Paddle Mag 6 2018 December / January

Page 1

Issue 6 2018 Dec / Jan





Race Reviews

Full Calendars

IMAGE Graham Daniel



22 DAWID MOCKE Pioneering the way








9 INBOX 86 OUT AND ABOUT 10 TIDBITS News! News! News! 92 CALENDARS Canoeing, Surfski and SUP events around 30 OPINION Family time the country, get training and planning 78 PADDLING TIPS Jump in a Ski 98 VIEW FROM THE BACK OF THE BOAT

& the WINNER is... Brandon Kilbride enjoy your

THULE ENROUTE BACKPACK 23L A 23L daypack with unique L-shaped opening, discrete SafeZone valuables storage and spacious yet integrated zippered side pockets. WWW.THULE.COM

ON THE COVER IMAGE EVENT Fish River Canoe Marathon 2018 PHOTOGRAPHER Graham Daniel

PHOTOGRAPHY Graham Daniel Cape Town Sport Photography Jean Tresfon iSLE of TAM Celliers Kruger Romy Parker Paddling Photos Grant Thiel Rob Mousley Pete Marlin Surfski Cape Town Surfski School

Send your letters to

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


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.

LEE MCGREGOR Lee has represented SA in numerous watersports, from swimming to surf lifesaving, surfski paddling, canoeing and surf iron man. He has broken world records, won world titles from Masters swimming to canoeing. He has coached all his life, including being the SA Olympic Canoeing Coach. He can be found in Durban doing what he loves doing: “Having fun. And having fun is winning!”

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.


He developed his passion for paddling as a surf lifesaver. He 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.

PAULA JANSE VAN RENSBURG Founder and director of the Diala-Picnic group,Yoom Wellness and Business Women Collective, a mompreneur with a passion to help others live their best lives!

CELLIERS KRUGER 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.


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.

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.

DON WEWEGE 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.

FROM THE ED We were hoodwinked – sorry As you may be aware we have steered clear of sensationalism. Except for our athletes of course because they are simply sensational! As a publication we have been sent emails about club members ‘drunk behind the bar, missing money, cheating etc..’ and our approach has been to gently steer the email’er back to their committee in order to chat to them first. So when I was stopped on the beach and told about an article referring to a water sports permit and then received emails from irate paddlers referring to the same I made the mistake of not checking it out first and simply posted the article on our facebook page. What I got back reflected my own outrage! Which is a good thing I guess as it means that other people understood it the same way as I did. We are already heavily taxed, we pay for our water and for the privilege of having a pipe go into our house, I have to buy an activity permit for my family to go cycling in the mountains around us, I pay for beach parking in order to get to my club and the list goes on and on. This new water permit just seemed to be another way for the state to make



more money from us. I was getting ready for a fight – enough is enough! The next 24 hours were a humbling experience as city councillors took my irate phone calls and answered my emails. “This by-law does not pertain to beaches or the use of water craft on the sea... and the bylaw does not apply below the high water mark – hence no ocean paddlers are affected.The existing permit for paddlers at Rietvlei would continue. Other water bodies in the City do not have a paddling tariff eg. Zandvlei, Zeekoevlei.” What! I thought but the headline says “You may soon have to pay for a permit to do any watersports in Cape Town” so I downloaded every Recreational Water Use document I could find to try and read for myself. I must tell you that having read the documents and spoken to a few more people the former appears to be more accurate than the latter. Lesson learnt! Just because it could be true, or because it has been tried before doesn’t make it true. So we will go back to doing what we love – let the athletes be sensational and we will do our best to report on them. Ed.


Send your letters to Dear Paddle Mag, The Freedom Paddle, a 28km circumnavigation around the Robben Island and back to the Oceania Power Boat Club celebrated the Freedom Day in commemoration to the first postapartheid democratic elections held 27 April 1994. The inaugural Bamboo Warehouse Freedom Paddle set out to add lustre to the Capes Surfski Calendar by offering an iconic annual event to liken with the Cape Point Challenge and hopefully benefit from windless autumn conditions within Cape Town’s bosom of Table Bay. By extending the surfski season to overlap the traditional start of the Capes canoe calendar, it provided a double edge sword offering an alternative option to the current nonexistent rivers that have dried up until sufficient rainfall return again, as the Western Cape Canoe Union (WCCU) had nervously anticipated to see their

coffers shrink with a looming #DayZero effect.The 1st of April also marked the calendar year which WCCU 2018 affiliation fees became due and a lack of rivers created an obvious hiccup.

The WCCU high affiliation fees are carried by a seemingly diminishing annual membership count with Canoe South Africa (CSA) taking R 335 with R615 going to the union to carry the administration cost of its endeavours which traditionally only focuses upon canoeing. Since many surfski paddlers forked out R950 in December to ensure they are CSA compliant for the Cape Point Challenge and whilst they are able to use their ‘one free CSA event waiver’ many are bulking that their fees haven’t been carried over for a full year of benefit and are needing to crack open their piggy bank again. Many canoeists are partially dependent on sanctioned river races to

access the start or finish of races gain favourable access through the racing calendar months, surf skiers on the other hand, barring a CSA number to comply with the South African Marine Safety Authority (SAMSA) waiver granted for surfski crafts and assuming paddlers follow safety kit and protocols along within use of the NSRI linked Safetrx have comparatively unlimited access to the sea for infinite paddling freedom according to the conditions. The issue of CSA/SAMSA compliance with a steep R950 WCCU fee is a sticky issue and barrier to ensure total compliance as only participant paddlers at CSA sanctioned or WCCU affiliated events comply yet recreational surfski paddlers slip under the radar.

For the record CSA pay R53 000 per annum for the ‘liability cover’ insurance that equates to R21.20 for the 2500 registered paddlers with the balance of the R335 going towards the other CONT Pg 77

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TIDBITS LEE MCGREGOR WINS STEVE TSHWETE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 67 year old McGregor drives the MacSquad training programme based at Blue Lagoon, capping a sporting career that has included represented South Africa over fifty times in swimming, surf lifesaving and canoeing, where he has broken numerous world records and won world titles at Masters swimming and canoeing. Much of his athletic prime was spent during the years of sporting isolation and he was never given the chance to fully test himself against the world’s best, but he has channelled his passion for sport into inspiring and coaching the next generation of athletes, while remaining a highly competitive athlete in his own right. The athletes he has nurtured included his son Hank McGregor, who has set a world record by winning eleven world marathon championship titles, in addition to victories at almost every major surfski and river marathon race on the global calendar. The MacSquad includes many paddlers that have gone on to achieve international success, from Jenna Ward (two times bronze medallist K1 U23 world marathons), and Kyeta Purchase winning a women’s K2 silver medal in 2016, Purchase’s bronze medal in the U18 K1 marathon champs, Hamish MacKenzie and David Evans’ silver medal in the U18 Boys K2 marathon, Christie MacKenzie winning a bronze medal in the K1 U18 girls marathon and numerous Masters medallists at Masters World Championships. A humbled McGregor said he appreciated the honour, and said the attention should be focussed on the ability sport has to galvanise a nation. “After all these years of waiting for some sort of recognition for the years of training and swimming hoping to get a chance to

The Bamboo Warehouse Freedom Paddle is proud to be hosting the 2019 SA DOUBLES CHAMPS, and launching The Freedom Paddle Doubles Series! Keep your eye on their FB page for more!

compete, which never ever happened, it is great to know that your country has remembered you,” said McGregor. “Who cares about those lost years? We are all in the same boat now and the only thing that is going to bring South Africa together is sport and music, so that is why we are doing what we do. “To be recognised after all these years is a tremendous honour. I am very very proud,” he concluded.

BREAKING NEWS!! Our congratulations go to Tarryn King on winning the International Surfing Association SUP World Championship Sprint Race in Wanning China. This is South Africa’s first-ever SUP Gold Medal and comes just over a year after she gave birth and retured to elite level for SUP Surfing and Racing. She also came an impressive 10th overall in the technical race.

SHAW AND PARTNERS DOCTOR The Doctor is a 27km surfski race from Rottnest Island to Sorrento Beach, Perth. Traditionally it is raced in the afternoon to make use of onshore wind that develops almost every day. Well this year was just not that day! It was raced on the 24th November in what can only be described as hot flat conditions. It started off with about 15 km of flat before some light wind eventually came through for the last 12km. This made for brutal racing as there was very little to work with. The end result was a hard fought battle in the men’s and ladies races.

MEN TOP 10 1. Cory Hill 2. Mackenzie Hynard 3. Clint Robertson 4. Sean Rice 5. Michael Booth 6. Tom Norton 7. Jasper Mocke 8. Kenny Rice 9. Mark Anderson 10. Austin Kieffer

WOMEN TOP 10 1. Georgia Laird 2. Naomi Flood 3. Teneale Hatton 4. Hayley Nixon 5. Jemma Smith 6. Rachel Clarke 7. Brianna Massie 8. Wendy Reyntjies 9. Jenna Ward 10. Tegan Fraser


SEADOG MIXING IT UP! The highly competitive Friday evening Seadog #nevercancelled paddled out of Fish Hoek Lifesaving club has taken on a new challenge in the form of individual challenges thanks to the grand sponsorship of Toshiba. The idea is great; challenge a mate on the Seadog course – you might as well have it out in the open; you race each other every Friday night anyway! The winner, or most often the case so far, the winning team gets to give R500 to a charity of their choice courtesy of Toshiba. Ew The new challenge is taking the paddling community by storm with paddlers dressing up as pirates and fairies before waging war on the water. What started off as individual challenges has grown and last weekend there were six teams racing in one challenge and two teams competing in another challenge. If this keeps up they will need their own batch soon!

LONG SUMMER DAYS ARE MAKING A RETURN AND SO IS DAWID MOCKE’S SURFSKI SCHOOL. The four-time-winning surfski champion will be reopening his Surfski School for families and water fanatics in Fish Hoek and its surrounding areas. “Fish Hoek is one of the best and most beautiful places to learn how to surfski in South Africa. It’s an easy launch with a safe finish in sheltered waters, which are favourable to paddlers.The sport allows individuals to be more adventurous while enjoying a new challenge”, says Mocke. The school offers sessions for beginners and intermediate paddlers.The first is aimed at individuals who have never tried surfski before, where they are taught the basics under the watchful eye of a professional.The intermediate session is better suited to those who have surfskiied before, and who wish to challenge themselves while taking their skills to new heights. “Sessions are suitable for all fitness levels; the cost is R250 pp in a group session and R500 pp for individual sessions. With the new season and lovely weather on the horizon, we urge everyone to come to the beach this summer and join us for a great day in the sun, while learning a thing or two about surfskiing”, Mocke continues. Available dates for lessons are on the following Saturdays: 15 & 29 December 2018 5 – 26 January 2019 16 February – 16 March 2019 WWW.SURFSKISCHOOL.CO.ZA THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 13




This year’s Pete Marlin Surfski Race was host to South Africa’s Single Surfski Championships so it was always going to be a closely fought affair. With Jasper Mocké returning to defend his title that he narrowly grabbed from Hank McGregor (2016 SA Champ at the Pete Marlin) at last year’s Durban Downwind all eyes were on him to see if he could do it again in his new Epic V12 ski. It was not going to be an easy race for the two ‘favourites’ because chomping at the bit were two paddlers who have had more consistent good form this year: Kenny Rice and Nick Notten. The local favourites Bevan Manson and Joshua Fenn were also set to be strong contenders for podium positions with their great form and local knowledge. The Pete Marlin is a truly open ocean race that is not protected by bays or mountains. The Indian Ocean current flows from north to south down the African Continent but due to the bays and outcrops there is a counter flow close to shore so a paddlers decision to stay close or go out to sea can have a noticeable effect on one’s relative boat speed. The ladies race was wide open for the challengers as Michelle Burn


was not there to defend her 2017 title. In an interesting turn of events, in the run up to the 2018 Pete Marlin, Hayley Nixon has the ICF Open Ocean World Championship under her belt, but not the SA title. Could this be the year she sets the record straight? She has been in arguably her best form this year with wins at the Nelo Summer Challenge, Irish Coast Paddling Champs and the mammoth Molokai to list but three so all eyes were on her to see if she could pull it off. Not to be underestimated Nikki Birkett took the SA Title in the 2016 Pete Marlin and this was her playground, so she could certainly make the conditions work for her. Challenging those two all the way would be the formidable Bridgitte Hartley and Jenna Ward, both paddlers have had great results both here and abroad and would be looking to add one more title to their names as the year draws to a close. The wonderful surprise appearance of Chloë Bunnett added to the exciting vibe around the ladies race as Chloë had grown up just south of the start and has had a great year of racing on the European circuit. This was going to be fascinating to watch! For the rest of us the Pete Marlin means different things and we were determined to make the most of

the two awesomedays of paddling. For some of the locals the Pete Marlin is the iconic event of the year, simply the best two days of paddling for miles around. For others it was a chance to qualify for the upcoming Cape Point Challenge, but with the sharp end of the race vying for the SA title the times were going to be critical. There is also the ongoing rivalry between the provinces to see who has the most paddlers present – Congratulations to KZN for an astounding 85 paddlers! For the race organisers the big concern was the weather and swell size. In the week leading up to the races various weather apps had taken a stab at what the conditions might look like on the day. Some had 35/ 40 kts winds predicted with 4.5m swells but others said that the morning would be great with the wind changing at midday. It was anyone’s guess what we would wake up to on Saturday morning. So a huge shout out to the race organising committee who having seen the predicted conditions kept a level head and made the call to start the race at Glen Eden and race south to Nahoon Beach a distance of about 18.5km. The other great call was to get an early start to the day with the first batch off at about 7:30am.

We were greeted by near perfect conditions and to quote Brendon Thompson “the Best conditions we have had in the last 10 years!” Although the day started breathless by the time the first batch got off it had built into a steady 28km/h N and things were starting to get interesting. Once out to sea, the prevailing swell was about 1.5m running in a NE direction so one was able to work the wind chop to get out to sea and then surf the swells to the backline all the while being careful that you did not get ‘rock rash’ before heading out to sea again. The race organisers allowed the slower paddlers to go first which meant that they were in an ideal position to watch the race unfold and marvel at the top paddlers ability to milk runs when there was nothing in sight and rocket off when the big swells came through. I had about 30 seconds to watch Hayley Nixon come past and remind all of us why she is the best in the world. As I heard paddlers around me whooping with delight as they caught runs and watched the paddlers in front of me put down their paddles and wait for a whale to go past I was reminded why we love paddling so much. The top paddlers were having

none of that though; they were vying for the SA S1 title so every second counted. The fact that the race was over 18.5km meant that it was an all-out sprint for anyone wanting a podium position. From the horn, Nicholas Notten led the charge out to sea and then right down to Nahoon Beach. It took some serious hunting by Mocké, McGregor and Rice before they managed to reel him in. Mocké and Notten chose the deeper line while McGregor and Rice stuck closer to shore hoping to make use of the growing backline swell. As Mocké said about his race “It went well. I found a really good rhythm through the middle part of the race completely on my own and I think that’s what got me ahead. I was deeper than everyone else which seems to have worked. At the three sister rocks I was a bit surprised as I wasn’t expecting the finish so soon so I slowed a little there but managed to keep going. I knew that Hank and Kenny were right there even though I couldn’t see them.” The deeper line gave Mocké the edge as he was able to capitalise on the ground swell running almost directing in to Nahoon and the finish. McGregor having chosen the tighter line was left to negotiate his way through three sisters and ended up just north of the finish

line allowing Mocké time to dash across the finish and take the win. His winning time of 1:04 gives him a blistering pace of 17.3km/h over the course. We caught up with Mocké after his win and this is what he had to say about the conditions “I thought the conditions for the singles was perfect for a major race. Pretty safe but challenging and technical enough to test everyone’s skills.” He also praised the development of the new Epic V12 Elite, going on to say “I am loving the new boat. She’s a beauty!” The last time this field of ladies raced at the Pete Marlin was in 2016 and it was Nikki Birkett who took the win (by over a minute) from Hayley Nixon and then Jenna Ward followed by Kyeta Purchase and Chloë Bunnett. Well time has moved on so it was always going to be interesting to see whether the results would still stand. But all the speculation was laid to rest very soon after the start as Nixon showed us all why she is the reigning Open Ocean World Champion in leading from start to finish in those testing conditions. This is not to say that it was easy; there were moments when it looked like the other ladies may have the edge. Hartley went charging out the blocks as only she can and Ward certainly kept the


pressure on Nixon when she opted to go deep and capitalised on the bigger ocean swell. But by the half way mark Nixon was pacing herself off some of the leading men as the worked their way through batches B, C and D. In the end Nixon romped home with nearly a three minute lead on Ward who was a further minute ahead of Birkett. MENS RESULTS 1. Jasper Mocke 2. Hank McGregor 3. Kenneth Rice 4. Nicholas Notten 5. Bevan Manson

1:04:13 1:04:30 1:04:54 1:05:45 1:06:28

LADIES RESULTS 1. Hayley Nixon 1:14:48 2. Jenna Ward 1:17:37 3. Nikki Birkett 1:18:15 4. Bridgitte Hartley 1:19:32 5. Chloe Bunnett 1:20:47 On Saturday afternoon while we were all recovering from an amazing morning of paddling that the first


sms’s came through. “We needed to be on the beach by 6am and only experienced paddlers should line up tomorrow morning.” The race organisers had made the call for two reasons. The first was that the NE wind was expected to drop during the morning and then change to SE as the cold front arrived. Secondly and most importantly the swells had picked up over the night. They had seemly least doubled from the day before – They were huge. Our first indication of how big the swells were was when we noticed that the big NSRI boat that was lying off shore simply disappeared in the trough between swells. Then at the race briefing Brendon Thompson stressed that we should all stay far offshore to avoid getting caught on the reefs or by rough waves. Here again the race organisers need to be commended on their courage to run this course. It is easy to look back when all the skis are in to say that it was the right decision but

when you are standing on the beach and you have no idea about half the fields paddling ability and the swells are coming through at about 4m it is a completely different question. Thankfully there was still a little channel to get out to backline but even then we were nearly flattened by two huge sets that came off the reef to the left of us. Watching the double in front of us just going up and up before they crested the wave was truly a breath taking experience. We paddled out for about 1.5km before we turned to head home and even then we were not sure that we would be safe. On Saturday one was able to work the wind swell to go left on Sunday we were surfing the wind swell to the left. Catching the ocean swell was lot of fun on Saturday but on Sunday it was a exhilarating. The runs just went on and on and if you were lucky enough to be able to see through the spray coming off the bow of your ski you could surf

until Brendon’s warning of rock rash resounded in your ears and you pulled out and headed out to sea again. It was the experience that you dream about and will remember for years to come as the time and will probably be the benchmark of what a fantastic downwind should be for years to come! Up at the front end Andy Birkett and Hank McGregor teamed up along with the formidable pair of Stuart McLaren and Kenny Rice (SA Marathons 2nd team) and the 2018 Freedom Paddle winners Jasper Mocke and Nicholas Notten. These were the same pairings from SA Marathon Champs so it was clear from the start that these guys were taking this very seriously and capitalising on time that they had already spent in the boat. It was neck and neck racing for the top three boats and with the big swells rolling though it was impossible to tell who was in the lead. As Jasper put it “doubles day was quite big and loads of fun. We paddled really

well and we’re in it right until the end. Unfortunately we were taken out by a wave at the finish, lucky I had my leash on and we didn’t lose the boat!” By that time Andy and Hank had built up a slender lead of about 100m on the chasers giving them the win and Andy’s first surfski title. They completed the course in just under an hour! Stuart and Kenny were right behind them and claimed a well-earned second step on the podium. Fortunately Jasper and Nicky were able to recover quickly from their swim and still managed to jump on to the third step some two and a half minutes ahead of forth position. The ladies race took on a more daring approach to the partnerships with two of the top three partnerships being untested. Hayley Nixon teamed up with Carbonology Sport teammate Chloë Bunnett who is out from Spain and Bridgitte Hartley teamed up with Ms Downwind herself Sharon Armstrong. Makes you wonder if

Bridgitte knew about the conditions weeks ago? This was a brave move considering that Nikki Birkett (exwinner) and Jenna Ward had teamed up and the SA Doubles title was on the line. To add to the tension Hayley and Chloe were paddling a new ski – Chloë picks up the story “Hayley and I have never paddled together, we chose not to warm up and just to jump in at the start and go for it, we don’t get conditions like that in Europe and I was glad we had the best double on the market, it is a brand new model of the Carbonology Blast and it is fast but really stable. I had a lot of fun in those conditions but then I was behind the World Champ so I was confident of Hayley’s decisions.” We then asked her about the actual race. “We combined really well. The start was tricky and the side swell made for a tough start. We were racing Jenna Ward and Nikki Birkett right from the start, they were


close to us and at one point they pulled ahead. I just concentrated on keeping time and adding to the power. We had a section where we really clicked and we linked a good few runs, this is when we passed Jenna and Nicky and created a little gap. That’s when Hayley said lets go and make this gap count, and we did. We stayed just outside of Three Sisters and had a good line in.” Jenna and Nikki never gave up and opted for the huge gamble of taking


the tigers line through three sisters in order to sneak ahead of Hayley/ Chloë. The gamble did not pay out quite enough allowing Hayley/ Chloë to go sailing across the finish line with just over a thirty second lead. This gave Hayley her second title that weekend and makes her the reigning World Champion, SA S1 and SA S2 Champion and Chloë returned home to claim her first SA title! We asked her about her experience

of being back in South Africa “I really enjoyed coming back to South Africa to race, the surfski community over here is awesome. The conditions are so different from Europe so it is great to be able to come here and test myself in these conditions, we only had one scary moment when we decided to pull out of a huge drop, but no swims and just a lot of fun!”

MENS RESULTS 1. Birkett / McGregor 2. MacLaren / Rice 3. Mocke / Notten 4. Lewin / Manson 5. J Fenn / A Hart

59:24 1:00:00 1:00:31 1:03:04 1:03:36

LADIES RESULTS 1. Nixon / Bunnett 1:11:14 2. Birkett / Ward 1:11:51 3. Armstrong / Hartley 1:15:32 4. Bennett / Scott 1:23:17 5. Murray / Breetzke 1:25:41


DAWID MOCKE Pioneering the way



DAWID’S CAREER AT A GLANCE 4 x World Surfski Series Champion 2009, 2010,-2012 29 x International Surf Ski titles 3 x SA Surfski Champion Titles SA Surf Lifesaving Champion SA Lifesaving Victor Ludorum, 2005 24 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

SA Lifesaving Surfski Sprint Singles & Doubles 2005 & 2010 SA Lifesaving Paddleboard 1997, 2001 & 2005 6 x SA Team Member - Canoeing & Surf Lifesaving

TPM Wow it is amazing to be sitting down with a legend of the sport – how did it all begin? DM At the end of 2001, I heard about an International race that they were running from Hout Bay to Camps Bay. It was called the king of the harbour and it was being organised by Nigel Reynolds, to mirror a race that Dean Gardiner was organising by the same name. Nigel had arranged sponsorship money and got the top paddlers to come over; Dean (Gardiner), Lewis, Hank and Lee (McGregor), Oscar and Herman (Chalupsky). I was just a kid at the time and I thought that it sounded amazing. I borrowed a ski from Ant Pearse and he was highly incensed because I pulled off all his race stickers. Only later on did I realise what value race stickers had (sorry!)


After that, I discovered open ocean racing thanks to a person called Billy Harker. In my mind before Billy opened up the series to anyone who has a surfski there wasn’t an open surfski race except for the Molokai. The fact that Billy started running a series in the mid-nineties where anyone could enter sparked something. That move was mirrored by Dean Gardiner in Australia but I would pin it on Billy for starting the ball rolling. They were joined by a guy called Rob Mousley who started Suddenly there was this interest from people that were starting to paddle and wanting to know more and Rob was happy to point them in the right direction. From 2002, I started competing in Billy’s series more regularly and that

is where it started for me. From the time that I decided to pursue surfsking, I knew that I wanted other people to try it and that is why I started the surfski school. So I quit my job at a software company and started the surfski school. Then I basically started hunting for races to do so that I could ‘earn’ prize money from the races. TPM First international race DM My first international race was in 2004, when I went to a race called King of the Harbour in Auckland. Basically what I did is I researched all the international races that one could do and then I phoned the race organisers and asked them what the prize money was.

IT WAS A VERY EASY CALCULATION; HOW MUCH WAS THE PRIZE MONEY - PLANE TICKET, AND IF I MADE ANY MONEY, HEY PRESTO, I WAS A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE. TPM How did the World Surfski Series come about DM I quickly realised that if enough guys attended the races, we could start some sort of series. But you could never find any information on them which is why I was man on a mission to find out about the races. I would then distribute the information to all the athletes in order to encourage them to travel. This is not a unique idea; a lot of guys were having the same idea at this time. But I took it on the chin and said well ‘I am doing it’, I will race the series even in its rudimentary form. Fortunately for me there were a number of influential people that bought in to it like Oscar Chalupsky, Rob Mousley, Dean Gardiner and all the athletes. At that time the Bartho brothers and Barry Lewin were also

travelling which helped raise the profile of the races. I think that the first World Series was in 2007 and it was wonderful. TPM Who were you idols when you started out? DM MY DAD IS A BIG

PART OF MY JOURNEY, HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO TRAIN, HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO TRAIN HARD, HE TAUGHT ME ABOUT NOT GIVING UP, RACING TO YOUR BEST, GOING ALL OUT FOR THE WIN BUT NOT BEING TOO CAUGHT UP IN THE END RESULTS. Certainly listening to Oscar when he came back and told us about his international races was inspiring. I would think – I would love to do that. I do remember watching Lee (McGregor) compete in a knock out series in Plettenburg Bay (98/99?) he must have been in his late 40ies and thinking ‘wow, look how fit he is!’ But in terms of major idols, not really because that is the nature of our sport. Our sport doesn’t really lend itself to idols because either they are humble or they get humbled very quickly by the ocean. It is a great leveller – so in our sport you don’t really get rock stars which is a wonderful thing to have. Most of the guys are very approachable TPM What is your best memory of starting out? DM Up until the Dubai Shamaal in 2007 I had only just been able to eke out a living with the prize money. But the Dubai Shamaal had a $20000.00 winner’s prize and when you bring that back to South Africa it is a considerable amount! It helped me launch the Mocke brand, paid for some of Nikki’s Olympic dream and we put down a deposit on a house. THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 25

TPM The prize money at surfski races seems to be on an upswing how do you feel about that? DM I am super excited about that because I have always said that the higher the profile of the race, the more value everyone gets out of it. So having good prize money and getting the top athletes to your event really makes the event.Yes, there are events that are beautiful and fun to paddle and you don’t need top paddlers there but it is nice to have a high profile event too. My concern about the recent sponsors is the sustainability of it because I have seen a lot of sponsors come and go. I think that it is wise to steer it in a sustainable fashion so at least if there are lean times one can get through them, it doesn’t detract from the events at all. TPM What are some of your best memories of local races? DM I have fourteen years of travelling and going to these lovely events so it is very difficult to pick and choose but on the local circuit some races still stand out. The first one is the really hectic Durban World Cup. The second is that in 2007 Jasper and I won the Dolphin Coast challenge; in those years it was a double ski only race and traditionally the Natalians were dominating surfski paddling. So to go there and win the downwind in really big NE conditions was an absolute stand-out! Another standout is Billy organising those races through the Knysna Heads. Anyone that has paddled out through the heads will know that firstly, there are very few windows of opportunity to do it. Secondly, even on those rare occasions when one can, it is quite a daunting prospect. So, to have the balls to 26 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

not only organise a race that starts in the lagoon and went out through the heads and then then actually managing to pull it off! I cannot give him enough credit for that race actually happening and it happened three or four times. TPM Any funny mishaps along the way? DM When I started out I had a sponsor that was really trying to make things work and while their intentions were great, the execution was not always there. So sometimes the boat would not make it to the event (before FENN). They would expect me to not do the race because they had paid for the plane ticket. This happened twice before I said “look I cannot carry on like that.” The first time was in St Francisco and the second was in Perth. I ended up winning the USA Surfski Champs in a brand other than the one that was sponsoring me. The biggest mishap in my career as an athlete happened at The Doctor in Perth. I have never missed a buoy ever – I do not cut cans. Be it in training, playing, time trials, sea dog whatever it is, the golden rule is that Mocké’s do not cut the cans. My ski had arrived in Perth in a very sorry state. It was so bad that while doing the opening race the day before The Doctor it had basically sunk because it had so many holes in it. The end result was that I did not finish the race. So come day two I wanted to give a good showing of myself. I spent the rest of day one and the evening fixing my boat. This carried on to the morning of the race so I missed the race briefing. I was not too worried, thinking that I would make it up as we went along but then I got in to the lead. Having missed the briefing, I missed the instruction about a buoy that we

were supposed to go around. So I got to the beach after having an amazing race only to be told that I had missed a can and that I was disqualified. That was a real lowlight for me and a massive hit because not only did I not finish the race on the first day, I got disqualified for not going around a can on the second day and it is completely against my nature. The last one is a bit odd but I have never been able to race an ICF World Champs. I last won the World Series in 2012. In 2013 we did not have a World Series but my results from that year speak for themselves – everything was lining up for me before the inaugural 2013 Championship year and my appendix burst two days before. Then missing the next two World Championships were tough decisions, during the first one I was in Antarctica and last year I was in the South Georgia Islands.


but that being said, it still kind of hurts that I have never actually raced a world championship race at ICF level. TPMWhen did the relationship with FENN start? DM That is quite a highlight for me and a personal story. In the beginning I did a lot of hustling to get to events; 2004 – 2007 was a real hustle. Trying to find the money for plane tickets, find sponsorship, I was literally writing proposals all the time. I tried to sell branding on my ski and was constantly contacting all the people I thought would help. I regularly got red herrings from people saying that they are keen to sponsor me but then it did not materialise in the end. Note to any business owner – don’t give people

false hope. Just be straight up; rather say no straight off the bat rather than yes and then not come up with the goods. The early days of hustling were hard and basically one day I just gave up. I did have sponsors at the time but they were not helping me get to the races and my biggest obstacle was getting to races. I was actually driving along Boyes Drive at the time and basically I prayed and said Lord I cannot do this anymore so I hereby resign, if it is going to happen then you are going to have to do it, I do not know how but I have quit fighting for it. That was at the top of Boyes Drive, as I arrived at the traffic lights at the bottom of Boyes Drive (about 2min later) I got a phone call from Keith Fenn and he says that he would like to pay for me to go to races – can you believe it? I was blown away by that! That was at the end of 2007, the beginning of 2008. So that is when

I became a Fenn Athlete and now it would be near impossible for me to not paddle a Fenn. We worked on a model from there. At first I used to submit a list of races and Fenn would select which races to support but now they just allocate me a budget. TPM Your son is turning out to be an amazing paddler, as your S2 partner and on his own. What is that like? DM Watching Sam paddling is awesome and really rewarding but not because he paddles. It doesn’t matter to us what he does as long as he is enjoying it. I love watching him and Sarah doing things that they enjoy and we want to support them in it completely. Watching him throw himself in to anything is very rewarding; I am just fortunate that it is paddling so I can still paddle. TPM How did you introduce him

to paddling? DM Right from the start, Sam really wanted to hop in a double so that is how it got started but I just need to state for the record that we have never ever pushed him to do it at all – never. That was very intentional from our side. In fact, we have actually done the very opposite and stopped him paddling because we felt that he was not ready or that he would be put off by it. Especially in the early years, we thought that he should just enjoy it and have fun. TPM Your advice to parents in terms of introducing their children to sports? DM The first is facilities – it needs to be a nice safe/ non-threatening environment. Then I think that the kids always need an out so that they feel empowered. I don’t think that they want to feel trapped in the sense that they have to do this


to please you. So when we are at the beach I am constantly asking Sam/ Sarah whether they are happy and if they want to try this or that. Sometimes you can sense a little hesitation about the size of the waves so we step it down and focus on the smaller waves rather. The kids must always know that they can pull the pin and tap out at any point. That would be my best advice; you encourage, you do not force; you teach, you do not dictate. As parents we need to remember that there are similarities but we also need to learn about their characters; what they like and don’t like. We have a firm rule with our kids that goes for all their extra mural activities. They are allowed to try it out for two weeks and then they have to make a decision; to do it or not do it. There is no obligation on them to want to do anything. Once they have decided to do it they know that they are in for the term. That is it and no matter how hard it gets you will finish what you started. TPM What did your training regime look like in the beginning? And now? DM Just to be up front to any aspirant professional paddler – you have to train hard, there are no short cuts.


The guy that has done the most training is going to win the race; it is a very simple equation. I started training really hard when I was 17 up until 25. There was another block in my late twenties of really hard high mileage (sometimes 200km/week).Every year builds on to the next year, basically I have 20 years of consistent training behind me so as long as I keep moving 28 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

there is a lot of training that I do not have to do to in order to maintain a certain level of fitness. From 18 – 28 you have a very rapid rate of improvement, so that is your window to put in a lot of training and that will set you up for the rest of your career. Nowadays my basic regime is to train once a day for six days a week. When I get out there, I make sure it counts! TPM What goes through your mind in the 10 minutes before a race? DM Just before the race you are strategizing a lot; if you have decided that you are going to win the race.


that decision sets you up. It is very important for any aspirant athlete who is reading this, to realise that this is a decision that you are going to have to make. The decision dictates your actions. The decision is a lot easier to make when you have done the training. It is also a lot easier to make when you have checked out the route and done your preparation. So 10 minutes before I am really strategizing, I am matching up the conditions with my race plan. There are some athletes whose race plan is not to have a plan as such but I like to have a set plan. I race best by minimising variables, so try and have as few surprises as possible. Minimal stuff on my boat, minimal stuff on my paddles and I try and minimise scenarios. Anyone who has raced against me in the last couple of years will tell you my tactic is start hard and then go until you blow. Basically what happens is that if I am not in front, then I am doing everything in my power to get there. In the end, the chips fall where they may, you end up 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th ... that happens in

a race. But everything I did in the race, was to try and come 1st. I have never tried to defend a podium position; I have always tried to attack first place and that gives me a lot of satisfaction at the end of a race. When I know that I have done everything I can to win the race the result doesn’t really matter.


TPM You have mentioned that you are not going to Hong Kong or The Doctor this year does this mean that you are starting to hang up your international boots? DM It has been a very hard decision to not go to events that I have been doing for a decade or more because I love them. That is what got me started in the first place and I am passionate about it. But my family needs me at home and my business needs me at home. I definitely won’t be stopping travelling because my business requires it. Also there are so many exciting events coming up that I think that my focus will be on trying to get to events that I have not been to yet. TPM You are known as a great paddler and an even better MC from those that have seen you in action – will you be pursuing this from now on? DM I would love to pursue a commentator avenue; especially now with a lot of live streaming. If there is an opportunity for me to go to an event and commentate it, it would be a hard decision for me to make because I would much rather race than commentate but yes it is something that I would definitely look at. I like the role of MC because the role is absolutely

integral to the life of the event. People discount the role of good effective communication especially at an event level but it just make for a good event. When people know what is going on it makes a big difference.



people like that. But I enjoy it and I feel that I can do it quite well so it is something that I would continue to enjoy doing.

Any race organiser that has started a race will tell you that. It is near impossible to control a group of



Family Time



My previous two pieces focused on seconds (our unsung heroes) and paddling with children. This time I explore the logical extension of these themes: family time on the water. Most paddlers would love to share their passion for paddling with their families. This well-intentioned idea can have disastrous results. I believe that the biggest mistake most paddlers make is to put others (partners, children) in the same kayak - or type of kayak - that they paddle themselves; and usually in similar conditions too.

IMAGES Ray Chaplin IMAGE Celliers Kruger

It is unlikely that the same things that drew you into the sport and lifestyle of paddling will have the same pull on your nearest and dearest.You have acquired skills and experience over a period of time. They are beginners and do not have the competence to enjoy what you are trying to share with them.You need to approach introductions to paddling very differently.


ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS The first, and most important, consideration to keep in mind, before you take your family on the water, is to adjust your expectations. They could feel unstable and hesitant. They may struggle to paddle with good form and may find it challenging to steer the kayak. If everything goes right, they may have an amazing time on the water, but they could also be cold, tired, frustrated and anxious if you get it wrong. Plan introductions to kayaking with them in mind. Your second objective should be to make it fun. They will only join you for a second paddle if they enjoy the first one. It doesn’t matter what type of outing you’re planning; whether it is a one hour paddle, a full-day paddle or a multi-day trip, the focus needs to be on the experience and not about gaining skills.

BE CONSIDERATE Once your expectations are calibrated, focus on the details. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind: • The duration of your first outing with your family will depend on their current attitude towards paddling as well as their general experience of outdoor activities. If they are really hesitant about the thought of paddling, don’t take them on a full-day trip down a river. Plan an easy outing with a picnic sandwiched between 30 to 60 minutes of easy paddling on flatwater. If they are fit and strong and keen to give it a go, you can definitely do something more challenging, but always make sure to keep the focus on fun. • The easiest place to start is always on flatwater.Your local club may be a perfect location, but keep an open mind about it. For some

beginners, the club is an obvious place to start. Others could feel intimated by the ‘experts’ paddling around. Look around for dams or sections of river that have facilities for picnics and easy access to the water. • Make sure to take enough fluids to keep hydrated and if the outing is longer than an hour, pack snacks into the kayaks too. • Invest in or rent stable kayaks that are easy to handle. I firmly support the use of sit-on-tops. With safety in mind, sit-on-tops, are more stable than sit-ins. If a paddler ends up in the water, they can just get straight back onto the kayak instead of having to swim to the bank with it. Sit-in kayaks can be intimidating as beginners may feel trapped. • For a treat, book your family for a half or full-day commercial paddling trip. There are many options available in the country, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, on

different sections of the Vaal and Orange rivers, and also some rivers in Mpumalanga as well as rivers around Cape Town. Trips range from flatwater to proper whitewater rafting. There are also great options along the coast, with a number of operators offering harbour, lagoon and coastal paddling trips. • For a much more immersive experience, book a multi-day trip on a river. These range from two to six days. Magical nights are spent on the riverbank in tents. The most popular river in the country for multi-day trips is the Orange River, with commercial operations on six different sections of the river. Multiday trips are also offered on rivers like the Vaal, Breede, Doring, Tugela, Umkomaas, Umzimkulu and Umzimvubu. • As always, keep safety in mind. Do not go out on the water without a PFD, apply sunscreen, wear a hat and clothing suited to the conditions.

If you approach paddling with your family by keeping these basic points in mind, there is a good chance that they will have a positive experience. After a few outings your partner may want to take paddling seriously enough to do a race with you in a K2; your son may have so enjoyed his introduction to whitewater that he wants to learn more and get into the sport; or perhaps your daughter will show an active interest in canoe polo after attending an intro session.Your partner or child could choose to stick to easy recreational paddling or using a kayak for bird watching. Whether they grow to love paddling or, at the very least, gain an understanding and appreciation of what this sport does for you, depends on how you introduce them to paddling. CELLIERS KRUGER




EMMERENTIA DAM is situated less than

for anyone in town on business who wants to experience the natural side of the city.The suburb of Greenside is aptly named, boasting an abundance of outdoor splendour.The Johannesburg Botanical

Gardens, right next to the dam, are home to approximately 30 000 trees, more than 4 500 rose bushes and a stunning herb garden.

MUSHROOM FARM PARK is an extraordinary lush

with its playground, hilly landscaped lawns and an outdoor gym is popular with families for weekend picnics. The park is also known as Hyundai Sky Park, as a giant

Hyundai branded hot air balloon rises 120m above the space. When weather permits you can enjoy the balloon ride and an incredible view of Sandton.

6km from the Johannesburg city centre, and just a few minutes from Sandton, making it the ideal location

green hideaway in the Sandton Central business district. This park

WALTER SISULU BOTANICAL GARDENS While only founded in 1982, it has

been a popular venue for outings since the 1800’s. The Garden has been voted the best place to get back to nature in Gauteng for nine years in a row. The natural vegetation of the area is known as the ‘Rocky Highveld Grassland’ and consists of a mosaic of grassland and savanna, with dense bush in kloofs and along streams. The variety of habitats accommodates over 600 naturally occurring plant species.A breeding pair of majestic Verreaux’s Eagles nest on the cliffs alongside the waterfall. The Garden is home to an abundance of wildlife with over 220 birds species. There are also a number of reptiles and small mammals, including 34 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

small antelope and jackals, which occur naturally in the Nature Reserve.

PRETORIA BOTANICAL GARDENS The Garden, offers a beautiful green corridor in teh midst of urban development.You will find beds of indigenous plants that offer a home for many animal species.


is a great beach for picnics any time of year except for one day- the Virginia air show. The beach lies adjacent to our small aircraft airport, so it is a great beach to watch the air-show from! On any other day of the year it is a lovely tranquil beach with dune access- so having your picnic on the dunes protects you from the afternoon winds and gives you a bit of privacy from other beach goers. This is not a swimming beach so it won’t be over crowded, however there are people around as it has great surf for kite surfers! This is a public space so there are no entrance fees- just parking and perhaps paying the car guard!


You will find a haven of water gardens with Japanese structures and features. It is aid out in a traditional style that includes garden ponds which attract a variety of water birds.


are plenty of shady spots, and little hideaway area’s for that little bit of privacy! The gardens are spacious and lusciously green, so it doesn’t feel overcrowded and packed to capacity- even on a sunny Durban Saturday! There are restrictions (no

bikes, ball games, gazebos, umbrellas etc.) as it is not a park, but instead a garden to sit back, relax and learn about our great outdoors! It is a luscious, leisurely and a lovely space to forget the world and breathe your loved ones in!!


overlooks the King’s house and is not a busy area at all. It is a great space to sit back and relax and enjoy each other’s company. It is right in the centre of Morningside,

but when you are there you wouldn’t believe it! Listen to the birds, admire the view and take in the great outdoors- all in the centre of a bustling suburb!!

magnificent garden to have a picnic in and is also the oldest surviving botanic gardens in Africa! There

one of Durban’s best kept secrets. It is a well maintained park, with a beautiful display flower garden. It


LLANDUDNO BEACH is one of Cape Town’s most picturesque beaches. From


the water’s edge, the setting is even more appealing, with the beach framed by natural bush, and Judas Peak and Klein Leeukoppie (‘little

lion’s head’) rearing up on either side to form a dramatic mountain backdrop.



or Lion’s Rump, is a landmark flat-topped hill located in Cape Town, next to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. It is well known for its sunsets in summer!

What should be in your basket...


lives up to its reputation as the most beautiful garden in Africa and one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Offering breathtaking views of Table Mountain; Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town is beautifully maintained with great infrastructure, especially if you have children.

• • • • • • • • • • •

HAROLD PORTER BOTANICAL GARDEN This lovely garden is situated in the centre of the coastal fynbos where the flora is at its richest. It is well known for its waterfalls and amber pools.

• • •


Picnic Basket with plates, cutlery and glasses (biodegradable or reusable items) Variety of fruits, cheeses, biscuits, breads, dips, preserves, cold meats, salads, desserts FIY Food: pack snack-able, finger foods Plenty of Water Soft drinks and alcoholic bevarages Sun hat Sunscreen Lawn games (frisbee, boules, ball games) Insect repellent Tupperware containers for left overs Rubbish bags


Leave your picnic area clean from any rubbish, ready for the next family to enjoy. Don’t leave a trace! Stay away from single use plastic Take your rubbish home with you

Surfski Safety We were paddling slowly upwind into a howling northwester, about 2km from Hout Bay beach when my paddling partner turned to me, shouted, “I’m exhausted!” and fell off his surfski. As he made a number of efforts to remount, he was drifting fast downwind, towards the cliffs under Chapman’s Peak and I realized that the situation was deteriorating rapidly. I decided that whatever happened, I wanted people to know that we were in trouble, and I took my pencil flares out of my PFD pocket and fired all six, one after the other…

‘Tis the Season to go Downwind, Tra la la la…

Here in Cape Town, where I live, the summer southeasters have arrived, and the Miller’s Run taxi is hauling multiple bus-loads of happy paddlers each day from Fish Hoek to Miller’s Point each day to do the iconic 12km route. 38 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

And inevitably, as the first few close calls happen, the discussions about safety and best practices start up on the WhatsApp groups and other social media…

What should you use, how can you keep yourself safe when paddling in weather that non-paddlers regard as dangerous?

The basics: be fit and competent

Obviously, you don’t want to be in an emergency situation in the first place and the best way to avoid it is to have basic paddling competence, which includes: The brace stroke. Clearly you have to be completely comfortable with bracing – but it amazes me how many people only brace on one side. Usually people feel more confident bracing on the opposite side to their grip hand. I’m right handed and have a right-hand feather on my paddle so it’s easier

to brace on the left. But if you’re working right on the waves, you should be bracing on the right – and if you persist on bracing on left, you’ll feel unstable. Practice bracing on both sides! (It may help to reduce the feather angle – some coaches, like Oscar Chalupsky, teach beginners to use zero angle on their paddles because they say that it helps with bracing on both sides.) The remount! There are plenty of YouTube videos that show the correct bum-first technique, which is the easiest remount – but you need to practice it, ideally in rough conditions. Get used to remounting from both sides! If you’re not entirely confident in your remount, you shouldn’t go offshore! Fitness. It’s dangerous to be stopped or moving slowly in breaking waves, because without speed, your ski will slew around in a broach and the white water will knock you off the boat. You have to

be fit enough to accelerate the ski onto the runs.

Avoiding Equipment Failure

At the beginning of the season, check your surfski… Look for wear on rope rudder lines, corrosion on steel cables. It’s good practice to replace rudder lines once a year. Think about what you’ll do if you lose a rudder line. Check your paddle for cracks – especially if you’ve been paddling rivers in the off season. Can you paddle your ski with half a paddle? Try it on your next downwind and see. If you can’t, maybe you should be on a more stable boat! Check the hull seams. If your ski is taking on water and you don’t know where, do a pressure test. Wet the hull with soapy water and then blow into the hull (not too hard because you can damage the structure of the hull with too much

pressure). Leaks will show up in the form of bubbles. Listen for the hiss of escaping air.

Use the right boat

Another of paddling aphorism is “stability before ability”. Thankfully the old ego-based tendency of everyone buying the top-of-range surfski seems to be vanishing, but I still see paddlers who struggle on their elite boats when it gets rough. You’ll have far more fun (and be much more competitive) on a boat that you can handle. If you find yourself bracing instead of taking those all-important explosive strokes to catch a wave, you’re on the wrong boat! And don’t borrow someone else’s boat and paddle it for the first time on a gale-force downwind… Last year a paddler in Cape Town did exactly that when he damaged his own boat at the start of the Miller’s Run. The leg length in the

otherwise identical boat wasn’t right, he felt unstable, fell off several times and had a long 2km swim to shore when he couldn’t remount. Don’t be that guy!

Be seen

It’s extremely difficult for rescuers to spot a white surfski in breaking waves, so make it easier for them by: Wearing bright clothes. Brightly colored caps are highly visible. Consider pimping your ski out with neon colored stickers. In Cape Town, Orka Paddling have pre-cut sets that fit perfectly onto foredeck, aft deck and nose of your ski. They also have stickers for your paddle.

Safety Gear

Use appropriate safety gear. This discussion assumes you’re on your way to do doing a downwind paddle in 30kt and sizeable waves and that you’re going a couple of km THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 39

offshore. Clearly you don’t need leashes, radio and a PLB to cruise along the beach on a calm day! The basic items you should never be without on a downwind run are: PFD. This is a non-negotiable and is mandatory in all races around the world. In exceptional circumstances, IF you’re a surf lifesaver and IF you find yourself

in 15ft surf, it MAY be advisable to dump the PFD, but for everyone else… just use it. Leash(es): The odds of finding a swimmer out at sea in breaking waves are infinitesimal; you must stay in contact with your ski. Leg or belt leashes are a very high priority. A paddle leash is an optional extra. I use one because I’ve found it

WHAT USE MOBILE PHONE Phone someone for help and to in a Waterproof guide rescuers to you. Run a Pouch tracking app (like SafeTRX) so that people can track your position SAFETRX APP Your rescuers can track you so that (assumes you have a they can find you easily. You can use phone) it to call for help. You can send the link to your buddy so they can track you too. PENCIL FLARES Attract attention by shooting one or more flares. Save the last one for when you can see your rescuers. WHISTLE Attract attention

extremely helpful on occasion to be able to let the paddle go while I help someone else with both hands. In 15 years, I’ve never had a serious entanglement between the two leashes. In order to call for help, and almost equally important, to guide your rescuers to you, you must have some means of communication.

PROS No extra cost, we all have mobile phones.

CONS Can be difficult to use when your fingers are wet and cold.

It’s free! And supported by search and rescue organizations in SA, Australia, much of Europe, with more countries added all the time. Easy to carry. Work in day or night. Leave a smoke trail for helicopters to spot Negligible cost, convenient, every PFD should have one. Easy to operate – push button to talk.

Needs a good mobile connection.

Conventional VHF RADIO

Call for help on the international emergency channel (16). I use an ICOM M36 floating radio.


New models like the ICOM M93D or the Standard Horizon HX870 have a built in GPS and can broadcast your position, which makes searching for you trivial.

Easy to operate – push button to talk, push button to broadcast emergency


Call for help – sends your GPS position via satellite

Not reliant on mobile network.


Call for help – sends your GPS position via satellite

Not reliant on mobile network. Can be configured to send SMS and emails to family or other recipients.


Expensive, someone must be looking to see them. Expire after three years. In windy conditions, can only be heard downwind. Limited range, especially when you’re in the water. In some countries needs a license – both for radio and to operate it. More expensive than ordinary VHF. Limited range, especially when you’re in the water. In some countries needs a license – both for radio and to operate it. You can’t talk to anyone; it can take time for the emergency to get from the authorities to the rescue services. Must be operated correctly or it won’t work and you have no way of knowing. Relatively expensive subscription service.

What do I carry?

• My mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, running SafeTRX. I send the tracking link to my family and buddy on WhatsApp. • Conventional waterproof handheld VHF radio (I recently took the Short Range Communications operators’ course). • A whistle • A pack of three pencil flares. The whistle and flares stay with my PFD permanently. I use the radio only when going offshore. I check the state of the flares and radio regularly.

Before the Paddle

Communication is always important – but never more so than when you’re about to go haring offshore in 30kt! • What’s the plan? Where are we going? Are there places where we can abort? • What’s the weather forecast? Is it at all likely that the wind could change? If it does, will it push us offshore? • Who on shore knows the ETA? Do they know what to do if we’re overdue or if we abort and come in somewhere else? • Who has what safety gear? Are we all running SafeTRX? If not, why

not?! If you’re so unsure of your ability that you feel like asking someone else if they think it’ll be alright for you to go… then you shouldn’t go. Only you know your ability. If you have a bad feeling about the paddle, listen to your inner voice. There’s no shame in staying on shore.

On the Water

Be prepared for emergencies: • What will you do if your rudder line breaks? Do you have a bungie system that you can rig for emergency steering? Do you have a piece of material that you can use to jam the rudder? (If you can’t steer, a jammed rudder is better than a flapping one.) • What will you do if your paddle breaks? Know that if you raft with another ski, you can still go downwind relatively fast and you’ll get to your destination in the end. Try paddling with one side only.

In an Emergency

Key to emergency situations is to stay calm; panic is a killer. • Take a deep breath and assess the situation. • If your leashes are tangled, don’t panic. Work out what has happened and roll the boat and untangle them. Don’t undo your ankle/belt leash

unless you really have to. • Call for help early; remember that the search and rescue teams need time to get to you. Don’t leave it until the emergency is a catastrophe. As you get cold, your decision-making capabilities will rapidly deteriorate. Rather call for help early and cancel if you sort yourself out than find yourself too cold to operate your phone. • If you’re swimming and you can’t remount, get as much of your body out of the water as possible while you wait for help. • Don’t give up!

If you’ve been rescued

Be kind to yourself! Know that your self-esteem and confidence will take a knock – it’s normal and natural. Talk to people about it and share your story; it may help save other people’s lives.

Hout Bay Rescue

And how did the emergency in Hout Bay end? We actually managed to self-rescue after battling across the bay to the beach – and as we finally made it, the NSRI arrived after having received multiple calls from folks who’d seen the flares. So although they weren’t needed in the end, the flares were effective and I’ve carried them ever since. ROB MOUSLEY





Canoe Polo is constantly growing! Since the last edition of The Paddler Mag, there have been two canoe polo tournaments held! They were both held on the same weekend which meant that the weekend of the 20th to 21st October was a fullon polo weekend nationally! In Gauteng, under the guidance of the ERK canoe polo club, the 2nd Vikings Cup event was hosted. The annual tournament hosted teams from Dabs, Likkewaan, NWU and ERK. In true Vikings fashion the weather conditions were extreme, with lightning, heavy rain and extreme winds. The conditions were extremely challenging but this did not stop the enthusiastic teams from around the province. In a closely contested round robin competition the semi finals were the “Maniacs” team from dabs against the “French Roosters” team from dabs, with the “French Roosters” making it into the final with a 11-4 win. The second semi final was the ERK Vikings against the NWU team. It was a close game with ERK sneaking in a win in the

last minute of the game winning 5-4. The final was the “French Roosters vs ERK Vikings. The game was closely matched up until the half way point, where the “French Roosters” showed their class to pull off a 5-2 win. FINAL RESULTS 1 French Roosters 2 ERK Vikings 3 Maniacs 4 NWU 5 G-Force 6 Likkewaan A 7 ERK Dragons 8 Likkewaan B

feature event, the Knysna vs Cape Town show-down, the passionate and fast Knysna squad took the victory with a 6-2 win over the current national champions! This result really bodes well for the 2019 polo season as there is a large contingent of players going for the national squad from these two clubs! A real stand-out of the event was the growth of the Stellenbosch club who fielded 10 players! For many of these players, it was their first canoe polo tournament and they all learnt a huge amount.

In Cape Town, the Cape Town International Boat show presented by Mese Frankfurt held a canoe polo tournament alongside all the other events going on! Situated in the waterfront, the two days of intense polo action drew huge crowds! With sponsorship from Black Composites, Fluid Kayaks and Functional Performance Lab, the event drew a large field of 50 players from Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Kynsna. In the

Next up in the canoe polo calendar are the multiple selection events which are being in Parys, Shongweni and Knysna for the Snr, u21 and u19 national squads. All the training for the u21 and Snr squads is leading towards the African Champs being held from the 21st to the 23rd of September 2019 in Knysna. The first Vikings Cup event of 2019 will be held at the Likkewaan club in Parys in January as well. DON WEWEGE

To find out more about canoe polo in your area, chat to these guys!

GAUTENG AND NORTH WEST Chris de Bree 079 659 5068 WESTERN CAPE (CT AREA) Don Wewege 072 299 6233


WESTERN CAPE (GARDEN ROUTE) Nelson Das Fontes 072 277 7664 KWAZULU-NATAL Clive Whitton 082 873 5544



The first selection camp for the 2019 national canoe polo teams was held at the Likkewaan Canoe Club in Parys, Gauteng on the first weekend in December. Amazing weather and a huge group made this one of the most succesfful selection camps the Canoe Polo committe has hosted in years! A total of 55 players are going for the Snr men, u21 men and u21 ladies teams which is 30 players more than last year! For canoe polo, players have three possible selecion events that they are able to attend and they need to join at least two to be eligible for selection. 38 players attended this camp and the level of play was very impressive! The usual squad players were put


under massive pressure by the younger players coming into the squad! The amazing growth in polo over the last few years means that no-ones spot is gaurenteed on the teams! The camp started off with the coaches chatting to their various teams and planning their respective game-plans. Teams then split up the day to use the pitch available at the canoe club to train, either with games or drills. All three teams are looking very strong for the upcoming season and the selectors are going to be faced with very tough choices to choose the teams! The next events coming up for the squads will be the 2nd and 3rd

training camps in Shongweni and Knysna respectively. After that the squads will be announced at the SA Championships in Shongweni. Africa Champs will be the ultimate goal for these teams this year and they all need to win their respective divisions to qualify for the Rome 2020 World Championships. During the next three days of the camp the u19 ladies and mens teams are having their training camps and they have the Junior World Championships in Ireland as their target for the year. Looking forward to the future, the canoe polo teams are looking in great condition! DON WEWEGE


SUP Cape Town has been operating for nine years, this will be our 10th summer. We look forward to getting more people into the sport. We operate in Cape Town from three venues. Our main branch being at the Waterfront district on

the canals. This is a salt water manmade canal which runs through the marina and city of Cape Town. Clean salt water pumped in everyday on the high tide, has a great ecology with fish and other ocean life. The canals are 3km long and protected from the strong Cape winds and being flat and clam provides great location for 1st timers and an even better place to train for flat water paddling. We host two time trials weekly every Monday and Thursday evening from 18:30. We also offer sup fitness classes and have just introduced the Fit matt classes.

Our aim at SUP Cape Town is to grow the sport of stand up paddling and currently have full team in China for the ISA championship, all whom use our venue for training. We also offer kids birthday parties and corporate functions. Getting the man on the street onto the water is what we do. Our other offers at SUP Cape Town are down wind sessions and river trips down the Orange River in Namibia. We also do Sup surf trips for guests custom made to suite there level of surfing from Indo to Maldives and other great locations. WWW.SUPCAPETOWN.CO.ZA



STOCKING FILLERS MOCKE LIFE LINE CALF LEASH - a revolutionary single unit design that does away with clips and buckles that can come undone! Reliable and strong and just what you need to keep you attached to your ski. WWW.MOCKEPADDLING.COM

Raw and wholefood product range of health bars with NO artificial additives and a great source of protein and fibre. They taste great and are gluten, wheat and soy free. You can be sure that if you eat a Superbar you are eating a complete healthy snack that that will nourish and sustain you no matter what adventure you tackle! WWW.IAMSUPERBAR.CO.ZA

The perfect changing mat when you are ready to head off the water! Use as a dry bag to carry your bits and pieces, a mat to stand on when you change, and carry all your wet things home! Waterproof up to 10 000mm Available in a 600mm or 1.2m diameter Drawstring and Toggle for easy use Made in South Africa from local materials


Ridiculously Comfy Fully lined Fight Boredom one pair at a time Amphibious fabric WWW.FUNKYPANTS.CO.ZA 52 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

Thank you Pete Cole, for letting us come and play at ORKA yet again while we shopped for ideas for the Festive Season! WWW.ORKAPADDLES.COM

A TAIL FLAG is a must when you are travelling this holiday season with your favourite craft! We all know that DUCT TAPE holds the world together, so make you add that to your stocking list too!

What paddler do you know feels ‘dressed’wothout a PADDLE BAG?

SURFWAX is ideal to add to your foot plate and your seat! No more slip sliding away!

SUN PROTECTION is simply a must! We really like what Island Tribe are producing at the moment.


The THULE CHASM is 40L worth of rugged, weather-resistant packing space. WWW.THULE.COM

BE BRAG TRENDY with this awesome LOU HARVEY bag on the beach this summer!

G&T just spells relaxation! A MALFY gift pack is just the thing to bring in the holidays!



THULE’S HYDRATION PACK is simply the best when you are out on the water! DRINK DRINK DRINK WWW.THULE.COM

LOU HARVEY KIDS BAG, get your kids carrying their own stuff this year! WWW.LOUHARVEY.CO.ZA

THULE POWERSHUTTLE Take your power and cables neatly wrapped up with you wherever you go this summer!


BANNERMANS whiskey will have you wetting your taste buds in a whole new way this festive season. WWW.TRUMANANDORANGE.COM 54 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA



As you may know we were gutted when our XP120 went missing within the first five minutes of a race so we were delighted when Fujiflim offered to replace it with the upgraded XP130. Since then it gone everywhere with us. So far it has done three downwinds, school sprints, attended numerous school outings, was the camera of choice during the Pete Marlin and two other surfski events, done two trail runs and climbed Lions Head one morning! And we have had it for just over a month. WATERPROOF. (Down to 20m apparently) It sits in the front pouch of my PFD so it get smacked by every wave on the way out. We have also used it in the pool and the sea filming for a video that we hope to air soon. So there is no need to worry about it coming in to contact with a sweaty body or trying to use it through a waterproof bag of some kind. ASTOUNDING ZOOM. (28 -140mm equivalent) this means that I can take photos of paddlers that are still some way away and see their faces. I can sit off Roman Rock lighthouse and take photos of paddlers approaching me, at the lighthouse and starting the downwind all from the same spot. LIGHT AND COMPACT. (207g) it fits in to my pocket while I am jogging and front pouch while I am paddling. Simple. VERSATILE. It has 24 shooting modes. So we can use it at the start of the day using the LOW LIGHT mode, the middle of the day on the BEACH, UNDERWATER and ACTION mode at prize giving we switch to AUTO or SR and long in to the evening on the PARTY mode. Without recharging the battery we might add. REMOTE SHOOTING. This is a great feature that

I have used a lot but is a little bit fiddly for my likings. But having said that, the XP130 connects a lot faster than the XP120 ever did. What it means is that I can sync my XP130 with my phone and then I can 1. take photos using my phone. This is great when the camera is on a tripod 3m away or FANTASTIC for taking group photos when you are in the photo (we have tested it to 8m quite happily) 2. Receive / download photos without needing to find and connect a download cable. We simply love this feature. We have a blast taking photos at sea and as soon as we get back to shore we sync them to the phone and post them on social media (we still need to connect to download videos). I can hear people saying – yes but my phone can do all that. To that I have two comments; the first is that while at sea my phone runs Safetrx (NSRI app) and that is it. I do not want to risk bumping the search function or flattening my battery so that NSRI cannot find me. Secondly my cell phone has all my contacts, social media set up, banking apps and hundreds of photos. I would hate to risk losing all that information because my phone slipped out of my hands. I have a wonderful Fujifilm floating strap for the camera and the camera has a lanyard attachment so even if I do drop it overboard again it is easy to recover. There are lots of other great features for example the Full HD video capability plus great sound and a wind reduction feature makes it our camera of choice for the two videos we are trying to make. We could go on about the features but this is not a camera magazine it is a paddling magazine we just wanted you to know why we love our FujiFilm XP130 and think that this is a super investment as the holidays come up and hope that you take a camera wherever you go. THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 55

HOLIDAYS ARE HERE AGAIN... WHAT DO YOU TAKE ON PICNICS/ DAYS OUT? I make flapjacks. They’re our ‘river thing’. I may make them the night before and then pack them into an icecream tub and leave in the fridge overnight. I toss in a bottle of syrup and that’s how we eat them on the riverbank - flapjacks with a squeeze of syrup ;) These are great for quick stops. I sometimes have a tub of a ‘trail mix’. Peanuts and raisins (natural not salted or roasted) with a packet of jellytots thrown in. I often add those redskin peanuts to the mix. You’re not allowed to pick out anything - like the jellytots.You have to grab a handful. Not picking! Always apples. For a more picnic outing, rather than just a quick snack stop, I’ve done a home-baked bread and then I take along a jar of jam (fig is always a winner). A tub of cream cheese is also a winner.


Packets of chips always go down well. Slice the bag open and place in the centre of the group for easy sharing. WHAT GREAT SPACES DO YOU ENJOY IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS? Any part of the Vaal River in the Parys area is great, even if it is flat water. Many of the venues on the river (camping, caravaning, chalets, B&Bs) have river access and may even have kayaks that you can paddle. The river has a lot of islands and you can just pull up on one and enjoy your picnic. The venue will be able to recommend a good stop and many have guides. Let me know if you want some specific venue names, like Otters Haunt etc. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE IDEAS FOR PRESENTS FOR PADDLERS? • Dry bags for snacks, warm clothing etc. • New tie-downs (one can never have enough!)

• Red/Orange visibility flag for the end of the kayak when it is on the roof. • Bottle of sunblock (pre-paddle sun protection) & tub of aqueous cream (for post-paddle dry skin) • Light-weight long sleeved top (sunprotection for paddling) • New shorts • New cap to replace the skanky one • Shades (protect the eyes!) • A redeemable voucher to be their driver for a kayak event. • An entry to an event. • A goodie bag of nice snacks and treats to pack in for a river trip or to snack on after training / racing / tripping. • Strong and wide clothing hangers for hanging up PFD, spraydeck, splash cover etc. • Water shoes (Mr Price Sport and fishing shops stock them - not expensive - under R300/R400). • A Vagabond kayak ;) LISA DE SPEVILLE

when I think of summer, I always think of the feel of water, the smell of sunscreen, and the taste of ice cream. My most favourite thing to do over the holidays is to have a bring and braai next to the Vaal River. I’m blessed to be able to make use of the NWU Campus in Vanderbijlpark, as that is where my paddling club, Watuni, is located. We normally end up inviting a lot of friends that are not paddlers, and that brings a whole new angle... Some have balance and others have none; so there’s always a lot of laughing happening. We’ve made a lot of great memories

and new ‘paddlers’ with this fun way of introducing people to our wonderful sport. WHAT GREAT SPACES DO YOU ENJOY IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS? We have a lot of places in the Vaal Triangle that we can go to over the festive season that are free of charge. The Campus is awesome, but we also have a mini-reserve in Vaalpark called Echo Park. Also not too far, is the cute town of Parys in the Free State. They have a variety of water activities to offer and a lot of good food!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE IDEAS FOR PRESENTS FOR PADDLERS? It might sound silly, but a decent sunscreen is always a great idea. Although not the first thing we think of, a good drinking system is a clever idea. They don’t last forever and I know many a paddler who has over used their systems and urgently need to replace it. If you’re able to spend more, then a splashie or fuel saver is also a good way to go. The same as with the drinking systems, they do need to be replaced every now and then again. NATALI COETZEE THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 57

FISH RIVER Canoe Marathon



IMAGE Graham Daniel I think that most people will agree that this was a mellow Fish River by their standards. This is not to diminish the hard work that the race organiser put in to the event. Not by a long shot! The festive marque was up, the stalls were humming with everyone making last minute purchases of things that they had forgotten and replacing the things that they broken on tripping day. The locals and their legendary potjie pots were also out cooking up a storm for all the hungry paddlers. But there was a chilled vibe on the water and at the registration tent I think caused by the drop in the number of paddlers that made the pilgrimage to Cradock this year. The big plus for those that had made the trip was that there were 60 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

hardly a queue at the put in below the dam, double trouble could be shot at leisure and we watched one oke shoot Cradock five times in a row! The reason the numbers are down was the topic of a number of conversations because it certainly isn’t because the Fish River Marathon has lost its appeal!

Louw (3rd 2016) not there and Len Jenkins Jnr opting to race mixed doubles the gates were thrown open to see who would challenge these two for the title. There are a number of up and coming U23’s that were looking forward to pitting their skills against the powerhouses of SA paddling.

The Fish was also home to the South African River K1 title this year so all the big guns were there hoping to bag another title. Seven times champion Hank McGregor was there to defend his 2016 title against his favourite rival Andy Birkett. They had both combined brilliantly a couple of weeks before to clinch the ICF World Marathon Champs K2 Title but now it was time to fight it out again for the converted SA K1 Title. With Greg

DAY 1 started off chilly as the leaders got underway across Grassridge Dam before the short portage and the fun really started for everyone. It was clear to everyone that there was lots more water in the river on race day than there was on the tripping day the moment they got down to the put in! As predicted the race for the front soon became a tussle between Euro Steel/Fenn Kayaks McGregor and Birkett as they shot off across

the dam not to seen again by the chasers. Birkett and McGregor kept the pressure on each other with the two changing places several times during the day but still found the time to joke and enjoy being back on the Fish. After a seven month layoff of river racing it was good to see them back on the river and fighting it out again. Both looked comfortable to do just enough to have a decent lead on the chasers without going in to overdrive. Behind them it was turning out to be a five horse race with Thulani Mbhanjwa in great form, Brandon Van Der Walt, Clinton Cook, Siseko Ntondini and international guest Kito Vega from Spain making up the pack. Behind them Stewart Little, Alan Houston and Joshua Fenn were doing everything in their power to catch them. It was

McGregor who won the end sprint and went in to day two with a one second lead on Birkett. 1. Hank McGregor 2:53:54 2.Andy Birkett 2:53:55 3.Clinton Cook 2:59:07 4.Thulani Mbhanjwa 2:59:08 5.Kiko Vega (ESP) 2:59:46 In the ladies race, the 2016 winner Abby Solms was not there making it anybody’s race to win. The likely contenders Robyn Owen, who first won her age group in 2009 and practically lead the ladies charge down Keith Flyover, knows every bump and turn of the river. The next contender was Jenna Ward who had won the U23 battles in 2014 and 2016 and was 3rd lady overall. Bridgitte Hartley had five swims in 2016 and still managed a super 2nd behind Abby Solms in

2016 – could this be the year she finally nails a River K1 title to her name. Mrs Birkett was also making a welcome return to river racing and what she may have lacked in fitness she more than made up for in river skills and knowledge. What the winner’s podium would look like was anyone’s guess. In the end it was Euro Steel’s Bridgitte Hartley’s day from start to finish. The only time she was in the pack was briefly on the dam before she started to put the hammer down and away she went. She had a practically flawless day negotiating Double Trouble beautifully before opting to portage Keith’s. Her swim at the bottom of Soutpans only seemed to refresh her as she stepped up the pace on the way to the day one finish at THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 61

Knutsford. Behind her was Jenna Ward who was playing catch up and determined to get Hartley back in to her sights. Having shot Double Trouble in 6th the first part of the race was spent reeling in the other ladies and by Soutpans there was only Bridgitte ahead of her. WOMEN’S DAY 1 RESULTS 1.Bridgitte Hartley 3:19:06 2.Jenna Ward 3:21:40 3.Nikki Birkett 3:22:29 4.Robyn Owen 3:22:30 5.Christie Mackenzie (U23) 3:22:31 “It is never over – until it is over.” DAY 2 is 36km long and has four big weirs to negotiate and a number of exciting rapids where anything can happen. All the spectators on the bank were hoping that it was be a sprint finish just like 2016 between Hank and Andy. And luckily they were not disappointed, Andy lead over Cradock Weir and for a second it looked like he was about to swim but with a quick brace on the right hand side he steadied his canoe and off he went with Hank right behind him. By this time they had already added another minute to their lead so there was no one that was able to challenge them. Euro Steel’s Andy Birkett won the end sprint to claim his maiden Fish River Canoe Marathon title and South African K1 Championship with Hank McGregor coming in right behind them. In a very surprising turn of events Kiko Vega (ESP) had an exceptional day two and really managed to put the hammer down and build up a


sizable gap between himself and the chasers. Starting the day just over 30 Seconds behind Cook and Mbhanjwa he managed to haul them in and then overtake them to set himself up with a healthy one minute lead going over Cradock Weir and securing the 3rd spot on the podium for him. While Hartley had set up a substantial lead from day one she certainly did not drop her guard for one second and continued to build the gap between herself and most of her chasers. And was left to paddle day two on her own as she came tearing down the home straight to claim her maiden Fish River Canoe Marathon title and at the same time the SA K1 title. But the fastest time on day two for the ladies was actually paddled by Euro Steel’s Jenna Ward who seemed determined to catch Bridgitte and not let the pack of chasers catch her. The end result of this determination is that she had the fastest day two by a good 30 seconds ahead of Bridgitte and managed to increase the gap between herself and her chasers by two minutes. This phenomenal effort put her firmly in 2nd place, just under two minutes behind Bridgitte in the end. Christie Mackenzie having survived the weirs and the surprise rapids put her marathon training to good use

and managed to chisel a gap between herself and Nikki Birkett and Robyn Owen in order to jump on to the 3rd step of the podium and win the U23 title.

OVERALL RESULTS MEN 1.Andy Birkett 2.Hank McGregor 3.Kiko Vega (ESP) 4.Brandon van der Walt 5.Clinton Cook 6.Siseko Ntondini 7.Stewart Little (U23) 8.Alan Houston (U23) 9.Joshua Fenn (U23) 10.Alex Masina (U23) WOMEN 1.Bridgitte Hartley 2.Jenna Ward 3.Christie Mackenzie (U23) 4.Robyn Owen 5.Nikki Birkett 6.Amy Peckett (U18) 7.Melanie van Niekerk 8.Caitlin Mackenzie (U18) 9.Kim van Gysen 10.Donna Winter






Just after the “World Marathon Champs” in Portugal this year it struck me that our world champions are never given the celebration that they so rightly deserve. This developed into a determination to create an annual event that would celebrate our world champs, and give them the ecognition that they so richly deserve. Hence the effort to find sponsors began and culminated in the Eurosteel FNB Sports4life “Celebrating our World Marathon Champions“event held at JCC Wemmer Pan on Saturday the 17th November 2018. A field of 101 paddlers graced the starting line which included all four race distances in a mass start. They just pulled off when they had completed their distances. Race distances were 6km (to encourage beginners and kids to race) 12 km, 16 km and then the main distance of 21 km. Nine guppies competitors raced in the Guppy event after the main race was over. It was just awesome having multiple World Champion Hank McGregor racing (won the K2 World Title with Andy Birkett this year). Hank posed

with many of the folk especially the kids,, as did Andy Birkett (K1 World Marathon and K2 World Marathon Champ for 2018). It was such a pleasure having them both racing the event, and connecting so meaningfully with so many of the paddlers. Andy won the main event by a boat length from Hank and Andy’s wife Nikki won the ladies race quite convincingly. Alex Masina also came up from Pietermaritzburg for the event but due to boat trouble, pulled out during the event as did double world silver medallist Wayne Jacobs. There was an awesome vibe for the day, JCC ran the bar, a specialist coffee guy was selling awesome coffee blends and Carlos Goncalves had a great food caravan looking after the peoples food needs. The weather was amazing, the paddlers raced their hearts out and it was so great getting the feedback from the teenage K4 crew who could not stop smiling and telling folk that Hank and Andy told them that they were better than them and were awesome paddlers (They paddled ahead of them for a while). Young Connor Erwee wore his Eurosteel vest for five days following

21 KM WOMEN 1. Nikki Birkett. 2. Morgan Ziervogel 3. Holly Spencer

21KM MEN 1. Andy Birkett 2. Hank McGregor 3. Siseko Ntondini

16 KM WOMEN 1. Sneziwe Gxobale 2. Helen Jansen Van Vuuren

16KM MEN 1. Bambo Fanteni 2. Brian Longley

12KM WOMEN 1. Esti Van Tonder 2. Megan Oelofse 3.Caroline Filmalter

12KM MEN 1. Thabo Selela 2. Warren Ziervogel 3. Meyer Steyn

6 KM WOMEN 1. Kamilah Hank 2. Sisanda Mthabela

6 KM MEN 1. Lyton Oelofse 2.Theo Dreyer 3. Luke Salmon


the event. He was still wearing it at the Dabs time trial the following Thursday and still smiling. A huge thank you to the awesome TV Production crew from ATV Productions, headed up by special friends Gert and Tarina Ungerer, who secured Super Sports coverage for the event. The first showing is on the 12th Dec. Colin Wilson, CEO of Eurosteel, our main sponsor, was just awesome in his whole hearted support for the event. Thanks also to FNB, Adreach, Recycle Drive, WiConnect and to Gerhard Moolmans company who were also sponsors. We will be hosting two new series in 2019. A Gauteng Regional Inter Club Championship from February until April and then an Interprovincial Championship linked to the KZN , Western Cape and Gauteng Champs in May and June, culminating with SA Marathon Champs from the 15 – 17th June in Gauteng. This series will be made possible if we can secure a good sponsorship base as soon as possible. I believe that given the correct input and support, we can see a huge growth and turn around in the sport of canoeing in South Africa.

Ponta do Ouro

Orange River Mouth

Tugela River Mouth

Port St Johns Dassen Island Cape Agulhas

SALDANHA PORT CONTROL Tel: 022 714 1726 Stn. 24 Lambert’s Bay – 060 960 3027 Stn. 04 Mykonos – 082 990 5966 Stn. 34 Yzerfontein – 082 990 5974

CAPE TOWN PORT CONTROL Tel: 021 449 3500 Stn. 18 Melkbosstrand – 082 990 5958 Stn. 03 Table Bay – 082 990 5963

Seal Point

Great Fish River Mouth

Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Tel: 021 938 3300 NSRI HQ: 021 434 4011 MOSSEL BAY PORT CONTROL Tel: 044 604 6271 Stn. 33 Witsand – 082 990 5957 Stn. 31 Still Bay – 082 990 5978 Stn. 15 Mossel Bay – 082 990 5954 Stn. 23 Wilderness – 082 990 5955 Stn. 12 Knysna – 082 990 5956

EAST LONDON PORT CONTROL Tel: 043 700 2100 Stn. 07 East London – 082 990 5972 Stn. 28 Port St Johns – 082 550 5430

DURBAN PORT CONTROL Tel: 031 361 8567 Stn. 32 Port Edward – 082 990 5951 Stn. 20 Shelly Beach – 082 990 5950 Stn. 05 Durban – 082 990 5948

Stn. 14 Plettenberg Bay – 082 990 5975


Stn. 10 Simon’s Town – 082 990 5965

P.E. PORT CONTROL Tel: 041 507 1911


Stn. 16 Strandfontein – 082 990 6753

Stn. 36 Oyster Bay – 082 990 5968

Stn. 22 Vaal Dam – 083 626 5128

Stn. 09 Gordon’s Bay – 072 448 8482

Stn. 21 St Francis Bay – 082 990 5969

Stn. 27 Victoria Lake – 060 991 9301

Stn. 17 Hermanus – 082 990 5967

Stn. 37 Jeffreys Bay – 079 916 0390

Stn. 25 Hartbeespoort Dam – 082 990 5961

Stn. 29 Air Sea Rescue – 082 990 5980

Stn. 06 Port Elizabeth – 082 990 0828

Stn. 35 Witbank Dam – 060 962 2620

Stn. 30 Agulhas – 082 990 5952

Stn. 11 Port Alfred – 082 990 5971

Stn. 38 Theewaterskloof – 072 446 6344

Stn. 02 Bakoven – 082 990 5962 Stn. 08 Hout Bay – 082 990 5964 Stn. 26 Kommetjie – 082 990 5979

Stn. 19 Richards Bay – 082 990 5949

CRAIG LAMBINON: 082 380 3800 (Communications)

You can download a digital version of these emergency numbers from our website:

WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE – THINK THAT YOU CAN STEER THIS HUGE SHIP THEN HERE IS HOW YOU GET INVOLVED. The board is made up of elected people that have the right to vote and essentially steer the ship and technical members that are brought on for their skills and consistency. The technical members do not have a vote and sit on the board on an advisory capacity. For example John Oliver and Tim Cornish bring a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the board but in the end it is the voting members that make the final decisions.

HOW IT WORKS The five union chairmen are elected by their unions, usually at their respective AGM.s (or if they resign). The four other voting members of the board stand for a two year term, and are elected in consecutive years. The president and paddler’s rep one year, and the PDI rep and women’s rep the next year. People are nominated by their unions to serve on the board. The voting is weighted according to the number of registered paddlers in the union.

The non-voting members of the board include John Oliver (Administrator), Walter Ulrich (accountant), Janet Simpkins (Development coordinator), Tim Cornish (special board member), and myself as secretary general. The discipline chairmen also serve a two year term (except for the chairmen of the Olympic disciplines of sprints and slalom who serve a four year term, voted in during the

year of the Olympics). The discipline chairmen are selected, by the board, from nominations received from the unions. The position of Secretary General is not elected. The person is appointed. I am an employee (just like at home, I do not get a say, but just do the work). I serve a two year contract at a time. The contract then comes up for renewal.


You swam WHERE??? You did WHAT???

Get to know the CSA board... PRESIDENT | KIM POPLE, 46 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING I now witness the worst swims from the river banks, my last worst swim was so long ago, I do not remember! I do remember Little John rapid was involved though. 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY I always pack a sense of humour as these days holidays seem to be based around canoe races and I seem to be driving/seconding. HOBBY Drinking coffee, or is that an addiction?

GCU CHAIRMAN & VICE CHAIR | CHAD ANDREWS, 34 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING A strange little rapid on the Vaal known as Knuckles. From the top , as the sweep, ripped the entire cockpit off, almost got my foot entrapped and broke my brand new phone that was in my PFD. MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT I’ve had many but if I had to use a canoeing one then it would be: While trying to show my cousin how to shoot Toast rack on the fish , I misjudged my speed and wrapped my brand new race boat around the pillar. It was a hou my dop moment. 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY Boats, Beers, Bikes, Braai, and most importantly beer DEVELOPMENT REP | MZAMO WAYNE AUGUST, 35 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING Downwind with the Strand Down Junkies and going over a reef about 500 meters from the club and couldn’t get back on to my ski again. MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT After my swim on the reef i made it to the beach and the sweep who came to rescue me said he didn’t knew that I was white and that I had blue eyes. : ) I was white as a sheet after that swim. 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY Holiday is during the Berg river marathon. I take Lena (Wife), Whitney (my daughter), boat, paddle and a lot of Vasbyt. Especially if you haven’t trained. 70 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

PADDLER REP | ANT STOTT, 40 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING Every single one of the daily over 4km swimming sessions on our swimming/ canoeing training camps with Nandor and the sprint squad down in Port Edward. MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT Getting married on crutches when my fiance at the time and now wife asked me 6 months before the wedding specifically to please make sure that I was not on crutches at our wedding. 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY Waveski, wetsuit, sun cream, running shoes, duct tape. WOMEN’S REP | HAYLEY-JO NIXON, 35 (WOOHOO SUB-VET!!) WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING easy and predictable... every weir on every river ;-))) MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT smashing into a gigantic, solid, 12 foot high reef marker 1km off Rottnest the goal was to get past the HotSpot marker first, I wrapped my ski around it instead! Far too committed! 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY a book, running shoes, swimming cozzie, my coffee plunger, and Paul, naturally.

ECCU CHAIRMAN | ANDRE (BULLA) WOOD, 47 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING Fish River, tripping the day before the race – Cradock Weir. My Trusty Driver got misdirected and went over nowhere near the apex, had the longest hold down ever. I was running low on air when I felt life savers hand and got pulled out, very shaken! Our new K2 only surfaced 20 minutes later looking very different. MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT Going for a downwind paddle with some mates with Huge Surf at Yellows Sands and taking a 8 footer on the head and having my Trusty Funky pants hit off my body. Took 10 minutes plus of swimming around the impact zone with a small crowd gathering & wondering what the H@$% I was trying to do in the big Blue. 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY when on the coast. Surf Board, Sunscreen, Magic Wife & Family, Double Ski and a good sense of humour. KNCU CHAIRMAN | JAMES TUTTON, 53 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING Hi-fiving partner at bottom of successfully shooting No 1 on Umko, then veering into cliff. 45 minutes rotating in the pool and a very broken boat MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT Shooting Taxi rapid backwards 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY Canoe, Canoe calendar, Children, Cell phone, Colin Simpkins phone number


CDCU | CHAIRMAN WALDO VAN DER LINDE, 38 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING Shooting Hellsgate on the Orange by mistake in a K2 with Greg van Heerden. After the portage flag could not be put out due to closed farm gates. We spend about 100 meters basically under water and only to see that the back cockpit and deck all the way to the rudder was gone. Very humbling experience but made for a good campfire story MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT Wraping my brand new Matrix at Keiths’s right before the bridge and having it filmed with commentary al all saying “Waldo van der Linde showing us how to break a boat” 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY “Draad en tang”, Toilet paper, The Family and enough medicine to start my own pharmacy


Jeepers, there have been a couple! The one that comes to mind above others is a swim I took on the Drak when I was a Junior, was having a good race then on one of the approaches to Black Murray found myself wrapped around a rock with splashy stuck. It was a frantic few seconds. MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT

Again, unfortunately, there have been a couple! Recently I got beaten by a 14 year old on a SUP Foil in a Milnerton to Big Bay Downwind, now although I still managed to win the Ski race word spread and I lost all street cred in the Surfski community. 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY

Definitely holiday dependent! But definitely my paddle, surfski, coolerbox (filled with all the usual contents inside), surfboard if going to the beach and trail shoes anywhere else and finally my tooth brush!

SECRETARY GENERAL | COLIN SIMPKINS (COPPER), 60 WORST SWIM WHILE PADDLING Rapid No. 7 (Gulliver’s Travels) on the Zambezi during the World Rafting Championships in the early 90’s. Although I had a massive lifejacket on, I spent a very long time under the water. MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT My entire life has been a never ending sequence of embarrassments (as my wife constantly reminds me). My latest clanger last weekend, at a social function at the home of a well-known German, was to jokingly accost my good mate Malcolm Stothard with a wine bottle in an inappropriate manner and bodily position, only to discover that it was not Malcolm at all, but the hosts father in law. My footwork to get out of that one made Fred Astaire look like a statue. 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY Joshua, Liam, Emily, Janet and my wallet. 72 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER | JOHN OLIVER, 68 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING 15 minutes on the Tugela Marathon Day1, river flowing at about 200cumecs 200m wide. MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT Shot No1 on the Umko in the V between two rocks in my Dusi boat with the tow rope trailing in the water. The knot on the loop at the end caught in the V and a split second later I was facing upstream. No way to get to the rope attached to the nose. Had to abandon ship, swim to the bank, walk upstream and swim down to the boat and grab the rope on the way past. 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY Dog, Camera, beer, meat and matches. NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR | JANET SIMPKINS SPORT INTEREST OTHER THAN CANOEING: Running – Road and Trail. FAVOURITE QUOTE “It always seems impossible until it’s done” - Nelson Mandela WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING Soutpans – Entrapment on reeds just under the bridge MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT No time to worry about that…moving on! 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY: Work, kindle, running shoes, music and chocolate – (Husband and Kids come standard) ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER | TIM CORNISH, 64 WORST SWIM WHILE CANOEING Whirlpool rapid in the 1982 Umkmaas Marathon. It seems like you just dont come up due to air in the water. Also my partner Chris Greef pushed me down a few times in his efforts to surface MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT Standing in a long queue at the post office and my young daughter asking a log haired guy in the queue if he was a man. Eventually when he wouldn’t answer she said well have you got a willy 5 THINGS YOU TAKE ON HOLIDAY canoe, paddle, beers, wine, & headache pills,


LEGEND LEE MC GREGOR Talking up a storm about the Cape Point Challenge

IMAGE Cape Town Sports Photography 74 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA


I was asked to write a little story about why anyone should do the Cape Point Challenge (CPC), So here goes ...

survive the first 15km.” He was right, it did calm down, Not the wind, but the spray and chop.. Only then could we see the other paddlers around us.

A few years ago I was doing a talk in Australia to a whole group of surf ski paddlers. The question was brought up: “Tell us about this crazy CPC”. After asking why they told me that they’ve all heard some war stories about this incredible challenge that we have here in South Africa. I told them how it began for me.

Oscar pulled up next to us and even though the wind was still howling he stank. I asked him: “ What is the smell?” And he said: “He had just had to go to the loo.” I said to him: “ You are not staying on our wave with your bucket full of shit. Go, wash.” He said:” Ok, wait for me. I will catch you guys later.” I looked back to see just his head bobbing in the kelp beds. This was my first encounter with Oscar - known as the man who paddles on hydraulic oil. A few minutes later he was back and we cleared the outer reefs and got back into the wind and the waves. Literally, the boat speed was around 4km per hour. We were hardly moving. The land seemed to be stationary.

We were all qualified SPA Surf Life Savers. to do the race in 1984. There was no question that the race started at the crayfish factory in Kommetjie and ended in Fishhoek. Irrespective of the wind or waves. My cousin Glen said to me: “ Let’s go and do it in a double!” I remember clearly asking: “Why? I’m not a ski paddler. I’m a swimmer.” He said: “ When you finish at Fishhoek, you are going to feel that you’ve done something special in your life.” My reply was:“ What? You are kidding me. Why?” He said: “Just do it with me and you will understand.” We got in a 30kg plus lifesaving ski with a built-in nose cone in the front. No juice. 226cm flat blades. No training, and arrived at 5am in Kommetjie in a screaming South Easterly gale. It was blowing so hard, it was actually spitting with rain due to the build-up of the clouds in the mountains, known as the Black South Easter. (I later received a certificate from the Surf Life Saving Association saying the wind was blowing at 51 miles per hour at Cape Point Lighthouse at 6 am. 80 km per hour.)There was just a handful of us who decided to do it. The wind was blowing so hard that you couldn’t see in front of you because of the spray. Glen kept saying: “ It will calm down when we hit the kelp beds. Just 76 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

The press boat was a massive fishing trawler from Hout Bay and they came up to us to say: “The race is canceled. Go back!” Anthony Scott (Scotty) and Dave Mc Cormack waved at us as they came screaming past us - homeward bound. The race was officially over. Glen started turning and I shouted at him: “We can’t stop now. We are in the front. We are winning!” Unfortunately, he didn’t listen to me. After three hard hits behind his ear with the blade, he got the message and we carried on with blood seeping through his hair. A few minutes later we noticed that we weren’t alone. Some of the others had seen us and the race was back on. We hit the Point knowing that the galeforce wind was going to be behind us and we would surf all the way home. We had a compulsory ten minute stop at Buffels in those days for safety reasons. There weren’t too many happy faces on the beach as we came in. What Glen didn’t tell me was that our double ski couldn’t

surf downwind as it had a canoe tail rudder on the back that lifted out everytime we caught a wave. I can’t remember exactly how many hours it took us to eventually reach Fishhoek. No, we didn’t win, but we made it. Glen was right, we had finished the Cape Point Challenge and we had done something special. I’ve come back a few times over the years to win it in a single and also in a double with my son Hank (15 at the time), who obviously everyone knows, has won it so many times since then that I’ve lost count. Why do we keep coming back? Because we can and because it’s so special. The CPC is not a race. It’s a personal challenge, and it’s something that everyone who ever paddles in a ski and enjoys being out there, should do. Put it on your bucket list and you will know that you have done something great in your life. Not many people will understand why you want to do it. And they won’t understand why you did it, but you will. and you definitely won’t regret it Peter Cole, the organizer, has new rules today. Anything over 15 knots and any massive swell, the race starts at Simonstown - basically in the harbor and you paddle in the lee of the mountains to Cape Point. Then an incredible downwind run to Fishhoek. Some say that it is not the same as rounding Cape Point, but let me tell you, that when you turn at Cape Point, you won’t regret that you haven’t been on the other side of the mountain. The feeling when arriving 50km later in Fishhoek is still the same. At least today, you don’t have to arrive at the start with your Speedo swim goggles with holes drilled into them to stop the spray blinding you after a few hours. Times have changed. Thank goodness. LEE MC GREGOR




5 Don’t duck paddling

into the wind in training. This race is a there and back. It’s an all rounder’s race, not just for downwind specialists. If you are going to do it for the first time, then make sure that you prepare yourself properly. These are some of the pointers that I would recommend that you focus on before you attempt it:

1Stability is the key. Don’t get into a fast, unstable boat. Get into your race boat and don’t change any boats for training or on the day.

2 Don’t do any training in the flat water and call it training for CPC.Those are Junk Miles. Get in that ski, out there in the sea, and get used to bobbing around.

3 Race what you train and train what you race.

4 Make sure you get used to whatever juice you want to race with.Train on your race juice. I recommend just Coke and water.

6 If you can’t get into the

sea, the try a tennis ball with a bungee under the boat and do half your session like that - as a form of resistance - and then half a session without it. Simulate the race, i.e. into the wind and then downwind.

7If you are doing the race

for the first time, make sure that you don’t follow someone who is also doing it for the first time.You don’t want to get stuck in a massive kelp bed or get caught by a wave breaking on the rocks. In other words, don’t cut corners and get washed up on the rocks.

8 If you haven’t done it

before, go out there and enjoy the comradeship, the incredible scenery, the occasional seals, the kelp beds that make you think that you are in an alien swampland, in other words, get

in a double ski and have some fun.

9 Training wise, any way you

look at it, it’s going to take you four hours plus. Peter Cole’s qualifier is 35km minimum. So you need to do at least 3 x 3-hour paddles before the race. And maybe even a four hour if you feel so inclined.

10 When you are training, don’t stop paddling to take a break. i.e to take juice. Keep moving, you won’t be able to stop during the race.

11Don’t overheat. It is cold

in the morning when you start but make sure that by the time the sun starts baking, you don’t have to stop and peel off clothing.

If you need any more advice, you are very welcome to contact me. My email address is




IMAGE Cape Town Surfski School 78 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

SURFSKI IS A UNIQUE PADDLING ACTIVITY,TAKING PLACE ON THE SEA. WHILST THERE ARE SIMILARITIES TO RIVER CANOEING, MARATHONS AND EVEN SLALOM, IT IS A DISTINCT SPORT, OFFERING A BROAD RANGE OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR RECREATIONAL AND COMPETITIVE ENDEAVOURS. A surfski is a versatile watercraft, designed especially for use in the open sea environment and the waves approaching a beach. It can take time to develop the essential skills to surfski, but having done this, you can do downwind, compete in organised events or just paddle on the flat water within the protection of a bay.

putting a craft on the water. It is not only about assembling suitable kit including a wing bladed paddle; it is also developing an awareness of the environment in which you intend being active.You need a place to store your craft and be able to get it safely on and off the water. It is essential being able to cope with the conditions on the day.


Many factors contribute to your expertise and ultimately your paddling experience. This means selecting a craft and blade that match your competency, and understanding how to best use them.

All sorts of people get involved in surfski, from those who enjoy engaging with nature to the adrenalin junkies seeking extreme conditions. It is an ideal lifestyle sport for individuals seeking adventure. Some people do it for the camaraderie and others for fitness. Paddlers become motivated by the technical precision and physical requirement needed to propel a craft at speed. There is a definite excitement associated with surfski, whether you are new to the sport or perfecting your skills. Being an offshore activity, a challenge is being able to predict the conditions and to read the interaction between wind swell and the underlying ocean swell. Before getting on the water It is easy to engage in surfski, but there are many things to do before

DOING DOWNWIND Downwind on the open expanse of the sea is the heart of surfski. There is something special about being able to negotiate your way through the heaving peaks and troughs on a self-propelled craft, harnessing the power of wind driven swell. This sensation is heightened once you have the skills to move your craft at high average and maximum speeds, achieved through surfing and linking runs.

STAYING SAFE Because a surfski is a sealed siton craft, it is easy to remount subsequent to capsizing, thus providing a measure of independence in the activities that you undertake. Venturing offshore demands that your senses are on full alert, especially when navigating and traversing unfamiliar territory. When and where you cross the surf zone and the direction you steer your craft is entirely your decision. The sea will continue to maintain its unrelenting authority, however, demanding respect from every individual that chooses to cross into its domain. With the potential for extremes, you have to manage your exposure to the elements through observing clearly defined safety principles, which means gaining input from an established paddler or doing some sessions with a surfski coach KEVIN BRUNETTE

There is a steep learning curve, and once you get the hang of downwind, you get hooked. Doing downwind in big sea conditions soon becomes an obsession. THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 79


Send your letters to

CONT from pg 9 administration cost and development of the numerous paddling codes with various allocations.Yet the transfer of this ‘liability cover’ to affiliate member vs non affiliate is a little gray area to how this its structured and the discord effect that the non registered paddlers has to the CSA/ SAMSA compliance for surfski self governance. Many paddlers simply don’t understand the relationship between these entities and their relevance to non competitive, non affiliated and recreational paddling pursuits, thus in light of this and other fees related matters paddling survey was conducted and was open to comments and suggestions as a barometer of paddler sentiments.This independent survey was devised and undertaken by concerned paddler’s who have no direct involvement or conflict of interest to the WCCU endeavours, these populated results were presented to the WCCU and along with dormant suggestions that may hopefully be adopted going forward. More of that to be outlined as we unpack a few more points of reference. Whilst the WCCU financial statements reflect great prudence within their administration, there’s little recognition or support from WCCU towards the surfski season calendar per se in respect of newsletters, advertising, timekeeping, safety, ablutions like at river races and in particular to the development or recognition of surfski paddling. Hence inflating the perception that many aggrieved surfski 80 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

paddlers feel that there appears to be ‘no return value’ for their contribution and have very little sway at WCCU Exco meeting as canoe vs surfski club representation is 10 vs 3 and voting power stacked in favour of canoeist by membership representation. Surfski paddling is the sleeping giant and a key area where paddling has naturally developed almost external of the WCCU structures yet is wholeheartedly ignored as affiliates to the unions structure, not withstanding many of the committee members are core surfski paddler with a canoeing crossover but their involvement and representation capacities are largely as canoe appointments yet moonlight with surfski portfolios as come-a-longs. As example of the deep discrepancy between canoe and surfski, Kenny Rice the winner of Cape Point Challenge 2017 received no point towards WP Presidents Trophy or such accolades, yet finish in the top 10 of a Paarl – Skooltjie or similar and a canoeist will bag points. Herein lies a balance of interest of seeking greater surfski reverence within the WCCU else the sentiments or interest from concerned parties might feel confident to break away from the WCCU to establish an independent surfski structure under CSA. Its noteworthy that South Africa has always been very dominate in the international surfski scene and in recent years with credible reference to Fish Hoek Surf Life Saving producing

World Surfski Series Champions Dawid Mocke 2009, 2010,2011 & 2012 and Jasper Mocke 2014, Sean Rice ICF World Champion 2013, Kenny Rice ICF Junior World Champion 2015 title and with Nikki Mocke 2010 crossing over as an Olympian K4 Sprint Finalist and the pertinent point is they all graduated from a Life Saving back ground with a hot bed of uber competitive club dynamics within an overlap to ‘flat water’ training. It’s almost ironic that Fish Hoek Surf Life Saving Club convenes and hosts the Cape Point Challenge yet is not affiliated directly to WCCU, thus it’s assumed to operate within a MOU arrangement to satisfy the compliance of a CSA sanctioned event as an integral feature of the WCCU calendar and ensuring all ‘liability cover’ is correctly in place. Since liability cover is the blanket insurance that CSA extents to affiliated entities via the affiliated regional structures and is underpinned by annual signing of the ‘CSA paddler indemnity’ that waivers against possible claim. For non registered affiliates like Oceania Power Boat Club this becomes problematic in hosting the Freedom Paddle and hence have partnered with Century City Canoe Club as the WCCU affiliates to ensure the event is CSA compliant and to the satisfaction of SAMSA permission with an event that will twice cross the entrance line to Cape Town Harbour. Ever since the Billy Harker gig left town the Cape Summer Surfski Series has dissipated and spluttered

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with whimpering low turnover for a variety of reasons, however interest to local club series has strengthen with convenience of ‘local is lekker’ yet most operate external of CSA liability cover since most entities function without recognition or affiliation to WCCU. Sample figures of the 5 local surfski series TT’s or dices indicate that a lowly 30% of paddlers are currently CSA registered, and of the three formal surfski clubs representing a total number of > 250 paddlers and there’s a still a substantial group of surfskiers who aren’t associated or members of any club pushing this figure well beyond 300 and would exclude other fringe surfsking or recreational activities. Logically formalizing these surfski clubs into the WCCU would provide wholesale benefit to the union but at R 950 subscription fee there will a steep resistance and only embellish an already weak appeal in value exchange.Thus any affiliation fees need to be greatly reduced to make it accessible to yield some return with benefit or appeal especially for non competing paddlers. In the past the printed SA Paddler Magazine provided a tangible exchange for membership fees, yet now the online version is only accessible to those comfortable to the digital presentation along with reading Copper’s Corner humorous emails as an antidote to paddle happenings. Never the less even halving the WCCU R950 fee might still be deemed a barrier to entry for any recreational paddler compliance yet throw in a surfski, paddle or PFD as a random lucky draw much like the NSRI do with two 4x4 vehicles for annual subscriptions or donation to the NPO and you suddenly yield a ROI and a collection of revenue towards the WCCU to increase membership counts and fees collection more sustainably. 82 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

The independent survey mentioned earlier revealed a demographic with more an 65% within 40-70 years bracket with a similar percentage of the geographical in Cape Town and surrounds, and nearly 30% of the 288 responses having >20 years paddling experience with a little over 10% female representation with a fairly equal balance corium of river rats slightly higher than the sea dogs. Whilst <5% where juniors, the balance between the 19-29 and 30-39 y/o evenly split at ~13% a piece and where the growth indication shows a low value and a clear indication that development at youth doesn’t naturally represent a sustained interest but newcomers are likely from a more established age group where the responses and opinions regarding ‘value’ and ‘appeal of product or service offering’ was candid. Here are a few, examples Respondent No 32: “Keep the half season fees for Surf ski paddlers.“ Respondent No 61: “A flexible system (pay on a race by race basis with a temporary license) will encourage paddlers to participate in an ad hoc basis which in turn may result in a paddler participating in more events. Can the canoeing union and provincial bodies transition from an ‘old school ‘ approach and structure into a more dynamic and fluid system. Perhaps a greater definition is to be made between the formal aspects of the sport and then the events / races and participation. (mtb sees to have a couple of systems that have been generated by event organisers and in some cases affiliated to the formal bodies)”. Respondent No 83: “CSA and WCCU have provided little benefit for me, save for having a formal looking registration number on my craft. I cannot ever recall experiencing CSA

involvement in any of the events I have completed, including CPC. Surfski would do best to split from the union if there were sufficient people prepared to undertake the administration. Surfski paddlers are quite able to manage their activities without CSA intervention. Look at the number of paddlers attending the Seadog and similar events with no CSA registration versus the formal surfski series. I was considering doing the CPC again this year, but it is financially out of reach with the R1150 entrance fee coupled to the one off R950 CSA fees. The back marker surfski paddlers essentially provide a source of prize money and cross-sponsor river paddling. It is much simpler to avoid CSA controlled events and engage in recreational paddling. “ Respondent No 96: “I believe the registration costing issue comes from the lack of knowledge the general community has of the benefits offered by WCCU. Once educated the community may begin to understand the reasoning and ways to reduce or at least cease the increase in fees due to increased sign ups. The sole benefit of SAMSA agreement is value enough for any person who frequents the ocean on their surfski, recreationally and professionally. After all this issue is only an issue pushed by the surfski community - also the most expensive discipline.The lack of interest in members to get involved and stand for roles on the committee and rather point fingers is a serious hindrance to the progression of a Union that, if run correctly, has great benefits - and always did until a key turning point in understanding disappeared.When was this turning point? I do not know. Kudos to you for taking the time to do this survey but I do believe someone driving this survey should put their hand up, follow the steps, and stand on the committee to help change it for the


Available from (just type in “surfski”), or contact author Kevin Brunette: THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 83

good. Currently nobody is willing to bite the bullet and do it - but a little help goes a long way.Well done and Thank you.” Respondent 107: “The WCCU business model is a date dinosaur and seriously needs revision if they wish to survive. In addition WCCU is by charging excessive fees the union is complicit & prohibitive to ensure all WC surfski paddlers have an active CSA number as required by CSA in its mandate to SAMSA in lieu of the ‘surfski small craft waiver’.Why should I need to pay WCCU subs just so I can partake in the Cape Point Challenge when the union provides no safety, no timing, no newsletter & no communication in respect of surfski races etc thus I seriously question the R 615 membership in value, but can I accept the R 335 fee with a small handling fee done with an online registration to make the process more efficient. By contrast I’d rather pay this amount as a donation to NSRI and use the SafeTrx apps to know I have peace of mind should I have any difficulties in the sea 24/7. The WCCU need to justification their union fee structuring & role since they offer nothing to surfski paddlers, and in doing so should seek to attract surfskiers to the union by recognising their contribution to help grow numbers & stature as ‘surfski clubs’ affiliated to the union that would greatly improve the safety of the sport with the implementation of ‘basic & ocean proficiency’ under guidance of safety officer within these recognized clubs. “ Respondent 109: “I have no issue being a member of a formal body. But that membership must provide value. Currently I see close to zero value and see it as a grudge cost in order to participate in larger races. From a race organiser perspective, I want all 84 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

entrants to be CSA members so I have liability protection. “ The responses were a clear indication of the paddler’s sentiments drawn from a diverse insight into ability revealing with nearly 15% are professional or semi-professional as a indication to the quality and depth of talent, much less that 55% regarded themselves as good amateur or the 30% as intermediate and 5% novices. The obvious indicator of voting weigh within the WCCU is the demographic relating to club membership with 56% as canoes club members, 13% as Life Saving, 20% dual club members and nearly 10% non club members. Naturally allowing more ‘surfski club’ entities to join may dilute the certain clubs totals as Peninsular have nearly 30% of the overall WCCU membership, with Paarl 12%, Century City & Stellenbosch respectively at 10%, Millerton at 7% and other clubs affiliates in lower digits. From 281 replies it revealed nearly 30% don’t partake in any river races and only 22% contest regularly during the WCCU canoe calendar, 18% attend more than 10 events and over 30% below this. Comparatively from 271 replies 38% of surfskiers only paddle recreationally, 28% do all races whether WCCU affiliated or not, 17% solely at non-WCCU affiliated and 15% at CSA sanctioned events like Cape Point and PE2EL. Interesting was that over 30% had done both the Berg and CPC, and 25% only done the Berg, only 12% done the CPC but over 30% had done neither indicating that the dormant opportunity to attract their attendance. The tell tale of WCCU membership from 286 replies had 56% as currently paid up, 23% as past paid and the remaining 21% equally split between ‘half season’ that is no longer offered, intending to pay or not interested.

Contradicting the above in asking ‘why are you a member of WCCU’ revealed nearly 30% where not members with 51% saying that partake in races, with mixed reply to other reasons but 30% didn’t join as they simply don’t do enough races to justify the membership fees. 55% felt the WCCU fees are too high, 45% were happy with the R 950 and willing to pay at the start of each season, 18% would prefer a ‘increased temp fee’ rate per race whilst 28% preferred a smaller registration outlay which incorporated the fees per race. These survey figures aren’t a complete analysis of the all the question asked or the statistics they present yet the critical insight is to determine how best to retain and grow the WCCU membership generally by reducing the barriers to entry and create ‘value’ to the affiliation fees. Similar sports union that have reached a stagnate plateau have remedied their membership growth by reducing the initial affiliation fees with an accessible threshold. Rough calculations indicate a 25% increase to WCCU revenue if those ‘dormant’ members were motivated to pay half of the exiting fees. The most obvious consideration for the WCCU is to include those surfski entities that hold events around the Cape Peninsular to become integrated within the structure and enabling their contribution to aid the adopt of a valid CSA for all ocean paddler along with ‘self governing’ to ensure all members are vetted with ‘basic or ocean proficient certificates’ aided by contribution the 15 Surf Life Saving Clubs as feeders with Junior Surfski Development. Naturally invigorating the Capes Canoe Season with steady flowing rivers will help the immediate, but sentiments regarding barriers to entry within the

current formats remain and whilst the Berg River Marathon Committee seeking to add the ‘paddling pair’ perhaps a more accessible suggestion is to create a Half Berg Marathon to help grow numbers and introduce aspirant paddlers without needing to commit to the seemingly mountain of training and experience needs to complete the 250km from Paarl to Veldrift. Similarly the Breede River Marathon which naturally is a double race enables couples or friends to participate in a fun weekend away, but becomes prohibitively expensive once the WCCU fees along with club membership fees become summed up along with the entry fees, accommodation, fuel and entertainment. If WCCU where earnest in attracting entries and sponsorship alike then perhaps if the front double paddler was experienced enough to chaperone a ‘novice, mate or partner’ that updated the exception to the rules & WCCU fees be implemented to enable this with a ‘virtual paddler’

affiliation to increase numbers. Attracting sponsorship is an ongoing challenge and a naturally an obstacle to entice big ticket spenders when fragmented by marketing of piece meal events giving a scattered value proposition, so a unified umbrella of paddling disciplines for a year-long presentation under a title sponsor in which sees every craft adorning the said sponsor sticker with a CSA number as it travels to or from events around the Peninsular and navigates our many waterways would provide a meaningful branding exposure and social media #tagging. In summary, within a very short build up of few months from conception the inaugural Bamboo Warehouse Freedom Paddle demonstrated that with a small yet highly focused group of passionate paddlers they quickly marketed with social media to attracted some 190 paddlers from around the country. Interest was healthy to including a group of ‘five Nambians seadogs’ to venture down the N7 and attract a few thirsty river racing snakes to shed

new skin to partake in the pioneering spectacle that excelled well beyond all expectation by implementing the use of ‘SafeTrx Floatia’ tracking of all the participants and bolstered by the feel good prize giving announcement by the Capes most decorated river paddler Graeme Solomon’s Bamboo Warehouse pledge of R 100 000 first place purse for 2019. So as we look forward to the Freedom Paddle 2019 and the hard fought democracy the day represents, along with SAs prospect of the pending 5th democratic elections lets us reflect and appreciate the efforts of the many sacrifices to allow us to celebrate Freedom Day and within the spirit of advancing a fair and representative nation that values each and everyone’s contribution regardless whether they prefer E.coli or salt mixture in their water but within the trust we might find a more interactive, efficient and accessible ebb and flow arrangement to grow our paddling interests going forward. Jamii Hamlin





Three Beaches November 2018





GCU Mixed Doubles November 2018

IMAGES Grant Thiel





Pete Marlin November 2018


Let’s Race Events , events & more events




RACE PE - EL Carey Olsen Shark Point Surfski Sporty Anderson Surfski Race SA Canoe Polo Championships



St Francis Beach, 18km St Francis Beach, 18km Knysna





Heidelberg Bridge to Caravan Park

DABS Dambusters Dabulamanzi Canoe Club Schools League Sprints Race 1 JCC JCC 2 Day Klip Klip River Mike Roy 083 274 6643 Mike Roy 083 274 6643

LCC Elands Memorial VLC Nite Race Schools League Sprints Race 2 K2 Marathon

Elands River Victoria Lake, Germiston VLC JCC

Herman Vogel 076 092 2566 Theresa Welsh 082 330 0214 Theresa Welsh 082 330 0214 Mike Roy 083 274 6643

High Altitude Ski Race

Dabulamanzi Canoe Club


RACE Supa-Quick Fezela Challenge NCC Nite Race No 8 to Josephines Bridge Winkle - Toti - Winkle KZN MD Champs


DETAILS Bon Accord Park, 25km Camps Drift, 15km Úmkomaas, 15km Winklespruit LSC, 15km Sccottsons Bridge to 2nd Coleford Bridge, 25km

CONTACT Mary Millward 033 342 1528






Fast Drak

Underberg, 65km

Impilo Bushman’s Race Lion’s River Race Crusader’s Nite Race

FRI 1 MON 14 SAT 12 SUN 13 SAT 19 SUN 20 SAT 26

Commemorative Dusi Canvas Journey 50 Miler (One day) Mfula to eNanda Resort N3TC Drak Challenge


Campbels to Dusi Bridge

Mooi River, 18km Lion’s River to Midmar, 15km KCC Clubhouse, Blue Lagoon, 16km Alex Park, PMB to Blue Lagoon, Durban, 120km Mission to Mfula Store, 40km 25km Castleburn Bridge to Hopewell Farm, 65km Camps Drift to Low Level, 10km 25km Nagle Dam

KNCU Schools

Water release dependent, 35km Wagendrift to Lambert Park, Estcourt, 12km

SUN 3 SAT !0 SUN 11 WED 13 THU 14 SAT 16 SAT 23 SUN 24 MARCH FRI 1 SAT 9 SUN 10 SAT 16 SUN 17 SAT 23 SUN 24

Ascot Bush Lodge Challenge

Capitol Caterer’s Schools Sprints Inanda Dam to Durban Capitol Caterer’s Bushman’s Race Dusi Open Day Dusi Expo and Registration Dusi Canoe Marathon Capitol Caterer’s Schools K1 River Champs Nyala Pans to St Elmo’s Non-Stop Dusi Capitol Caterer’s Schools Mooi River Race Hella- Hella to Josephines Bridge Umkomaas Marathon Tugela Marathon

Camps Drift to Blue Lagoon, 120km 16km Umkomaas, 25km Eston Canoe Club

KNCU Schools Mary Millward 033 342 1528 KNCU Schools

Camps Drift to Blue Lagoom, Mary Millward 033 342 1528 120km 12km KNCU Schools Umkomaas


Middlesdrift to another Big Fig, 75km



RACE Surfski 8 - Daniel Conradie Surfski 9 Surfski 10 - Peter Creese Fenn Cape Point Challenge


Cape Point Qualifier

Gaye Weekes 021 782 1433 Pete Cole 083 675 0616

Surfski Doubles Series 1


Canoe polo West Coast Canoe Challenge Junior Sprint Series

Knysna Velddrift, 10am Peninsula Canoe Club

Stanford Festival WCCU Sprint Champs Surfski Doubles Champs Nekkies to Alfies

Stanford Peninsula Canoe Club Milnerton Breede River, 10am

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


Freedom Paddle / SA Champs

Oceana Club,

Robin Tindall

Dawid Mocke

Berg River, 9am



Robin Tindall

I N T E R N AT I O N A L DATE 2019 MAY 23 - 26 MAY 30 - JUN 2 MAY 31 - JUN 2 JUL 25 - 28 AUG 21 - 25 OCT 7 - 8 OCT 10 - 13

RACE ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup ICF Canoe Marathon World Cup ICF Junior & U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships Canoe Marathon Masters World Cup Canoe Marathon World Championships

DETAILS Poland Germany Norway Romania China China



VIEW FROM THE BACK OF THE BOAT I started off paddling doubles, in fact I did not own a single canoe for the first three years of my paddling adventures. I had this awesome partner Andre that I would simply follow to the ends of the earth – well at least across the finish line! Anyway time moves on and since then I have had the opportunity to paddle doubles with a lot of great paddlers. When a call came through a week before the Fish “Please would you take my place in the back of a K3?” I was delighted and very nervous. Delighted because in my 16 years of paddling I had never paddled down a river in a K3 and have always wanted too. Then the nerves set in. I had only met Lance briefly and Caro I had seen barrelling down the Duzi in her K1. What if they are much fitter than me? I have swum down Keith’s twice – how would they feel about swimming with me? We had never paddled together - What if we don’t combine well? How do you turn a K3? Needing some reassurance I phoned some friends that I have paddled with. Their comments went like this, ‘well if they are looking for a solid weight at the back – you are a good choice’, ‘You know that the back paddlers always ends up in the thorn trees?’ and finally ‘at least they cannot turn in their seats and hit you so you are safe as long as you are in the water’ left me feeling appreciated and inspired. Not planning on going to the Fish had left me a little skinny on the river experience and fitness so two days on the river was going to be fun. I can count the number of times I have been on a river this year on two fingers and I got hopelessly lost on one occasion. On the bright side, I had booked to spend the weekend with Andre Hawarden on the Breede the weekend before so at least he would sharpen my skills. The fact

that the rest of Andre’s students could drop me on the water while discussing supper left me with no illusions about my fitness! I bummed a lift there and back with Robin and John. I have to say there is a lot to be said for okes that will let a complete stranger jump in their car for nine hours on the trot. Robin you will know from SA Surfski and more recently The Freedom Paddle organisation and John is an old stalwart at this sport and his dad even more so. So they bring with them a depth of experience and wisdom that is really useful to any discussion. The lively debate on SA paddling and safety had us zipping through the towns on the N1 in no time at all. It is wonderful to spend time with people that are so passionate and committed to our sport. It renews your own excitement and gives you a new perspective on some old topics. It turned out to be one of my best Fishes ever, Lance and Michelle were wonderful hosts. The back paddlers were travelling light and Lance and Michelle took care of everything from food to seconding – they were magnificent! Caro carried the paddles superbly while Lance and I lugged the K3 through the portages. We shot Keith’s and made it – much to the onlookers’ surprise. Lance taught us to hunt down the boat in front of us and in return we forced him to work to rule by stopping every hour for a snack. I made new friends while on the back of a bakkie, around the braai and outside the beer tent. I even met another couple called Terence and Tracy – what are the odds. Finally huge respect goes to Jeremy V who broke his V7 rudder going over Cradock on tripping day and unable to fix it paddled the whole Fish (Inc. Keith’s) with a rudderless boat – YOU ARE AWESOME!! THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 99

IMAGE JeanStaples Tresfon IMAGE Dale