to use it. For most beginner paddlers, a back stroke is the default stroke that they adopt to change direction. But, a back stroke breaks all of your momentum, and it messes with the fluidity of your paddling motion. Unless the purpose of the back stroke is literally to stop forward motion in addition to turning the kayak, don’t do it.

Sweep stroke The sweep stroke is the easiest stroke to learn and it works on just about any kayak. It can be done when your kayak is standing still or when you’re paddling forward. To initiate the stroke, put the paddle blade into the water in front of your toes. Pull it in a wide arc around your body.Your boat will turn to the opposite side as you pull the arc. Keep pulling until the kayak has turned enough, then take your paddle out of the water before you turn too far. To maximise the radius of the arc that you’re pulling, your paddle should be a lot flatter (more horizontal) than when you do a normal forward stroke. The key with the sweep stroke is to incorporate it into your normal forward-paddling rhythm. In other words, if you paddle forward and need to turn right, you stay in rhythm and just change your left forward stroke into a left sweep stroke. This way you efficiently turn the boat without breaking your momentum. If you haven’t turned the boat enough with the first left sweep stroke, do a normal forward stroke on the right side to keep your rhythm going, then do a second sweep stroke on the left. Practice this stroke to anticipate the degree of turn of your kayak when you do a sweep, so that you turn it just enough and not too much, otherwise you will need to follow up with a sweep on the other side again.

1 2 3 4 5




Bow rudder

The bow rudder is more tricky to learn, but it is a very efficient stroke that is especially useful in rapids. The bow rudder puts you in an unstable position if you do it wrong, making it a difficult skill to acquire in a narrow racing kayak. This stroke is best practiced in a more stable boat. A great way to learn this stroke is to start playing canoe polo as it will be one of the first strokes you learn. Once you have mastered the bow rudder, it can be used very effectively in a racing kayak too. The bow rudder only works when you are moving forward (to do the same thing when standing still, use a bow draw). The advantage of a bow rudder over a sweep stroke is that it is very precise, putting the bow of your kayak exactly where you want it, and it lends itself to combo strokes. In essence, the bow rudder is a vertical paddle stroke where your paddle blade is planted as far forward as possible, some distance away from the side of the kayak but not too far, and with the blade twisted enough for the power face to face the incoming water. To keep your balance when doing a bow rudder, you need to lean into the stroke. Don’t just sit flat, or worse, lean away from the stroke; there is a good chance that you’ll end up in the water. If you paddle forward and want to turn right, plant your right blade in the water. The incoming water will act on the blade and pull the bow of the kayak to the right. Keep your arms fairly straight and use your core muscles to hold the position while your kayak turns. When the kayak has turned as far you as you want it to go, simply twist the paddle blade in the water and continue with a forward stroke. This combo stroke is extremely useful for dynamic moves in rapids.

Edging your kayak

This is a very useful technique to steer most long, fast kayaks. By edging your kayak, the hull profile in relation to the movement of water is changed, causing the kayak to turn. This method is not as effective in wide kayaks (over 70cm wide) as they are too buoyant to keep on edge, and it is also not very effective in narrow kayaks with a completely round hull. But on most longer, narrower kayaks it is the most useful technique for steering your kayak without having to change your forward paddling motion. To edge your kayak, use your hips. Don’t lean to the side, simply tilt the kayak. If you paddle forward and want your kayak to turn to the right, tilt the kayak to the left. In other words, drop the left edge and raise the right edge. Or put differently, lift your right bum. Keep this position while you keep paddling forward. Your kayak will take a slow turn to the right. Once it has turned enough, simply use your hips to level the kayak again. It is important that your kayak moves at a descent speed, otherwise edging won’t have much of an effect on the direction of the boat. Also, if you move at a descent speed, very little edging is actually needed to turn the boat.

1 2 3

Don’t be conned into thinking that you always need a rudder. Learn and practice these techniques, and only add a rudder when really needed. By gaining command of different paddle strokes you will evolve from someone who just propels a kayak forward to a well-rounded paddler.You can thank me when you pass someone flailing around in a rapid with a broken rudder. Important pointer for any turning stroke: Look where you want to go, not where you are currently going.



IMAGES Gauteng Canoe Union

and then i got High... THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 53

HIGH ALTITUDE SURFSKI CHAMPS Ja Boet, The High Altitude Surfski Champs at Dabs het plaasgevind Saterdag half vier ek se, Die parkeering was volop ons het onder parkeer langs die dam 10m van die water bietjie laat ons het het ingeskryf kit aangetrek en surfskis op die water gesit. Wegspring van die wal af +100 boats surfskis 10 laps and SUPs 7 laps. Hey then the race kicks off ek se not just the surfskis but the 3 speedboats (actually 1 speedboat 1 tinney and 1 rubberduck with 2 dubious lifesavers) and a jetski. So then we all go off it is chaos ek se you can’t easily paddle straight there are surfskis and waves all over the place and the SUPs are just trying to stay upright. So it is down to the first turnaround point and the speedboat goies a moerse wave and there come the first casualties okes


fall out the lifesavers on the boards were there to help, thanks guys need okes like you on a race. But now this race has got top paddlers from the coast Hank Hayley Bridget and the Eurosteel teams how awesome is that up here in Joburg ek se. We are going around the dam 1 lap 1km my broer there are 4 turnaround points and the speedboats are goieing the waves ek se and there are spectators all around the dam watching this ek se, there was a guy with a khaki cap and dark shades sitting in a white van blowing out clouds of herb smelling smoke. But now it is one thing to make waves on the dam that is part of it the surrfskis have a fighting chance but SUPs they go flying off there was this nice chick in her bodyhugging black suit hierdie donnerse lewensredders het haar geteiken hulle het n golf gegoei wat haar van haar SUP afgegoei het en daarna op haar laaste rondte het hulle draaie om haar gery om haar af te gooie ek was sommer lus om hulle te moer met my spaan. Sy het nie weer uitgeval nie daai

ounes was nie lewensredders nie hulle was lewensverwoesters. Maar Ja Boet die race die race het goed afgeloop. The best was the gin and tonic at the end, no Poweraid ek se, the real deal. Then when we were having our GnTs out comes this K4 Nello with a towrope they hook up Bridget on a single board ski and towed her like she was behind a powerboat. That K4 is SAs choice for the worlds and the the qualifying events that could lead to the Olympics. The four paddlers in that K4 are Nic and Dawie from ERK and David from Dabs and Mick Arthur. Man that was awesome, I do not know if that has been done anywhere else in the world, I trust that somebody will send a video of that to Hungary. You guys are champions. Then the prize giving later on and the party and the dancing and whatever was priceless. Dabulamanzi the Transvaal Navy and the up country surfski event keep it going that’s what life is all about! Chris Rowe

Vagabond Kayaks is a new South African kayak company that is built on decades of experience and pedigree. We design and manufacture top-quality, plas�c, high-performance recrea�onal, angling and whitewater kayaks. Our launch line-up includes a children's kayak, a tandem and four single recrea�onal sit-on-tops that are also available in angler versions. For beginner and experienced whitewater kayakers, we have a sit-on-top whitewater kayak as well as two sit-in whitewater creekboats with lightweight, composite ou�i�ng. Our sit-on-top sur�ayak will revamp your beach holidays. The revolu�onary, super-stable Mokolo wraps up our range. Whether you paddle for fun, fitness or sport, your Vagabond kayak will take you anywhere. DESIGNED BY CELLIERS KRUGER Award-winning kayak designer


West Coast Canoe Challenge The 7th edition of the West Coast Canoe Challenge on on the 9th of February saw a record number of 270 paddlers on the startline for the 10km and 20km routes.

Paddlers arrived from as far afield as Stanford, a good four hour drive away! Club representation was broad with paddlers from clubs including Paarl, Langebaan, Tygerberg, Weskus, Peninsula, Milnerton, Century City, Stellenbosch / Maties, UCT and Strand.

IMAGE Velddrif Tourism

The West Coast Canoe Challenge is unique, offering novice and development paddlers the chance to paddle alongside veterans in


the sport. Hopefully they will be inspired to start taking on the more challenging races as they gain experience an improve their levels of fitness. Who knows, the 240km Berg River Marathon might be in some of their sights!

Big and small, young and old arrived on the day. Those that jumped in a canoe for the first time have discoved that it really will pay to be a little fitter for their next event. In honesty, being able to swim probably helps too! (Some did the jump on purpose, a well deserved opportunity to cool down.) It was wonderful to see the number of novices and development paddlers

who have just registered with the Western Cape Canoe Union who arrived to do their very first race on a river over a longer distance than what they are currently used to. To get their Flat water rating they had to complete the10km race within a time of 70 minutes.

The venue lends itself to all sorts of craft. We had K1 and K2 canoes and surfski’s. The SUPs also arrived, for ‘the fun of it and to enjoy the hospitality of the West Coast. Seeing that it was also the first race on the calendar for the Western Cape canoing season we saw the true die-hards of the sport flexing their muscles, making sure we had

exciting racing to watch. The young Dylan Frick jumped onto his SUP in memory of his grandfather who hs just passed away. In the process he also did a great time of 55 minutes on the 10km route. The weather was very hot, but the race itself was held on the outgoing tide with a light south easter from behind. This made for wonderful race conditions producing some really fast times. It also meant that some of the top contenders could arrive in their slender racing craft that are so well suited to flat conditions.

Uli Hart from Peninsula Canoe Club did the 20km route in a new record time of Right on his tail was Nicholas Notten from UCT who took second place. The ladies 20km race was won by Bianca Beavitt from Century City in In second was Melanie van Niekerk from Milnerton in On the 10km route it was a junior from Paarl, Charlton Klaase, that took top position in a time of In the ladies division Stanford’s Amy Duffett (also a junior) took the first step in These two juniors

certainly have a bright furture ahead of them. The prize giving took place at the finish, the Riviera Hotel in Velddrif. Race organiser, Taxi Kotze could extend the famous West Coast hospitality and spirit to the competitors, with every one getting a prize! What an amzing opportunity to enjoy the West Coast and forget about our day to day troubles, from water restrictions through load shedding. Everyone was a winner as this great event. I am sure that we will see everyone back next year!



IMAGES Little Fish 2019

Little Fish 2019 The race brief and start of the Little Fish is unique. About halfway through a casual briefing one glazes over unable to commit to memory any other “hazards” to avoid – most end up hoping to follow anyone who appeared to know what they were in for. The le mans start involves a short run to multiple put in spots on deep fast flowing water. This is a great opportunity to make new friends by jumping into the wrong boat or tuning someone over. The river is narrow with lots of tight turns, frequent but small rapids, overhanging trees and a lot of portages. This puts a premium on steering with most swimming being tree related. That being said the race organizing committee led

by Kevin Klette have over the last few years done a tremendous job in clearing the river making it far more manageable and much safer. At the front end of the 2019 men’s race, the Louw brothers, Greg and Ryan, were in a class of their own and diced neck and neck for 27km all the way to a sprint finish which Greg took by half a boat length. To complete he family clean sweep, They were followed in by another pair pf siblings, Joshua and Matthew Fenn. Kerry Louw, Ryans twin sister easily took the ladies race, despite protesting (too much in my view) about her lack of fitness. Natalie Goedhals came in 2nd having run about 15km to the start – clearly

some mental games in the lady’s race. The real racing however, takes place deeper into the field, where the high frequency of deep-water portages, and steep river banks make for great war stories which seem to get better later into the post-race festivities. Fines meetings includes focus on excessive swimming, unfair portage advantage for sit-on-tops, a race organizer who peaked too soon, harsh language from K2 backseat drivers blooding a novice, and even a sweep who “lost” his paddle. This race is truly unique, and well worth the trip to Middleton – see you next year! PAUL GERRARD


The Coolest Race in Town Ola VLC Night Race

IMAGES Gauteng Canoe Union

Every year, just before the Dusi, paddlers flock to the VLC Night Race. Perfect opportunity for a last big paddle for those doing the Dusi, and it is a great opportunity for the more unfit or just social paddlers to get out as well. The field always varies, and it is amazing to see how many different paddlers come, and


how they enjoy it.

the great paddle spirit!)!

The reason it is the coolest race on the Gauteng calendar, is because of the sponsorship of Ola. Every paddler gets an ice cream at the finish, and the first 80 get T-Shirts (these are really nice! Just entering for them is worthwhile – let alone

Despite the event’s organizers best effort to have the coolest race, it turned out to be a really hot race! With less than a minute splitting the first five, and less than 2 minutes split between the top 12, you can just imagine how hot on each

other’s tails these paddlers were coming in! Clinton Cook (KIN, KZN) took the winning title in a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes; a mere 0.84 seconds before Sibusiso Chwayi (SOW), who was the first Under 23. Loveday Zondi (VIC) was hot on their trail to claim the title of first Sub Vet. Kobus Filmalter (WAT) was the first Vet in 1 hour 13, followed closely by Wongama Makasi (SOW), who was the first Under 18. The first Master to finish was Pieter Engelbrecht (ERK). The only female paddler braving it out on the water alone, was Helen Jansen van Vuuren from VIC, who was also the youngest participant.

In the K2 Race, we had Centurion paddlers Johan Strydom & Elton Du Preez claim first place. The first Mixed team was fellow team mates Raymond Rorich and Nadine Norval. The First Masters, Johan Nel & Brandon Head (VIC), were just in front of Under 18’s, Nkosinathi Ntombela & Nkosingphile Ntombela, who are also from VIC. Meyer Steyn and Dabs partner Bryan Slater claimed first for the Sub Grand Masters in a time of 1 hour, 23 minutes. The first Sub Masters were Sylvia Nel & Herman Vogel from LIK in Parys. The only Great Grand Masters that partook in the race were John Rowan & Mike Howard,

who managed to finish in a time of 1 hour, 35 minutes. There were 2 K3’s that also ventured out onto the water. Raoul Goosen, Ian Hewat, & Gavin Coetzer were the first to finish, making DABs proud. Michael Sears, Christina-Louise Sears, & Kate Stubs showed that members from the different clubs (VIC & DAB) could work just as well together. Thank you to all the wonderful sponsors that made the race possible: Ola & Southern Cold Storage! Looking forward to see what next year’s race holds, because ‘there’s nothing too cold to handle’! Natali Coetzee



IMAGES Cobus and Salome Erasmus

A PADDLING RACE FOR EVERYONE There are club-hosted time trials (the domain of K1s and K2s), kayak races (also for K1s, K2s and, only recently, surfskis) and surfski events... But, there are no organised events for regular people with a sit-on-top in their garage that they only use for family holidays at the coast once a year. Enter Paddling Race, a new monthly event series held from the Likkewaan Canoe Club on the Vaal River in Parys. Only 125km from Johannesburg, Parys is a popular weekendgetaway destination with its cafes, antique and gift shops, B&Bs and an abundance of outdoor activities. While the town is known for whitewater rafting, the river here also offers magnificent stretches of flatwater paddling with beautiful riverine scenery. Birdlife is abundant and local paddlers never tire of hearing fish eagles and seeing grey herons, goliath herons and various kingfishers. Paddling Race has been created by Lisa de Speville and Celliers Kruger. Where Celliers comes from a paddling background that includes every conceivable kayaking discipline, Lisa’s focus has been on adventure racing, trail running and orienteering for over 20 years - both as a participant and event organiser. She is also the Event Director of the Parys Parkrun and has been part of the impact

that this running/walking event has had on the lives of people in her community. Together, Lisa and Celliers are the force behind Vagabond Kayaks. “Paddling needs to be more open, friendly and accessible,” Lisa says. “We’ll only get more people to paddle for pleasure when they have access to kayaks that are stable and enjoyable to paddle; when they have access to safe waterways that are located not too far from their homes and where there are fun, family-friendly events that they can participate in.” Lisa adds that events show people where they can go to paddle, exposes them to the area in a safe and controlled environment and builds their confidence and competence. Paddling Race offers 2km and 5km courses that take paddlers on a beautiful section of flatwater on a route that goes through channels and between islands. The event encourages participants to bring along any type of kayak: plastic sit-on-tops, touring kayaks, surfskis, K1s, K2s and even inflatables and stand-up paddleboards.Vagabond has a fleet of kayaks that can be hired for the event and PFDs and paddles are provided. The event takes place monthly, on the first Sunday of the month and the direction of the route alternates each time.

“Our first event, held at the beginning of March, had 40 entrants,” Lisa says, “and only seven of the participants were people who paddle with some degree of regularity.The rest were infrequent, a-long-time-ago, or first-time paddlers. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is exactly why we created Paddling Race.” On the 5km course, the fastest time of 34:44 was logged by a 12-year old boy paddling a guppy K1. The slowest time of 1:13:00 was recorded by two double sit-on-tops paddled by a mom and dad (sporty, but first-time

paddlers), each with a young child in the front seat. Five-kilometres is just the right distance. Lisa would love to see more Paddling Race-type events organised by other people around the country. “Think of Paddling Race as parkrunfor-paddling,” she says. Lisa advises event organisers to keep it simple by having two routes (max. 5km) and presenting the event at the same place, on the same route and at the same time each month.

“We’re in the early days with Paddling Race. I hope to see good growth in the number and age spread of participants and the variety of kayaks over the next year.” Paddling Race is on Facebook: Full event information can be found on:


Paddling: Barriers to Participation Paddling has a number of barriers to participation that can position this superb sport in people’s minds as a pastime to only be enjoyed through kayak hire or using their sit-on-top at the coast on holiday. Instead, even in our cities, paddling is an activity that is accessible and low expense. Participation barriers • Owning a kayak, PFD and paddle • Instability of K1s offered by clubs to newcomers - a significant deterrent. • Transporting the kayak (vehicle and roof racks) • Access to water • Perceived safety risks Solutions The first of these barriers can be removed when events and kayak clubs have equipment for rent or to borrow (as a club member). It goes without saying that sit-on-tops should be the first kayak presented to a newcomer. Events expose people to places where they can paddle. . There are many waterways - dams and rivers - in and near our cities. Rivers are not all about rocks, rapids, tree blocks, strainers and other hazards; instead, there are more sections of flatwater available on our rivers than you would have the time to paddle in your lifetime. There are also estuaries and lagoons as well as the sea for coastal dwellers. Paddlers should always be aware of water levels, tides, wind and the changeability of the weather. Conditions on water can change in a flash from flat-and-calm to whipped-up white caps in a matter of minutes. It is always a good idea to paddle with a friend, to wear a PFD at all times and to know how to get back on to your kayak if you fall off.

SA canoe polo Champs

2019 edition of the South African canoe polo champs was held at the stronghold of KZN canoe polo, Shongweni Dam. The turnout was the biggest ever for the sport. This has been a reoccurring trend over the last few years as Canoe polo has seen a constant growth, testimony to the hard work by the various union committees in growing the sport! Following a complete paradigm shift a few years ago in how the national polo committee approaches selection, the u21 mens and ladies divisions have received the bulk of the focus and this was very evident over the weekend. A number of the country’s top u21 athletes were competing in the open divisions and were holding their own against the older and more experienced players! The u16 division had five teams 66 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

taking part this year, and the level of competition was fierce! Every game was treated like a final and it was fantastic to see the young talent trying their hand at what must be canoeing most entertaining discipline! In the end it was the Gauteng Barracudas who took the gold over an up-and-coming Stellenbosch development team with Epworth 1 in 3rd. The ladies division was a very tightly contested division with some extremely close games. In the end it was the KZN ladies who reigned supreme, taking gold and silver with the KZN ladies and u21 ladies teams respectively. The Knysna ladies team finished in 3rd. In the u21 men’s division, Western Cape u21 men were the only team to retain their national title, holding off challenges from KZN in 2nd

and Gauteng who finished 3rd. This dominance showed in the u21 squad selection with 5 of the top 8 players coming from the Western Cape! The KZN vs Gauteng semi-final was a very tight game with KZN edging out Gauteng by just a single goal to make it through to the final! The open division showed levels of play that have not been seen for a while in South African canoe polo! Reigning champions from 2018, Western Cape could only manage 3rd this year against the extremely skilled and strong Gauteng A and KZN A teams! The final between the 2 powerhouses of SA Canoe polo was intense! The balance swung both ways the entire game and no one team had the upper hand. At full time the score was drawn 2-2 and it went down to extra time to decide the winner. In the end, KZN managed to sneak

one past the Gauteng goalie to take the win and the 2019 South African Canoe polo title!

for the u19 tour to Ireland were decided to select ranked squads so announced as well as the u21 ladies that athletes could see where they and men’s squads. The selection were placed. The squads selected committee decided against selecting were as follows: At the prize-giving, the teams teams this early in the year and u21 Ladies u21 Men U18 Ladies The U18 Men Emmi Wood Matthew Eckhart Tineke Cooper Joshua Smith Tineke Cooper Daneel van Wyk Jade Das Fontes Aiden Carr Jade Das Fontes Joshua Smith Carla Collins Kyle Laxton Jade Starr Aiden Carr Abigail Bezuidenhout Jack Ligeti Carla Collins Kyle Laxton Sabina Hojem Kyle Hardy Abigail Bezuidenhout Luke Hoets Kyla Hanton Jamie Truby Bronwyn Goode Bryce Lawson Taya Hanton Kyle Buchler Amy Peckett Jack Ligeti Megan Eckhart Coban-Dean Suttie Cayleigh Shaw Troy Drummond Sabina Hojem Kyle Hardy Kayleigh Karam Jamie Truby Kyla Hanton Alex Webster Taya Hanton Kyle Buchler DON WEWEGE Next on the canoe polo calendar is the Arnold Classic tournament to be held in Sandton during the Arnold Classic Africa Sports Festival. After that the u21 and u19 teams will be having multiple training camps leading up to the u19 World Championships in Ireland followed by the all important African Championships and World Championships qualifier in Knysna. THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 67


IMAGES Clarie Farringer

Putting Down Roots


Stellenbosch U/16 development team had a 28 hour bus drive through three provinces and finally arrived on 8th of March The team had a full day to explore the Shongweni Nature Reserve before the games began. From the amazing wild life to the breath taking views there were memories made around the camp fire braaing marshmallows and telling ghost stories.

from every great mistake in life you learn your biggest lesson. The team had a serious discussion about game strategy and communication and for the first time began to feel the power of team work and communication. Their second game was against Epworth Girls A 0 – 5 Stellenbosch; they learnt from their mistakes and began to work together.

On the morning of the 9 March Stellenbosch waited anxiously next to the two polo pitches for their games to begin. They had a total of four games to play for the Saturday. Their first game was against the Rusty Rebels 11 – 0 Stellenbosch. The nerves got the best of the kids and overloading the opponent’s goals left our own undefended and our lack of strategy and communication became our biggest rival. This was a defeating loss but

Their third game was against Gauteng U/16 A 5 – 3 Stellenbosch; the pedigree of play was phenomenal from both teams. The level of skill in Canoe Polo in SA’s youth is to be admired and supported as these youngsters are the future of the sport.


The final game of the day was against Epworth Girls B 0 – 11 Stellenbosch; Stellenbosch ended the day on a high note and energy levels were good. There was still

time for good sportsmanship and a friendly handshake after the match still meant that there was time to play and have a laugh off the water. For the 10th of March Game the Rusty Rebels withdrew themselves from the game and Stellenbosch was sent straight through to the final against Gauteng A. In an exciting final the two teams played their hearts out and Gauteng won 5- 2. At the prize giving all the teams were sitting together in their province colours in this buzz of excitement to see who had achieved which podium finishes. Stellenbosch was the only development team that participated in this year’s SA Canoe Polo Championships and has been the only development team in the history of the event. There had been a lot of doubt about our capabilities due to our lack of funding and adequate equipment

back home from some of the other teams that participated however we used our natural Maties spunk and determination and finished 2nd U/16, winning silver medals. In that moment all my efforts as a coach and my team’s hours of practice, participation in tournaments and hard work had paid off for that medal and title. As their coach watching them walk up to the podium and get those medals placed around their necks, my eyes filled with tears of pride. We had the odds stacked against us and we were the underdogs, we came and played our hearts out and proved to everyone and especially ourselves that Development in sport deserves as much support as any other athlete or team.

without our sponsors and every single person who helped us along the way in any shape or form. Thank you to the WCCU, Sports For Life, Channelling Change, Bennie Steyn, Sussana Frietz and so many more for your unconditional support. Thank you to every coach, paddler or parent who gave us a kind word and even let us borrow their equipment as we did not have our own due to financial constraints. All our meals were catered for by Shongweni Nature Reserve and we never went hungry, Sara and Greg were amazing hosts and felt like our biggest supporters off the water ensuring everyone had nutritious food for morning, breakfast and lunch. They even sponsored

us bread rolls for our trip back home which kept us nice and full for our long journey home. We are so grateful for the extra efforts by Spirit of Adventure camp and Shongweni Nature Reserve. Once again I sit here writing this article and I cannot believe what my team and I have achieved in our short time playing canoe polo. I hope that any other paddler, coach or paddling supporter reading this finds some motivation from our story to never give up no matter how impossible things are looking. Keep your passion alive and share as much of your time with others because victories are only truly enjoyed when they are shared with the ones you love.

We would have never been able to achieve any of this cassandra jones


take a seat

IMAGES Supplied by Atlantic Ocean Surfski 72 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

How you sit in your surfski is a crucial factor contributing to good technique. Posture influences your balance and in turn, the power you deliver through the blades. The shape and height of the seat and foot well influence posture. You must be comfortable in your craft before starting any optimisation of your technique. It might not be something you focus sufficiently on and can soon be compromised as you fatigue. The more naturally you

sit, the more you can recruit the muscles relevant to a precise stroking action. You can sit in much the same position for hours, meaning that any slight discomfort will be magnified over time. Even once sitting properly, it can take time before your muscles adapt to hold the posture. This requires muscle memory drills to engage the relevant core muscles, which become good targets for flexibility and strengthening.

SitTING with A slight forward lean is efficient for stability and the delivery of power. It is a leaning position, with a straight back and shoulders ahead of your pelvis. It is not a hunched a forward position involving a rounded spine. Even a small deviation can affect the delivery of power. lean A forward lean:

Engaging your hip flexors

Maintaining the lean

• promotes stability

• supports the forward reach at a catch

• engages your core in rotation

• supports power in the effective zone

The seat must be slightly higher than the foot well to promote the forward lean. Determine the precise angle at your hips that offers the most efficient rotation. A forward lean engages your hip flexors, which are a complex set of muscles controlling the angle of the bones converging on the hip joint. It is a distinct position, so get it correct. The seat layout in one surfski design will be different to another, making it worthwhile exploring the options for your body shape. Find a position in which your hip flexors are engaged, but at the same time relaxed.Your pelvis must be in neutral; otherwise you create unwarranted tension that impedes the fluidity of a stroke. Leaning slightly backward or even upright invokes a string of negative forces, particularly those relating to stability. Leaning back in a brace position with a foot pressed on a pedal is highly unstable.

It might be easy to abandon the forward lean as you fatigue. Stop paddling and relax from time to time by putting your feet over the side, stretching your back and refreshing your posture. Sitting skew You might not sit precisely upright or stroke identically on the left and right. A sign of imbalance is your craft flopping over slightly to one side. A sideways lean adversely affects the shape of a stroke, causing you drag a blade on the side that you lean. You should be able to tilt your craft equally to the left and right. With some tweaking and practice, it should be possible to keep your craft reasonably steady, taking up the variation with a hip flexor movement and your stroking action. A sideways lean could be the result of: • favouring one side of your body

• sitting to one side of the seat well

• feet skew on the footplate

• pulling the blades unequally

Sitting even slightly skew, your balance will be affected, diverting some of your effort into keeping the craft upright. With differences in hull friction, your craft turns in the direction of the lean. Detect an imbalance by stroking on only one side, followed by the other, feeling for the muscular inconsistencies. Do this on flat water where it is easy to pinpoint the variances. kevin brunette THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 73

Get back on the horse... I mean boat!

Remounting a Surfski Lately I have had the opportunity to listen to Rob described the joy of having a bulletproof both Dawid Mocke and Rob Mousley about the re-entry after practicing so much. joys of surfsking. I have also had to swim out to a novice who Dawid lists re-entry as his thrid most could not remount after falling out just past important skill to master when you jump in a backline. By the time I got to her she was too ski (Just below using a paddle and balance). tired to try and remount again and opted to 74 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

swim to shore; fine if you are 100m off shore, lousy if you are five kilometres from the shore. In this article we present you with three ways of remounting your ski. Method one and two are similar and number three is straight out of the CSA handbook. We do not pretend to have

invented any of these methods. Each in our opinion have pro’s and cons, we suggest that you try all three methods at least five times and then decide for yourself.

Whichever way you choose: practice, practice, practice. THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 75

Method 1

This is often called the cowboy method and if we were to go out on a limb – this is the method that we recommend.

Always start with the wind on your back. Position yourself so that your torso is just in front of the seat area of your ski. If the ski’s nose is to your left then either: Place your left hand on the left hand rail / near side of the ski. If you bend your arm at about 90˚and place it on the ski that will give you enough space to move. OR ONLY if you have long arms or a short ski try this – some people try hold their foot strap and paddle in their left hand. Place your right hand at the back of the right rail/ far side of the ski. As far back as you can and still be able to hold on to the side. Kick hard and heave your body so that the ski is lying across your stomach.

Then swing your right leg over the ski and swivel to face the front of the ski. This will leave you with your groin area over the seat. As soon as you are comfortable push your chest up with your left hand and at the same time drop your bum in to the seat.

The end result is that you are in the most stable position possible; your bum is in the seat and both legs are out.You are then free to sort out your leash, catch your breath and wait for your doubles partner to remount. Plus you are far more likely to survive a wave washing over you in this position. When you are ready put your feet back in the ski and start paddling. 76 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

The second method is often referred to as the side-saddle method. We think that it is faster than the first method and certainly puts less strain on your quadriceps and adductors in a ski with high rails.

Method 2

Again start with your back to the wind. If the ski is facing left; place your left hand on the side of the ski closest to you and your right hand right at the back of the rail on the right hand side. 1. Kick hard and do almost a press up until your upper body is out the water..

2. Then quickly drop your bum in to the seat. with both legs out on one side of the ski.

3. Sort out your leash if need be. When you are ready begin paddling and as you gain momentum swing your legs over and in to the foot wells.


Method 3 The third method is often used by K1 paddlers (although we have seen K2 paddlers do it twice) when they need to get back in their canoes. For this reason please read K1 / Surfski as the same thing. This method is often used as a last resort to climb on to a ski when one is too tired to try method one or two again. With due respect to Lorna Oliver who does it better than we can in the CSA handbook.

Start right at the back of the surfski. Climb on to the back of the ski as though you were climbing on to a surfboard/ body board. This is easier as it takes less effort to push the tail down to start the remount than the middle of the ski. Keep your legs out as far as possible to aid with your stability.Your ski will naturally turn to go with the wind – which is great so don’t fight it.

When you are ready pull yourself up the ski being very careful to keep your chest on the ski. The moment you raise your chest – you dramatically alter your centre of gravity.


Keep pulling yourself up until your groin area is over the seat in a surfski or over the cockpit in a K1.

Next carefully lower your bum in to the seat being careful to not raise your chest off the deck of the boat until the last second as this is the point at which you are most unstable in the whole process. This method works well in a double surfski where the front paddler (hopefully the more experienced paddler) stays in the water and holds the ski while the back paddler slides up the back and in to their seat. Once they are safely in the ski with their legs out the front paddler is free to use method one or two. Once you have completed your remount, catch your breath and sort out your leash before continuing on your way.





Dunlop Freedom Paddle Double Series #3|March





Paddling Race March 2019 IMAGES Cobus and Salome Erasmus





Stihl Umko Marathon March 2019 Grantevent Thiel IMAGES From





FNB Dusi February 2019 IMAGES Graham Daniel


IMAGE Paddling Photos

Let’s Race Events , events & more events







Brak Challenge

James Jordaan 084 429 9944

Clipperty Challenge Pam Golding King of the Kromme Plettenberg Buco Adventure Challenge

Gougamma Race Chalumna Challenge


Knysna CC East London

ECCU Marathon Champs Harbour to Heads



Knysna Festival Canoe Polo


Border Winter Series 1 Pam Golding Winter Challenge St Francis Canal, 10km or 20km Border Winter Series 2 Breakfast Series - Paddling Shop 1 Breakfast Series - Paddling Shop 2 Border Winter Series 3 Breakfast Series - Paddling Shop 3 Kowie Intercity Challenge

Port Elizabeth Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth




Florida & Schools League K1 Marathon K2 Marathon

Race 6, FLC

BASF Watuni Klip Novice Race Sprints Likkewaan Vaal K1 Marathon K2 Marathon VLC Flat & Schools Race

Scout Hall to Caravan Park, 16km Roodeplaat



Rhys Herbert 0825616539 JCC


Rhys Herbert 0825616539 Rhys Herbert 0825616539

FebRuary 14 – 16 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon


2 High Altitude Surf Ski Champs 9 – 10 SA Canoe Polo Champs 16 – 17 Umkomaas Marathon


20 – 21Orange Decent 27 Freedom Paddle 28 SA Single Surfski Champs

May 11 – 12

Durban International Canoe Polo Festival


15 – 17 SA Marathon Champs 22 Pink Lady Drakenstein Marathon 22 – 23 JCC Vaal Marathon 30 Harbour 2 Heads


3 – 6 Berg River Marathon 6 Scottburgh 2 Brighton 6 – 7 Senior World Champs Sprint Trials 13 – 14 Knysna Canoe Polo Festival THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 91


RACE GCU Marathon Champs Sprints 3

SAT 15 - SA MON 17 Marathon SAT 22 SUN 23 JULY SUN 7 SAT 27 SUN 28 AUGUST SAT 17 SUN 18 SUN 25




K1 and K2

Champs JCC Vaal Marathon

Sprints 4 Centurion 9 Miler Schools League Race SAMC Watuni Klip Sprints 5 FLCC Klip

Roodeplaat Roodeplaat

Roodeplaat Ixoxo Manzi to Caravan Park




Durban Surfski Race Winter Surfski Series 1 Winter Surfski Series 2 Durban International Canoe Polo Festival KZN Marathon Champs Winter Surfski Series 3 Winter Surfski Series 5 Pirates-Umhlanga-Pirates Surfski Race


Shongweni Dam Camps Drift



31 – 1 Liebenbergsvlei 2 Day Race


7- 8 Breede River Canoe Marathon 10 – 11 Canoe Polo Africa Champs 27 – 28 Hansa Fish Marathon SA K2


9 – 10 Lowveld Croc 19 – 20 Likkevaan 2 Day Race

november 2 – 3 Pete Marlin Surfski Race

December 21 Cape Point Challenge THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 93

DATE SUN 16 SAT 22 or SUN 23 SUN 30 JULY SAT 6 SUN 14 SAT 20 SUN 21 SUN 28 AUGUST THU 22 SAT 24 SUN 25 TUE 27 SAT 31




5 Beaches Surfski Race Balito Downwind Surfski Race Point Water Sports Surfski Race 1 Scottburgh to Brighton Surfski Pount Water Sport Surfski Race 2 Share-List Property Season Opener Point Water Sport Surfski Race 3 Point Water Sport Surfski Race 4 Lance Park Memorial Shaka Challenge Alex Caruth - Ernie Alder Challenge Duncan Scotney Nite Race Da’Real Downwind Series Race 1

DUC, 9am, 6km or 12km Upper Umngeni, 16km

Umzinyathi Canoe Club

DUC, 9am, 6km or 12km DUC, 9am, 6km or 12km

NCC Camps Drift, 16km ZKC Clubhouse, Meerensee, Richards Bay, 21km Upper Umngeni, 16km PYC, 16km Pirates - Umdloti, 22km


SAT 27 MAY SAT 4 SAT 11 SAT 18 SUN 19 WED 22 SAT 25 JUNE SAT 1 SAT 8 SAT 15



There and Back Surfski Challenge Paarl - Le Bac Orange River Descent

Berg River, 9am Uppington

EUROSTEEL Freedom Paddle

Oceana Club, Cape Town, 27km

Robin Tindall

Marina Da Gama K1 Paarl to Lady Loch WCCU Marathon Champs

Peninsula Canoe Club Novice K1, Paarl

10km K1 Paarl to Skootjie K1

Milnerton Paarl

Gouda to Bridgetown Herman to Goude K1 Wellington to Herman

Berg River Berg River



CONTACT Dawid Mocke

9 1 ‘ r e b 13 Octo 9am @ Peninsula Canoe club

Short Course 2km Paddle 2km Run

family event! Enter as either a relay team or an individual!

All you need is a pair of running shoes, any paddling craft that Long Course can go the distance, paddle and 6km Paddle of course lifejacket! 5km Run

Find out more: Zandvlei Duathlon THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 95





Pink Lady Drakenstein Marathon Misverstand to Klein Paradys

WCCU K1 Champs, Berg River, 75km Berg River

Berg River Marathon

Berg River, 240km

K2 10km Wyzersdrift K2 Olifants Marathon K1

Peninsula Canoe Club

Olifants River


IMAGE Mauritius Surfski Week




MAY 23 - 26 MAY 26 MAY 31 - JUN 2 MAY 31 - JUN 2 JUL 25 - 28

ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup Molokai Ski Race ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup ICF Canoe Marathon World Cup ICF Junior & U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships

Poland Hawaii Germany Norway Romania

JUN 29 - 30

Mauritius Surfski Race


AUG 1 - 4 AUG 3 AUG 21 - 25 SEP 9 - 15 SEP 15 OCT 15-16 OCT 17-20 NOV 23 - 24

Junior & u23 Sprint Championships Sella Descent ICF Canoe Sprint World & Paracanoe Championships ICF Ocean Racing World Championships 50th Liffey Descent ICF Canoe Marathon Masters Championships ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships Perth Doctor World Cup

Pitesti, Romania Spain Szeged, Hungary St Pierre de Queberon Dublin, Ireland Shaoxing, China Shaoxing, China Perth, Australia



View from the back of the boat

As I sit here in the dark I have a strange sense of security so it is probably time for a confession. Deep breath, here is goes - I am not really much of a paddler. Sure I can hold my own against a newbie or someone paddling a plastic kayak for the first time but after that I am pretty much on my own. But I have been around for a while and I simply love our sport so by default I have been roped in to a number of roles. After my own very dodgy river proficiency, I decided


that it does not help our sport if the measure of one proficiency is measured by the speed at which one can run up a driveway to get your book signed off. So I signed up and did the course under Santa Clause himself.

Fast forward a bit and I find myself at a new club and as luck would have it I am the only qualified safety officer! Well the rains have finally arrived on the southern tip of Africa and people’s attention are once again turning

to rivers. So it is time to summon up the courage to run the course again. Next deep breath - 9 club members sign up. Super we are good to go.

put my big feet in the cockpit catch some reeds and over we go! Great start to the day. Apologise – empty – apologise again – get in. All good this time and off we go.

Being fully aware of my lack of ability – I planned this trip well. Either I will be in my trusty K1 (Fine) or failing that I will jump in my Yetti K2 (even better) with a newbie. I am sorted. But either way the chances of swimming are 100 to 1. I really don’t mind if the newbies swim – that is part of the experience. But I have a number of Dusi’s, fishes, Umko’s under my belt so swimming in front of them would be mortifying. Then suddenly late on Friday night I get the message one of the newbies boats has not materialised. Hmm what to do? Yes, I will do the course again in April but we are keen to go down the river tomorrow morning. There is water in the river now and in the Cape you capitalise on that while you can. Ok, change of plan; put the two newbies in the Yetti and I will jump in to my sleek racing K2 with another newbie.

Turns out she is a natural, we ferry glide, successfully paddle up and down stream while keeping an eye on the other paddlers and have a blast. Shew so good so far! Then one of the newbies falls out in the middle of an s-bend rapid. In a moment of lapsed reason I suggest that we paddle up the rapid to get to him. It works; we get right up to him and carefully drift up to the trees on the opposite bank so that I can keep an eye on him.

Saturday morning dawns and we are off to the Breede. Finally after seeing to everyone else my partner and I jump in to my boat. She jumps in the back and puts her splashy on like a natural. I jump in and while trying to

Unbeknown to us we have drifted back slightly in to some rocks. To get free we wiggle the boat and I dropped my paddle (golden rule – never let go your paddle) then I see a paddle in the water and grab it. Turns out it was my partners paddle and she was still holding it and over we go. Blast. Down the rapid we go swimming at the back of our boat. Apologise – empty – apologise again – get in. On the way home she says nice things like, that was fun and we should do it again sometime. But I have been on enough dates to realise the odds of that.


IMAGE Photos By Carolyn J Cooper

Profile for The Paddle Mag

Paddle Mag 2 2019 April/May  

We are branching out and taking our first steps in to covering international races which we are super excited about! but we also retain our...

Paddle Mag 2 2019 April/May  

We are branching out and taking our first steps in to covering international races which we are super excited about! but we also retain our...