Page 1

Issue 3 2020 JUN / JUL

k o o Al k c a b e m i t in The future of our sport


Co n t e n t s the thinking issue 8 a look back in time Chris Greeff

13 24 hours | 230.65km 16 reaching full potential 20 what have paddlers

been up to 22 isolation 26 perfecting the diamond 30 handheld vhf radios Review

34 hitting the reset button 36 canoeing4covid19 42 the future of our sport 50 let’s get physical 52 white water wipeout 54 paddling kids 58 chicken curry cravings 60 race dates to watch 62 radar & evinrude



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; excompetitor 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.

Wayne is a passionate Ocean Warrior and inspirational speaker, trans Atlantic world record holder, skipper, sailor, boat builder, extreme endurance athlete, surfer, and more. Driven by his experiences and lengthy time at sea, witnessing the extreme and rapid climate changes and the devastating impact that we as humans have had on our oceans, Wayne’s mission is to awaken people’s consciousness to the plight of our home, planet Earth, and to inspire change.


Brett came into paddling later in life from a triathlon and multisport background. He is a 3 time masters World Marathon Champion in K1 and K2 and has several state and national Marathon paddler of the year awards. Brett paddles out of Ascot Kayak Club in Perth, Western Australia.

AUSTIN KIEFFER Currently the number one ranked Surfski racer in America and placed 8th in the 2017 World Championships. He discovered Surfski in 2012 and had a breakthrough season becoming the 2014 National Champion. In 2016, he turned his attention to the Surfski World Series and competed with success at major events across North America, Australia & Asia. Since then, he has placed in the top 5 in many international races around the world and capped off his 2017 season with a podium finish at the Doctor in Perth. Currently, Austin is living and training in San Diego, CA with his new wife/love of his life, Emily.

KEVIN BRUNETTE 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.

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

Dave Macleod After getting into paddling at high school, Dave embarked on a career in journalism, working at Capital Radio, East Coast Radio and the SABC before starting Gameplan Media in 1997. An avid reader and writer, he works closely with many paddling events around the country


DAVEBEE Jeff and Laura Liebel


on the cover

Athony Grote Graham Daniel Celliers Kruger Photo’s by Carolyn J Cooper Rob Mousley Jenna Ward Chris Greeff Wayne Robertson

Send your letters to

FIND us on the WEB

FB @thepaddlemag IG @thepaddlemag PUBLISHER Terrence Pomeroy-Ward AD SALES DESIGNER Tracy Ward ADMIN

FROM THE ED Here at The Paddle Mag we have been amazed at the boom in the online stuff that one can do. To kick off our little household puffed and panted their way through Ocean Academy / Hayley Nixon’s 21 day challenge and I must say we had an 85% success rate. The TRX belts and gym balls had us rolling around the garden so I won’t pen those as a success yet. Then there was Canoeing South Africa’s #canoeing4covid19 challenge and again paddlers donned their running shorts and vests for and exceptionally good cause and wheezed and puffed their way around their lounges or gardens. If half the people kept going and put in half the effort that they put in over the weekend we are going to have a very fit paddling community at the end of it. Our technique may be shot but our fitness should be there. Talking of technique, if you are still not sure about leg drive or where your top arm should be during the stroke then you have really missed out on some excellent work by Ivan Lawler in his 6 part series. What was encouraging was to see



the number of local/ club coaches both here and abroad that were downloading his videos and asking questions. Down here we have also been lapping up the Oscar Chalupsky’s downwind lessons / podcasts. There are a number of great points to take from his talks and we cannot wait to get back on to the water on a windy day to put them in to practice. The Mocké brothers, Dawid and Jasper have also been hard a work producing great videos on a range of issues for example, how to get in and out of the surf zone, technique questions, fixing mistakes and safety on the water to name but a few – we live by Dawid’s MOCKEMAXIM – ‘Never sacrifice stability for speed’ when new paddlers ask us for advice. Now it is great to be able to direct them to the videos, they are well produced and have lots of practical demonstrations. In-between my studies, I have also had the immense pleasure of jumping on to incredible podcasts of interviews with people throughout the world. Amazing to see how approachable and funny some of

our top athletes are. With the global lockdown, we literally get invited in to their lounge / kitchen (or wherever the internet connection is best) as they answer all sorts of questions. Leading the way must be Michael Booth with the sheer volume of interviews but right up there as great interviewers must be our very own Dave Macleod how has been doing a stirring job of keeping us all informed and Jim Walker from My Kayak Coach. I have also popped on to the Scottish Canoe Association page from time to time but don’t tell them that. The great news for all of us is that all this excellent material is now available on-line 24hrs a day. So if you are short of cash for data, zip down to your local coffee shop that still has free Wi-Fi and download the video in the time it takes them to make you your favourite coffee. Then go home, wash your hands and settle down to watch some of the best stuff that is available out there. Until next time stay safe, stay at home and for all of our sakes – think of the people around you. Ed.

A look back in time with Chris Greeff




One of the people mentioned in the Liffey Decent Book review (TPM 2 of 2020) is Chris Greeff for his ‘jumping the fence’ in ’83 in order to participate. So we were delighted when we got the chance to catch up with the man himself. Apart from the ‘over the fence’ title we discovered that Chris has a number of other astonishing titles, Springbok paddler from 77 – 85 (sprints, marathons and white water), winner of the Berg, Breede, Umko, Scottburgh 2 Brighton and Cape Point Challenge to name but a few. Chris has held numerous sprint titles including SA K1, K2 and K4 500m and we have not got on to his international accomplishments which we try and touch on below. He is also the only person I know that has piloted a K4 through the surf and across the open ocean. TPM How did you get in to canoeing? CG Oom Nollie Meiring was the first winner of the Berg River Marathon in 1962, he was the


chairman and coach of the Likkewaan Canoe Club in Parys (then known as the Leguan Canoe Club) – an amazing man. He won the first Berg and as a prize he received a Volkswagen Beetle. Because of the value of the VW Beetle he was declared a professional by the South African Canoe Federation (SACF) and from then on, he could not race in South Africa or be chosen for a national team. At that time everyone in Parys tried canoeing at the club, it was just one of the things everyone did. We lived on a farm that was on the river so we grew up literally on the river. We used to make our own corrugated iron canoes that we used to fish

off. But the club had these fancy wooden canoes that were imported from Denmark, we were hooked. The kids who liked canoeing stayed and went on to do sprints in the juniors.

was going to be four weeks later so I thought I would train for another four weeks. When the trials come round I made the Springbok team to the astonishment of everyone – including me.

When I got to the military in 74’ Saal De Jager and myself were given the opportunity to be flown down for the Berg which for a youngster at 18 was a dream come true. Luckily we did quite well and so slowly we were given the opportunity to do more and more races.

TPM What was your favourite discipline? CG Marathon racing in big water was my favourite, a race like the Umko. There you need speed to race tactically, and of course for the finish.You need river knowledge and the ability to read rapids.You need endurance as it is not a short race. The Fish is a close second. TPM What was your nutrition programme?

In 77’ Doug Parnham came out from England to train during the English winter. I asked him if I could join him because prior that that we did not train; we simply pitched up at races and paddled and that was it. The guys that used to train were teased for ‘cheating’. Four weeks of training with Doug was enough to get me in to the final of the SA 500m K1. That was when I first realised that there was some merit to this training thing. The trials for the SA sprints THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA


CG When we were kids, just before you raced you went down to the chemist to buy glucose because glucose gave you power. Then Pronutro came on the market - you had that for breakfast as that had lots of nutrients. Then Sustagen came on the market and some of us mixed that in to our juice bottles but that was expensive and a hassle to mix, so at the end of the day most of us bought two litres of Coke and shook it to get rid of the gas and put that in our drinks bottles and off you go. While on tour, my favourite pre-race meal would be steak and chips or hamburger but when you were on the road you ate what was cheap and available. TPM What was it like racing overseas? CG That was obviously the ultimate goal and was the reason you wanted to make the Springbok team. To make the Springbok team was fantastic, especially if it was your first time. But it was really only a step toward the ultimate goal of competing at the international event and to try and win – that was the cherry on the top. TPM Were you sponsored on the tours or did you have to fund them? CG We used to do fundraising through our

clubs and the union and mostly the South African Canoe Federation (SACF) would chip in a few bucks. In the end you often had to hook and crook and ending up taking the bulk of your savings and hammering it in there. After all that, you then had to hope that you did not get bumped out of the canoe race that you had spent so much money and effort getting too. We got bumped out of a number of races along the way. That was life. We used to go over to race the Gudena in Denmark, the Liffey which I managed to win in a K1 and K2, the Sella in Spain (1980 1st K2 with Jerome Truran and 1981 first K1). When that happened you had really arrived. I was not alone in this pursuit, there were loads of brilliant canoeists that came before me and I stopped 25 years ago and there are brilliant canoeists

that came after me. Paddlers such as Hank McGregor, Oscar Chalupsky, Ant Stott and Shaun Rubenstein to mention a few, but there were many more brilliant canoeists, each with a long list of achievements. TPM Some paddlers may consider you rebels and others call you pioneers, how do you see yourself? CG The guys before us like Willem Van Riet gave us direction that there were these international races to do. Paddlers like Andre Collins and Sunley Uys that I raced with were considered as ‘sanction busters’ but my hope is that we opened up the mind set of other paddlers to what is possible. See, you can go and do a race in Spain or Demark and we showed that touring and racing in the US was accessible. In those days we had to travel with our own kit including canoes. Nowadays when you go on marathon tours there is usually a container arranged for you but about 10 years ago I was sitting at home having a braai when I got a phone call from Herve De Rauville, asking if I could make it to the airport. I said sure, but what’s up? He said that he is at the airport and British Airways (BA) won’t take his K1 because it is too long, please would I bring him a hack saw so that he can cut it in half in order to get it on to the flight. So

the mate that had come over for the braai and I bundled in to the car and set off for the airport. So long story cut short – we got the hack saw to Herve, who right there in international departures cuts the canoe in half, taped the two halves together and goes back to check-in to see if that would do. Luckily BA agreed that it was now short enough to go in the hold so that he could fly out. Incidentally, he reassembled his canoe and won the race in his age category at the world champs.

welcomed us with open arms and went out of their way to make us feel at home. It also gave you a wonderful reason to travel. TPM Where you ever prohibited from racing? CG In ’77, the sprint team were on tour and raced the Dinant on the Le Meuse River. Then we attended another sprint regatta near Ghent. From there we were going to go to the Belgium Championships the following week but

TPM What was your reception like when you got to the international races? CG Being a paddler was the best passport to being accepted in any country by the community. We would go to Spain and there would be hundreds of tourists milling around and no one really took notice of them. When you arrive there with a car loaded with canoes you were welcomed as part of the paddling family. It was only the fringes really that gave us a hard time; it wasn’t the canoeists that gave us a hard time, they

1979 Berg Zoutkloof Chris Greeff and Roelof van Riet

somehow the story leaked out and so they asked us not to pitch at the championships as the race organisers would have to chase us away. So at least we were warned before we got there. Again in ’78, we were going to do the Sella and somebody from the club that we were going to represent boasted to the other clubs that this year they were going to win the club championships and so that is how some anti SA elements found out about it and got involved and threatened to blow up the bridges with the spectators for example. So the Spanish Federation asked us not to come. We then split up; some of our team went to the Gudena in Denmark and others went to do the British circuit. TPM Did you ever want to go to the Olympics? CG Yes definitely! If there was a team going to the Moscow Olympics in ’80 or a team going to the ’84 Olympics in Los Angeles I would have done everything possible to be in the team. I would have liked to do the 500m K1. We did manage to go as spectators to the ’84 Olympics near LA.

TPM What is the biggest accomplishment of your career? CG Definitely winning the Berg. Winning the 500m K1 at SA‘s is right up there but winning the Berg would take the prize. And having both titles; that of being the fastest man winning the 500m and the Berg are nice to have. There are not many canoeists that have won the 500m and the Berg. In those days fitness was obviously


important, but in order to win the Berg, river knowledge was crucial. If you went down the wrong channel or got caught in the tree blocks you could be stuck there until the following week. I was extremely lucky, I managed to follow to Andre Collins and he knew the river. He could not get rid of me. On the first day he out sprinted me, on the second day I out sprinted him and on the third day I out sprinted him again (John Fowler won the stage) so after three days of racing I was one second ahead of Andre. On day four we were level until Oordraplek where he decided to portage and I took the risk of going through the pipe. I managed to open up a gap there and did not look back from there.

IMAGE GoogleEarth

24 hours | 230.65km

In 1985 Chris Greeff paddled into the Guinness Book of Records by paddling an astounding 230.65km solo in 24 hours! Here is his story of that amazing accomplishment. In 1885 The Berg was in flood so that was the ideal time to go for the 24 hour record. The idea was to paddle the upper sections that had moving water and tree blocks during the day and the lower flat sections in the dark. The Berg River Marathon

started on Wednesday so I started an hour and a half before the Berg up near Franshoek and things went horribly wrong soon after the start – I ended up getting stuck in a tree block, nearly drowned and lost my boat for a while, so I arrived up in Paarl a few minutes before the start, having already paddled roughly 20km. I managed to start with all the Berg paddlers but when they stopped for the night at Zonquasdrift, I paddled on to Bridgetown, the overnight stop for day 2. From there I set out on the traditional day 3 route. As I got to Misverstand dam a NW wind came through and slowed me down quite considerably. When I got to the dam wall I did my sums and realised that I was not going to break the THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 13

No he didn’t??? um.. yes he did!!! Paddled a K4 canoe from Muizenburg to Simon’s Town for work. Took the K4 canoe from Marina Da Gama to Kalk Bay for a birthday party. Lord St John’s girlfriend Blossom received a happy birthday serande sung from a sea faring K4 out on False bay .

Raced a K1 on the ocean 1. Did the Fish Hoek Lifesaving Club Lighthouse race in a K1 and won. 2. Did the Pirates to Umhlanga and back race in a K1 and got beaten by Oscar Chalupsky. 3. Strand to Gordons Bay and back. Won that one. 4. Paddled through the Knysna Heads in a K1. Launched at Buffels Bay – to enter the Knysna estuary through the Heads to finish at Leisure Island. 14 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

record in those conditions so we abandoned the attempt and went back to Zonquasdrift for the night. The following morning I joined the rest of the paddlers and paddled the rest of the Berg as a competitor. Later that year the Breede came down in flood and John Lee offered to second me. We looked at a map and figured out that we were going to start at a place called Wit Brug, above Worcester. I also figured out that I should do the flat sections after Robertson at night so I started paddling at 2 pm on Saturday afternoon. It started getting dark about 10 km from Robertson. When I got to the rapids during the nighttime, all I had to see where I was going was a little headlamp on my head. So when I got to a rapid, I would paddle up close to it and then back paddle / reverse ferry while I tried to see where to go. Because it was so cold - as soon as I stopped, I would get enveloped in a cloud of fog. My light would then reflect off the fog and I could not see a thing. So if I got to a weir or rapid I would have to portage it. I lost my paddle and then found it again and lost a lot of time in the process. When I got to Silverstrand I met up with John and told him that my nerves were shot from paddling in the dark and not being able to see because of the fog. There were also some guys from UCT at Silverstrand who had come down for a training weekend and they were having a braai and some beers. We decided to go and join them, this was at about 11:30 pm that night.

The next morning I woke up at 6am and I did my sums and it looked good so I told John that I wanted to carry on with the attempt. I already had about 124km under the belt and I still had until 2pm to try so I was keen to get back on the water within my 24hours. So at about 7:00 I was back on the river and off I went. John caught up and passed me Cokes and Bar Ones every now and then. The lower part of the Breede gets flat and the flow really slowed down so I could see that I was not going to make the required 230km that I needed. So we sat down and reworked it so that Silverstand was the start of the third attempt which would give me until 7am on Monday morning to paddle within the 24 hours. I had to be at work in Simon’s Town and John had to be back at his lawyers firm on Monday morning but we decided to chance it and carried on. I got to the mouth of the Breede at 2am in the morning in the pitch dark so John and I had to search for each other. We eventually found each other and drove back upstream to a place called Napkysmond and paddled from there down to Malgas to get the required distance. That was at about 4 am on Monday morning and I still had two or three hours left in that 24h cycle, but I had gone through the record and I had been paddling since 2pm on Saturday. I had also done about 330km that weekend so I was gatvol and John was gatvol and needing to get back for work so we called it a day (or night). The attempt was ratified and added to the Guinness Book of records.

Reaching full potential The objective of reaching full potential is to deliver maximum physical output, optimising your competitive potential. With the difficulty in determining what might be your full potential, it could be based on a subjective, but informed judgement. Achieving a fitness goal is not the same as realising your full potential, IMAGE Kevin Brunette

because a goal might only be a step on the way.You won’t know the extent of your potential until you attempt to achieve it. It could mean undertaking certain activities and doing sessions that you don’t particularly like to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Enabling a meaningful analysis Tracking advances towards full potential demands accurate record

keeping and undertaking the analyses. These activities promote analysis and the potential for progress: • setting goals • establishing a training volume • determining reference points • recording and analysing performance In reviewing performance, you must have an interest in record keeping

and analysis; otherwise the ongoing effort can become tedious. It also means being flexible, ready to adjust the training volume and sessions as the season dictates.

easily, but find the next five percent considerably more difficult.

Tracking the gains

• the levels defined in your goals • your training volume • the sessions undertaken and groups trained with • how you put into practice what you learn • your mental approach and capacity for effort

Progress is not linear, and you will experience peaks and valleys as you advance. Initial gains are always the quickest, slowing as you peak and plateau.You might reach 85 percent of full potential relatively

The achievement of full potential might be constrained by:

With reference points and a record of sessions, it should be possible to detect each fundamental shift as it takes place.

Making sure to rest Take the scheduled breaks, making the most of them. Significant gains are made during periods of overreaching and resting. Don’t ignore the rest periods, just because you want to keep going or are feeling strong. Ongoing progress

requires precise management of the recovery and rest periods. After a demanding session, avoid repeating a similar exercise for 24 to 36 hours, giving your muscles time to release their tightness and soreness. Restore flexibility to a full range of movement as soon as possible through stretching and massaging. When not recovering fully between sessions, check the hours you have been active against the training volume.You might be doing more than planned. You should feel the affect of a hard session for a few days. Accept that a longer period of recovery is realistic for an older athlete. Don’t continually resort to antiinflammatory drugs to accelerate recovery, because it interferes with the body’s natural healing process.

Overreaching and recovering From your database, it should be possible to determine your response to training volume changes, if a slow increase or shock treatment provides the better result. Several days of sequential sessions are sufficient as an indicator. You will experience many highs and lows in training. It might be difficult to integrate the long hours with your non-paddling commitments. This means being able to identify and manage the feelings of tiredness and recovery. The fine detail does count when it comes to achieving peak performance, balancing

IMAGE Anthony Grote

physical stress with rest. Find the optimum that allows overreaching, but you are still able to recover, ready for the next activity. The objective should be to progress at a steady rate, in line with your seasonal cycle.

Getting sick Getting sick can be an inevitable outcome of intense activity, occurring when exhausted and your immune system is compromised. When sick, do what is necessary to recover as quickly as possible. Your body will be deploying all its resources, so limit your exposure to adverse conditions and intense training. On returning to training, use a heart rate monitor to regulate your effort. Keep your spirit up when getting sick. It is easy to become complacent and struggle to return to intense competition.

Avoiding overtraining Be wary of over-extending yourself in pursuit of a fitness goal. Gaining fitness is not about continual maximum effort. Not every session has to be completed in a personal best time or one after the next in survival mode.Your body might respond adversely to continual over-activity. Performance drops as you encroach into overtraining, making you feel underprepared and

undertrained. This makes you put in more effort for more hours, accelerating the overtraining spiral. Overtraining can occur when you: • increase the training volume • increase the intensity of sessions • don’t take sufficient sustenance • incur unnecessary psychological stress These can affect you separately and collectively, but the consequence will be the same. Overtraining is the outcome of protracted cardiovascular and muscular loadings, even at moderate levels of effort. Reduced motivation and severe life stresses can be contributing factors. Read the signs of overtraining, which soon become apparent.You should be able to sense it coming. A friend might mention that you continually look washed-out, but only you will know how close you are to physical and mental collapse. Do everything possible to avoid overtraining, rather than having to deal with it. There is no need to learn the hard way.


SURFSKI KNOW-HOW Expand your know-how by reading books in the SURFSKI series, which contain practical and easy-tounderstand reference material on the sport. The content is especially applicable to individuals from disciplines such as lifesaving, river canoeing and adventure sports that seek the transition to surfski.


Andy Birkett

Terry D Shaun Rubenstein

Sbonelo Khwela

Hayley Nixon

Hardus Theunissen


Jenna Ward



I keep hearing the phrase about how our old normal wasn’t working and how we all need to somehow create an all new normal.The problem with that thinking is just that most people are currently like deer in the headlights and don’t have the foggiest idea on how to create that. Most have just recently come to realise that the reality that we find ourselves in today is far more than a forced discomfort. Our daily lives have been put on “pause” while we have been sent to our rooms like badly behaved children. We are watching the world go on around us and wait in anticipation for answers and direction from our leaders. I would like to share with you some of the parallels that I experienced while being isolated for 92 days while rowing +8000km unassisted across the South Atlantic Ocean and why they these parallels are so relevant today. It was a tough journey. A massive physical, mental and spiritual challenge that pushed boundaries that I never knew were possible. I had to make a choice and move forward. I had to step off the dock and step away from the world that I knew and loved. Family and friends and all the creature comforts that make life easy, had to be left behind. I stepped onto a tiny rowboat and embraced a new world, a world that was much simpler and yet far more dangerous. The South Atlantic is not a pleasant place to be when the

weather turns nasty. The water is near freezing and 40 foot waves are common order of the day. So, apart from certain risks, my new world consisted primarily of two just things, sea and sky. All day and all night. So where are these parallels you may ask? Well, rowing a boat across an ocean means that you are totally isolated from the world that everyone else is living. There is no clutter, no bombardment of electronic information. Apart from navigational equipment there are no cell phone screens, no TV, no phone calls, no people, no mountains, no trees, no cars, no insects, no smell of flowers, no dust or pollen. There is just sea and sky for thousands of miles around and as far as the eye can see. You truly are alone. If something bad happens, nobody is coming to get you and there is no chance of giving up or turning back. The prevailing wind just won’t allow it. But, after a while your perceptions begin to change and slowly but surely a quality of extreme visual deprivation starts to set in. It is unnoticeable at first because all your attention is consumed by focusing on critical tasks and challenges of this new world. After a while you begin to realise that this is your new world, a new reality and that it is going to be your new world and reality for a long time to come. So, you start to focus less on the things that are not important and begin to pay more

attention to the things that are. The sea and the sky and everything in them become the new normal. The thing about visual deprivation is, that although you are deprived of seeing the world that you knew so well, you begin to see your new simpler or ‘narrower’ reality through a much bigger and more focussed lens.You become more and more one with your surroundings, more one with nature and begin to synchronise your being with the natural rhythm of the earth.You become very conscious of the sun, moon and stars that constantly circle overhead like clockwork – your sensory perception increases dramatically. The slightest change in your surroundings is observed immediately. A change in wind speed or wind direction or the shape of new clouds, water colour, sea temperature, humidity or sea life, all play a role life and affect the way you behave and all the decisions you make. You soon realise that you are not at all separate from this reality, but are connected to all of it and on a very deep level. It is a very humbling experience. The tiny rowboat represented your whole world, a planet in the vast ocean of space. Every single



thing onboard, all resources, water, food, power consumption, energy generation systems, all of it had to be fiercely protected at all times, 24/7, to ensure survival. Apart from rowing, navigating and eating, most activities involved managing these resources very carefully while trying not to die. Any system or resource that failed would translate into spending a longer time at sea which meant more resources were needed to stay alive. Managing how much to use vs how much to give (physical effort) was a fine balancing act. Solving problems always required a collaborative approach. Nature was always in charge and fighting against it only delayed a positive outcome. Nature was always considered first. All decisions were made with respect, patience, empathy and gratitude. And this is where I feel the world has lost its way today. People, in general, have lost touch with real reality. They are disconnected from nature and have totally separated themselves from it. People have lost touch with the world where animals are treated like animals and not like living, sentient beings. They, and all life on this planet, have a right to be here and we need start thinking differently. We are not separate from nature, but are part of it. Somewhere in China this truth came tumbling home and a virus from consuming an animal sprang

into action changing the face of the planet for humans overnight. We ignored all the tell tale signs believing that we are too far removed from nature for this to affect us. We did not think that we needed to fiercely protect and respect our resources. We lost the ability to collaborate collectively as a species and forgot to protect our home (planet) and all the life on it. Today our dysfunctional characteristics as human beings have been abruptly brought to light and no longer serves us. We need to begin creating a new world where all life is acknowledged and honoured. Essentially, we are all in the same boat / kayak / vessel floating on the ocean, but we are not all on the same patch of water. And luckily, it just so happens, that all, if not most water lovers i.e. kayakers, paddlers, surfers, divers, sailors etc all readily understand and appreciate the dilemma we are in. We can’t wait to get back into the ocean and to immerce ourselves back into nature where we belong and experience the life we all love. This quote by Rachel Carson really struck a chord with me: “Mankind has gone very far into an artificial world of his own creation. He has sought to insulate himself, in his cities of steel and concrete, from

the realities of earth and water and the growing seed. Intoxicated with the sense of his own power, he seems to be going farther and farther into more experiments for the destruction of himself and his world.There is certainly no remedy for this condition and I am offering no panacea. But is seem reasonable to believe – and I do believe – that the more clearly our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.” Although all that I have said above seems huge and overwhelming, there are small, every day things that we all can do to begin to bring about change.

Focus on the important things – look after your health, understand where your food comes from, consume only sustainable products, collaborate with people – work together – develop community, express gratitude, fiercely protect the planet and her resources, spend quality time in nature, work from a base of love and empathy and most importantly, teach the children this. It is time – let’s all create a better world. wayne robertson

perfecting the Diamond

IMAGES Photo’s by Carolyn J Cooper 26 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA


For those that missed the article I wrote a couple of months ago on this, where I showed my HR graph following a washleads session, here’s a graphic that is easier to understand and shows just how much benefit can be gained by using another boats wash.

I am fortunate to have a big group of paddlers to train with who are all able to sustain long paddles at a good pace (13 km/ hr).

PRACTISE Once a week after doing intervals on the way out from the club over 8km, we form groups of 3-4 and each paddler then leads for 3 minutes while we sustain race pace. If the group is only three the overall pace will start to drop as you don’t get as much recovery. These HR were taken from our last session in a group of four at a constant pace. In my case my HR was 166bpm over three minutes leading, 155bpm while on the side wash (a 7% drop) and only 140bpm on the diamond wash (a 16%


drop in HR). Depending on the size and weight of the boat and paddler you are washriding these savings can be much greater. (Many races have team boats and singles racing together and the wash from large team boats can be a huge advantage.) Often in our sessions if someone is doing it tough and looks like dropping off, we’ll tell them to stay in the diamond and that’s enough for them to hang in until we get back to the club. The message here is practise washriding. It’s a critical skill in any form of marathon racing as it enables you to perform far above what you can if paddling alone.

etiquette It is really up to the circumstances. Much like professional cycling, they all expect everyone to pull their weight in the chase pack or the breakaway, but there are valid reasons not to. If it’s a large lead group, more than four paddlers, chances are everyone wants to be in the front four.That’s where the greatest gains are and also less risk on turns or squeezes to be dropped. For this reason there is really no expectations to take a lead, some people may be just hanging on while others will be trying to get around and reshuffle the pack to get into the front group. If you are a group of 2-4 off the front, you may agree to work together to pull away from any chasers.

If you are a group of 2-4 in the chase pack you may agree to work together to catch the lead pack. Although at some point during the race if you are not closing the gap quickly enough you may start to think about just racing the people around you and that agreement is forgotten. Here’s where it gets tricky if you are in the lead pack or at least leading others you don’t want to catch you.You may have someone in the group who decides they don’t want to lead.They don’t really care if other paddlers catch you because they are confident they will win any end sprint. I’ve seen this happen where a group of three worked hard to stay away in a race while the 4th didn’t lead, only to win the race.

I was in the pack chasing them. I later said to one of the young paddlers in the front pack, “Was there anyone in our group you couldn’t beat in a sprint?” His answer, “No” , well I said, “Maybe next time don’t feel like you have to pull the group, let the pace drop, then one of two things will happen, the paddlers not working will start working or the chase group will catch you and you have saved yourself for the end sprint”.

That’s what makes this sport so much fun, it doesn’t just require technique, skill and fitness, but also tactics to make a winning difference.



Handheld VHF Radios


Many paddlers use Personal Locator Beacons, or tracker apps like SafeTrx on their mobile phones. But handheld VHF radios are also a great choice to consider – especially when they’re DSC-capable like the Standard Horizon HX870E.

Communication at Sea These days we have choices if we need to call for help: •

A tracker app (like SafeTrx) on your mobile is a great choice. It’s free and all you need is a waterproof pouch for your phone. Personal Locator Beacons are popular in some parts of the world – and they work everywhere. Flares are a good option too. I summoned help for a fellow paddler using pencil flares in daylight. Worked like a charm.

But all of these things have drawbacks: •

Mobile phones can be tricky to operate through a pouch, and they need a reliable GSM signal, which isn’t always available.

PLBs have to be operated properly (the unit must be held clear of the water) and the communication is one-way – you can’t tell if someone is coming to get you.

Pencil flares don’t last long, and smoke flares are bulky and usually you’ll only have one with you.

VHF radios, while also not a silver bullet, have some unique advantages: •

They’re really, really easy to operate – push a button to talk.

Modern DSC-capable radios incorporate a GPS and automatically broadcast your position to vessels equipped with DSC-receivers (like the NSRI rescue boats).

Repeater Stations Here in South Africa, the maritime authorities maintain a chain of radio repeaters along the coast, which extends the range of VHF communications. For example, False Bay, home of the (in)famous Miller’s Run, is surrounded by mountains – and VHF signals from handheld radios are picked up by Cape Town Radio over the entire length of the Miller’s Run. But even in areas where there isn’t the same infrastructure and the signal is limited to line-of-sight, a radio can be invaluable when talking to a nearby rescue craft. When we did our Search and Rescue exercise some years ago with the NSRI, I was astonished at how limited the field of view was out of the rescue boat. It’s vital to be able to talk to your rescuers because you’ll most likely see them long before they see you.

Standard Horizon HX870E Marine Handheld VHF Radio Having used a basic ICOM VHF for many years, I recently switched to the DSC-capable HX870E and have found it to be a reassuringly robust and feature-rich radio. The major differences between the HX870E and conventional VHF THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 31

The HX870E has a big, bright screen that is easy to read in direct sunlight

radios like the ICOM M36 are that the HX870E: •

Has a built in GPS receiver.

Is DSC-capable. This means that it can send a digital message to other DSC-capable receivers, including your GPS coordinates. If you send a distress message, it will automatically activate alarms on all DSC-capable receivers.

User Interface The big screen is bright and easy to read, while the menus are straight forward and intuitive to use. The DSC Distress button is located to one side, with a cover to prevent accidental activation. To call for help, you simply lift the flap and press the red button for three seconds. Thereafter the radio will broadcast your status and position until it receives an acknowledgement from another DSC-capable unit. Another advantage of DSC is that you can communicate privately over the digital channel with another DSC-capable radio without broadcasting to the world.

A couple of weeks after I published this article, I found myself in a real rescue situation when a buddy broke his paddle during a downwind run in 30-40kt - a very gnarly situation.

Here’s what I learnt: •

It’s very different testing the radio in calm air on dry land i.e. under ideal conditions.

On the water, sitting on a surfski in 30-40kt of wind and spray, it’s extremely difficult to make yourself heard.

If the microphone is covered with water, the result is that the person receiving your call just hears a garbled noise when you speak. You need to try to get the microphone away from the wind - e.g. tucked into the collar of your PFD - and you need to blow hard on the microphone to clear the water away from it.

Alternatively, putting the radio in a waterproof bag will keep much of the noise out. The issue with that though, is that it makes the radio more bulky and at the moment it only just fits into the pocket of my PFD in any case. Conundrum!

It’s likely to be extremely noisy inside the rescue boat, which makes it all the more difficult for them to hear what you’re saying on the radio. We ended up with the rescue commander onshore taking my directions and relaying them to the boat to guide them to our position.

Other Features A number of other features are built into this radio: •

It floats (and, it hardly need be said, it’s waterproof with an IPX8 rating - to 1.5m or 4.92ft for 30 minutes)

It has a high capacity 1,800mAh battery and comes with a rapid charger (3hr to from empty).

On the front of the radio, there’s a programmable strobe light that switches on a automatically if the radio is submerged.

Using the Radio for Real 32 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

There’s never a silver bullet There’s no question – if you go offshore in any kind of vessel,

you should have some means of communication. But whatever you choose, flares, PLB, radio or mobile phone, be aware that none of them is entirely fool-proof, and ideally you should have more than one of them AND you should have a plan B in mind should they not work.

Radio License Every DSC-capable radio requires an MMSI number to be programmed into it. The MMSI is a unique 9-digit number that is the equivalent of a phone number. Not only does identify the radio, but it enables other DSC-capable transceivers to make a private call to it – in other words, you can call your buddy without everyone else in range being able to hear the conversation. In order to acquire an MMSI,

however, you must buy a radio license. In South Africa, you apply to ICASA. The cost is not great and you can buy a multi-year license at a discount. It’s definitely worth taking a course to learn how to operate the radio. There are two parts to the course: •

Learning how to program and use the radio, including the various DSC functions

Learning how to articulate the various types of call, including Mayday, Pan Pan and others.

Fun fact (and one that I learnt only at the course):You say either “over” to indicate that you’ve stopped speaking and the channel is open for someone else to speak or “out” to indicate that the conversation is over (from your side). But you never say “over and out”. That’s an indication to experienced radio

users that you’re a clueless newbie! You’re not likely to be asked for your radio license (at least here in South Africa), but until I’d done the course, I’d never asked Cape Town radio for a radio check… and the first time I did, I found that my radio was faulty. Who knows how long I’d been faithfully carrying it – but if I’d had to use it, I’d have had a nasty surprise. Now I call up Cape Town Radio for a transmission check at least every month. Aside from confirming that the unit actually works, it keeps me familiar with the operation of the radio, the format of the calls and helps me to remember my call sign. (Of course, you can always call your buddy if they have a radio to perform a check too. Whichever – it’s worth doing a regular check.)

Alternative radios The HX870E fits handily into the pocket of my PFD. (And no, it doesn’t interfere with my remount; I’ve done it many times!) If you just can’t bear to have something that big, but still want a radio, check out the Standard Horizon HX40 – it’s literally the size of a pack of playing cards, but is still a powerful 6W transmitter. It doesn’t have DSC, but if you’re looking for something ultra-compact, that’s your unit. The HX870E sells for around R6,000. The HX40 goes for between R3,300 and R4,000 The course that you should take is the Short Range Certificate.There are various third-party companies that offer training. I did it over a weekend and it cost in the region of R2,000. I strongly recommend it, having a trainer there to ask questions and having buddies to practise with made it fun as well as educational.You even get an official passport-style license book from SAMSA (after a wait).The course and license are internationally recognised. You apply for your radio license from the ICASA website. (The website only works with the Chrome browser and is a bit of a challenge to navigate. When I did my licensing, it was a manual process, the good news – perhaps – is that it looks as though you can now do it online.) rob mousley THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 33

hitting the reset button While we have all done our best to keep moving and keep as fit as possible, it is going to be a challenge when we all get back onto the water again. Austin Kieffer wrote this awesome blog at the beginning of 2019, speaking about “Starting the Season” There are some lessons to take from this, that might help us hit the reset button on our paddling fitness in a way that is kind to our bodies and minds! Enjoy the read... The 2019 season has begun in earnest.This January has been one of the lightest volume training months of my surfski career, but it has also been marked by quality, sustainability and selfimprovement. Coming off an injury in 2018, I spent much of December resting and

IMAGE Daniel Frank on Unsplash 34 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

rehabbing my injured shoulder. Luckily, everything seems to be functioning properly, but it is frustrating to come off an injury or an extended break from the water.

Over the years, I have found that I routinely start my year with too much intensity and volume. I begin my New Year with the best intentions, focusing on my lofty goals and remembering all the glorious weeks of training I logged in the year prior. I usually sit down to write myself a training program and inevitably, I bite off much more than I can chew. Last year was so bad that after only 10 days of full volume training I imploded into a horrific bout of the flu. During that week I vowed that I would never again fall into the trap of starting my season off too aggressively. I even wrote out a “transition” training block archetype to use as a reference

for all my years to come. It’s a 4-week building program. This year I started with a preweek of cross training, then a week of just getting on the water once a day (no workouts, nothing hard, and nothing over an hour, just paddling once a day). With week two I stretched things a little longer and added a few gym sessions. Week three I filled in some structured workouts and added some intensity to a few paddles. Week four, I reintroduced the concept of two sessions a day on the water. And now finally I am feeling ready to start a training week that looks and feels somewhere around 75% of my dream week of training. I have never used such a gradual and slow progression to start the year and I was worried about more than just losing time. I was worried that with the first month of 2019

being so measured, I would feel unproductive or even incompetent. I have a terrible tendency to compare my every interval and session to all the incredible competitors and fellow paddlesport athletes around the world. Despite my fears, these last few weeks have been a much-needed reset for my training and life. While being an athlete mostly certainly requires week of heavy volume and brutal sessions that illicit huge amounts of fatigue, being a successful athlete is also about building healthy and sustainable routines, finding consistency in daily rhythm that moves you towards your goals and uncovering all the little 1% - ers that optimize your training and life. For me, this has taken many forms. I have reset my food and water tracking to better dial in my nutrition for 2019.

I have started a new practice of beginning each day with cold water immersion and meditation for mood and productivity. I have returned to my strong belief in a complete and dynamic warm up before any training. I have reintroduced a daily practice of soft tissue work and mobilization on a nightly basis to aid in recovery. And finally, I have been able to dedicate more time to honing and exploring the mental side of being an athlete. Even though I am not hitting the speeds I usually do around the end of January and I am well short of the requisite volume for an ideal week of training, I feel more confident than ever about my 2019 season. I am building a strong base and I am excited to see how high I can build my season.


1 2 3 4






At the end of April 2020, CSA hosted a successful 24 hour fundraiser for Canoeing South Africa’s paddling community members that were hardest hit by the lockdown. The project included a mass ergo training session, a waterbottle challenge, a gym session and a surfski coaching clinic with Oscar Chalupsky, attracting participants and donations from around the world. “We were overwhelmed by the response to our Canoeing4COVID19 initiative and want to thank everyone

that took part,” Pople said. “It just goes to show that we are a special community and we hope that this will go a long way to help ease the suffering for members of our paddling community. Coach of the Soweto Canoeing and Recreation Club Nkosi Mzolo said he was grateful for all the effort that has been put into raising money for those that need it. “I just want to say thank you to those people that took on the challenges whether it be indoors or outdoors and those that donated to this initiative,” Mzolo said. “Thank you for helping make sure that there is food on the table for those that are in need of it and for our future champions in the sport.

those that are in need during this time, they really rely on you,” he added. Lembethe Canoe Club coach Lucas Mthalane echoed what Mzolo said in thanking the canoeing community for all their efforts in raising funds. “Thank you so much to everyone that donated money and took part in the Canoeing4COVID19 initiative,” he said. “Thank you for helping us make sure that there our community have something to eat during this incredibly tough time that South Africa and the world is facing. The majority of paddlers in the Valley of a Thousand Hills come from disadvantaged backgrounds and I know that food parcels will go a long way to supporting them during this lockdown.”

“Please stay safe and please support

Umnini and Marine Surf Lifesaving Clubs, 1 may 2020

Our thanks to Swelihle Ndlovu and coach Mngadi Mhlengy for coordination of the shop, transport and distribution. 12 recipients in total. Swelihle had this to say just after they finished. “On behalf of their parents I thank you Canoeing South Africa for your support in the good and the bad, I am personally proud to be the part of this lovely federation”


Gauteng Canoe Union, 6 May 2020

Kwazulu Natal, 9 May 2020

Lembethe Canoe Club, Dusi Bridge and Mkhambatini,

The #canoeing4covid19 support has been overwhelming. Canoeing South Africa can officially announce that we are in receipt of just over R115 000 and donations have not stopped either. Thank you to everyone who has donated to this cause! We are working with clubs around the country to ensure the food support continues to roll out. Here are the latest support packages: Academy For Canoe Development Esti Van Tonder - Athlete together with support from the Kameeldrift SAPS assisted with this delivery.


SCARC, Gauteng Canoe Union 6 May 2020

A large delivery took place for members of SCARC. Our thanks to the club management for the logistics support and your extra top up of the parcels.

A huge thank you for all the donations. Save Hyper and Andrew Booyens for your extra sponsorship. Terrence Galloway for the eggs. The delivery team on the ground: Andrew, Thulani Mbanjwa, EltoNoel and Sydney Makudu. Coach Simon Mthethwa has this to share on behalf of his club: “On behalf of Mkhambathi Canoe Club parents I like to thanks the Canoeing4Covid about the food parcels we recieved today.In this though time that is all over the World in Canoeing Sport we all know now that we have parents ;sisters and brothers that they more about us in the bad stuation. Thanks guys God bless you� THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 39

Dihlabeng Slalom Canoe Club, 10 May 2020

Coaches Lindelani Ngidi and Nkosi Cele delivered food parcels to their club members. Lovely messages of thanks from the paddlers and their families. “A big thanks to people who make this help to be possible.” “Thank you very much coaches, and big thanks to CSA”

Two Kwazulu Natal Canoe Union clubs, Inanda and Kingfisher

Once again, a huge thank you for all the donations received from the canoeing community! Save Hyper and Andrew Booyens for your extra sponsorship. The delivery team once again. Andrew, Thulani Mbanjwa, EltoNoel and Sydney Makudu. 10 May 2020


Eastern Cape, 27 May 2020

Place Canoe Club Misgund,

The last of the Kwazulu Natal Canoe Union clubs to receive #canoeing4covid19 relief. Natal Canoe Club. The smiles say it all! 25 May 2020

As the cold front grips parts of the country it was our pleasure, on behalf of the paddling community to assist with the first drop of food parcels at Place Canoe Club Misgund. Royal Store, who put the packages together, explained this was a bread making part of the country hence the 10kgs of flour! So hopefully warm, full tummies! Mzamo Wayne August : “Thank you CSA for starting the initiative and thank you to everyone who has supported the #canoeing4covid19 project.Through this you’ve made sure that our development paddlers have something to eat during the nationwide lockdown. It is greatly appreciated.” THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 41


The future of our sport



Having been elected as chairman of our club recently (Likkewaan Canoe Club in Parys), I took part in an informal CSA meeting via Zoom a few days ago. The main focus of the meeting was the effect of the Covid-19 lockdown on paddling. The discussion also covered the general decline of participation numbers at races and club memberships. I added my few cents during the meeting, but gave it a lot more thought afterwards. This article is a summary of my thoughts on this subject. Over the years, I have met many people who tell me, when they hear what I do for a living, that paddling is not for them. Invariably, they would tell me that they have tried paddling before and just couldn’t keep the boat upright. Further probing always reveals that they’ve been put into an unstable K1 by some well-meaning friend, and not surprisingly, they were unable to balance it. A small number of people


decide to persevere and to keep trying until they get it right, which is why we still get new members into clubs. However, the vast majority of people are completely put off and never try paddling again. The sad thing is that paddling is so much more than balancing unstable racing kayaks. It is a disservice to both the competitive paddling body (CSA) and to would-be paddlers of our country that this misconception has become so entrenched in the South African psyche. At this point, let me be upfront and make it clear that apart from my love for the sport, I have a commercial interest in the sport too. But then I would also argue that it is precisely because of my commercial interests that I have studied the paddling market and its driving forces perhaps more than anyone in the country. As much as we would like to think of paddling as a pure endeavour of mind and body, there won’t

be a paddling sport if there were not manufacturers to provide the necessary equipment. So, a full disclosure follows, which I think is relevant to the gist of this article. I started my first kayak company 18 years ago (Fluid Kayaks), which I left five years ago. After that, I helped developed and manufactured plastic surfskis for Epic Kayaks (the V5 and V7) for two years. Two years ago, I launched a new kayak company (Vagabond Kayaks) with partners who are paddlers too. Over this 18-year period, I have manufactured roughly 40,000 recreational kayaks, whitewater kayaks and surfskis. About half of these kayaks were exported, mostly to Europe and North America. More importantly, the other half of these kayaks were sold in South Africa. Why are these numbers relevant? Because less than 1% of the

paddlers who bought these thousands of kayaks are currently involved in the type of paddling that falls under the umbrella of CSA. It is absolutely true that not all people who buy recreational kayaks ever intend to become paddlers in the real sense. They buy these kayaks for their holiday home or for their annual break somewhere at the sea or next to a dam or river. But, many of them do aim to become regular paddlers. Inevitably, most of them do not. There are multiple reasons for that, but one of the biggest reasons is that recreational kayakers are not particularly welcome in the larger CSA body of clubs and races. In healthy sports, the pyramid of participation looks something like this:

However, in South Africa, paddling looks like this:

There is virtually no cross-over between the recreational side of paddling and the competitive side of paddling. It is completely nonsensical.

Earlier this year, two intrepid members of the Rhodes University Canoe Club did the Dusi Marathon with Vagabond Kasai sit-on-tops. Gavin Shuter and Chris Matthews did the Dusi unsupported, meaning that they carried all their supplies with them for three days, making their boats incredibly heavy from a racing point of view. Because of their loaded boats, they paddled around almost all portages too. This is an extreme example, but it is safe to say that they most likely had a bigger adventure than any other entrants to the race, and saw sections of the Dusi and Umgeni rivers that few paddlers have ever seen.

In the Western Cape, two races already have a ‘short course’ for plastics and SUPs: The West Coast Canoe Challenge (WCCC) and Stanford Canoe Festival. Both have out-andback courses where the racing snakes do 15km or 20km and the plastics and SUPS are encouraged to do 5km or 10km. The principle works and the WCCC is the best supported race on the WC calendar because of it.

How is this problem solved? My suggestions below are not the only answer, but I have no doubt that these points are part of the answer. Before I get to my actual suggestions, I will first mention some specific examples of what has been done already: •

Races at Likkewaan Canoe Club – In 2019, we ran a monthly series of short races from our club. Race distances were 2km and 5km. Entries were open to anyone, and to all types of craft. We had paddlers rock up with K1s, touring kayaks, sit-on-tops and even inflatable rafts. Most of the paddlers who entered were not members of any club, and they had never competed in a paddling race before. Great fun was had by all, and many paddlers did more than one race throughout the year. • Over the last couple of years, a number of paddlers have done the Fish Marathon in Epic V7s. While a beast to carry past the dam wall, once on the river, these plastic surfskis (which are essentially fast sit-on-tops) showed their advantages.

There are probably more examples from all over the country that I’m not aware of. The reality is that these isolated examples show that there are many ways to help recreational paddlers bridge the gap to become more competitive paddlers. Opportunities need to be created that will benefit all parties. I recommend the following steps to create these opportunities. While I know that some of these suggestions will not be met with much enthusiasm because of THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 45

entrenched ideas that already exist in the competitive racing community, I still hope that those in the hot seats will give this some thought.

Open clubs to all paddlers In theory, I know that most clubs are already open to recreational paddlers to join. However, I also know that recreational paddlers are


actively being pressured to move to faster (read: unstable) kayaks as soon as they join. That is the fastest way to discourage recreational paddlers. Not everyone wants to become seriously competitive.

Open flatwater races to all types of craft This is a no-brainer. Anyone who paddles any type of craft should be

allowed to paddle flatwater races, as long as basic safety requirements are met, such as the use of approved PFDs and the use of sufficient buoyancy in the craft of choice. The safest type of kayak is a sit-on-top, as it won’t fill with water when capsized, and paddlers can climb straight back onto the boat without having to swim to the side to empty the boat. It boggles my mind that sit-in-tops are not being actively

promoted as the craft of choice for beginner paddlers.

Open river races to many types of craft It makes no sense that races on class 2-3 rapids are organised almost exclusively for the most inappropriate craft available for the job. I’m talking about fibreglass racing K1s, of course. While it is a subject of pride for South African

racers that virtually no-one else in the world tackles rapids with these craft, there is good reason why no-one else does it. There are much better craft available on the market for the job, and unless you are going for a win, most paddlers would be better off in something more stable.

Offer shorter options at established races

The South African racing scene has a well-established tradition of long distance races. I know that the ‘other craft’ that I promote in the previous points are slower than the fast racing K1s, and that race organisers and marshals may not be so keen to wait a few more hours for the slower paddlers to finish. An easy solution is to offer shorter options too. For instance, on river races, have a shorter-distance


start further downstream, so that all competitors finish at the same venue. One option could be to let all craft under a certain length, say 4m, do the shorter distance.

Organise short races Here we have a very obvious example: consider what parkrun has done for running in South Africa! Not everyone can or wants to paddle 20km or 30km in a race. But almost anyone who is reasonably active can do a 5km race. The races 48 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

we held at our club last year, with 2km and 5km options, showed that it is a format that works for everyone. The 2km races were preferred by young children, while some adults with short, slow sit-ontops, enjoyed this distance too. The 5km races were a good workout for paddlers on longer sit-on-tops, while the few racing K1 paddlers who entered approached it like a time trial. Because of the short distance, even the slowest paddlers completed the course in an hour, after which everyone enjoyed a picnic or a braai at the club.

In terms of speed, here is a practical example: a Vagabond Kasai, which is 4m long (compared to the length of 5.2m of a racing K1), is an extremely stable sit-on-top that anyone can paddle. A paddler who is reasonably fit can do a 5km flatwater race with the Kasai in about 35 minutes. Considering that the World Record for a K1 over 5km is 18 minutes, and few K1 paddlers can do a 5km paddle under 25 minutes, there is no reason why stable sit-on-tops should not be openly welcomed to join in the fun.

Club and CSA membership I deliberately did not mention club and CSA membership in the suggestions above, as this is an important subject on its own. Here is a basic truth: not all paddlers who want to join clubs want to do races, and not all paddlers who want to do races want to join clubs. There are many reasons for that, but it is how it is. My personal opinion is that CSA membership should be open to anyone, not just members of clubs. To force people to join clubs is not

the best way to grow clubs. People should join clubs because the clubs add value to them, not because they are forced to.Value can be in the form of access to water, boat houses to store kayaks, showers to use after paddling, social interaction with other paddlers, time trials, and so on. If you can’t attract new members without forcing them, your club is probably not adding much value to its members. On the flip side, I think that social membership of CSA should be a prerequisite for entering any race over 5km. The reason for the 5km

is to allow beginners and children to enter the short races that I proposed in my previous point. Maybe introduce an inexpensive, nostrings-attached day fee that goes to CSA for non-CSA paddlers who enter these short races? These suggestions, if implemented, will not change the culture of racing overnight, but in the long run, I believe this is the best way to grow numbers in the sport, and to create a solid base from which the truly competitive paddlers will emerge. CELLIERS KRUGER THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 49



IMAGE Charlotte Karlsen



SUP white water wipeout

Surfing on a stand up paddle board has its own unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to the inevitable wipeout. While there's no easy way to wipeout, these few tips will help you on your way to safe and painless stand up paddle surfing - remember though, if it comes down to you and the ocean, expect to pay your dues at some point.

Tip 1: Dive over the board, and under the white water If you're choosing to dive under the whitewater - never, EVER jump backwards. Always dive over the side of the board (or over the front) just before you get to the whitewater. If you dive backwards, it's going to hurt - because the board is going to get washed back into either your face, or your butt. And .. beware on surfacing, if there was any load of your leash. Buoyant paddle boards will load up your leggie as the wave passes, and may be hurtling towards you when you surface.

Tip 2: Keep yourself between the board and the wave


This goes along the same lines as the first tip, and is probably the most common cause of injuries in the surf (on all surf craft).You'd be surprised at how much power even the smallest waves have. If you have your SUP between the wave and you - you're going to lose, because that wave's going to push the board into your body, and thats going to hurt. Even at the end of the day when you're in the froth by the beach, a loaded up board can do plenty of damage to your legs. When you you're walking out through the surf, keep the board beside or behind you.

Tip 3: Hang onto your paddle When you bail, don't worry about the board! It's already attached to your ankle. Hold on to your paddle by the handle - this lets the wave pull the blade towards the beach, alleviating stress on the shaft and allowing you to push through the whitewater with no drag. It also stops the waves from snapping your fancy carbon paddle in half due to the stress on each end.

Tip 4: You can use your paddle as a brake If you've dived under a powerful wave & are getting dragged along, hold your paddle as if you're holding it over your head - the blade will as a break, and slow down your speed / reduce how far you get dragged.

Tip 5: Stay calm... One of the most common times you'll start to panic, is when you're being tumbled around on the sea floor.You might be in a mess of leg rope, paddle, rashie and huge stand up paddle board, but - it will all be ok... People float, waves all stop eventually, and you'd be surprised at how much longer you can hold your breath when you're cool, calm and collected. If you're being held under longer than you hoped, relax. The more you fight and battle, the more oxygen you need, and the more carbon dioxide you create. Especially using the legs, which are the biggest consumers/producers. Go with the flow as best you can until it settles, and calmly make your way to the surface.


Paddling Kids


Introducing kids to paddling really is all about fun! We took a look for some awesome games to play with those budding paddlers when they are allowed out of lockdown. All they need is to be able to swim properly and confidently in water that they cannot stand in!!

Capture the flag type games

IMAGE DUCT TAPE: Put a piece of duct tape on the bow or stern of all boats. Everyone tries to remove the tape from other boats, but keep it on their own. Last boat with tape wins. Captured tape can be easily stuck onto the capturers kayak. PEG PIRATES: The idea is that everyone has a clothes peg attached to the stern of their kayak, and the aim is to collect as many pegs from others as you can, until they are all nabbed. The one with the most pegs wins. This leads to some

interesting play as people try to steal each other’s pegs.

RACES These are a great way to warm a group back up if they are getting cold or to inject a bit of life into a sagging group. You can have forward or reverse paddling races, drawstroke races, point to point or around a course. Let your imagination go!

TUG OF WAR There are a couple of ways to use the humble tug of war to help with teaching kayak strokes. Kayaks could be linked with a sling/strap at the stern or bow to have a forward or reverse paddling tug of war. You need an equal starting distance and a real or imaginary line to cross. Observers will see the effective use of a forward or reverse stroke at work! You can also use tug of war as a task when teaching draw stroke. Place 3 kayaks side by side. The middle paddler holds onto the other two (outside) boats who have to draw/pry stroke away.

RAFT RELAY Raft up three or more kayaks. The inside boats hold on to the boats, the outside kayaks paddle. The combination of Forward and Reverse sweeps spin the raft. Two groups can race to see who competes a 360° spin first. A single group can count the number of strokes it takes to get around. Switch up your end paddlers. See what team performs the best. This is best taught early on, as it assists with rafting up throughout the rest of the day!


CHARIOTS: There are two types of chariots; both involve two paddlers and two boats. In the first chariot, the two boats are placed side by side with a paddle across the two boats, placed in the combing at the back of the cockpits. Paddler A sits on the paddle with one foot in each boat. Paddler B stands with one foot in the cockpit, on the seat of each boat and paddles the chariot. In the second chariot the kayakers face each other bow to stern, side by side. Each paddler sits on the back deck of his kayak, behind the seat, with a foot in each boat. The paddlers face each other and have to use team work to maneuver the chariot. PIANO KEYS: Line up all the boats in the water facing the same direction. Each person holds on to the boat next to him to keep the boats in line (paddles are left on shore). The paddler at one end climbs out of his boat and tries to walk from one end to the other and back on the lined-up boats without falling in. Once they return to their kayak, they get back in and paddle to the other end of the raft, and the next person takes a turn. The boats are not a stable platform, so expect lots of kids to end up in the water. SIT ON BACK LEGS IN WATER: Get your paddlers to sit on the deck of their kayak behind the cockpit with their legs in the water while paddling. To increase difficulty, get people to put their feet on the seat of their cockpit. A great way to teach the use of a low brace. See if anyone can “rodeo”, rotating their body 360° around the deck, swinging the legs around without falling in! HAND PADDLE: for some THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 55

reason kids love hand paddleing their boats! It’s a great safety exercise, as it teaches how to maneuver without a blade.You can race, or actually have them try some maneuvers around a buoy course. JAVELINE RACE: Another version of hand paddling. Have your group to throw their paddles away javelin style before setting them the task of racing to a marked point collecting their paddles along the way.

GROUP ACTIVITIES FOLLOW THE LEADER: Good simple task. Set up a buoy course (which can also simulate a river). Let the kids take turns leading each other around the buoys doing bow draw or sweep turns, going backwards, drawing. Let them make it up, and challenge each other. The Instructor may have to lead


to generate some ideas to get this game started. SLALOM: Set up your own simple slalom course to practice sweep stroke edging or other turning stroke.You can time your group or count strokes taken to complete the course. The aim then is to improve on your time or reduce the number of strokes. ON WATER STRECHES: Simple stretches can be done while on the water. Reach forward and touch the bow of the boat. Reach back and touch the stern of the boat. Rotate torso left and right to touch the rear of the boat. Pass the paddles under the boat. Rock the kayak from side to side with the paddles above your head, or cradled in your arms (paddle stays level) and use the hips to rock the boat. Torso rotate, drop the paddle into the water, pick it up, repeat.

SCAVENGER HUNT: This game works in almost any location where a variety of natural treasures can be found. Divide into groups of 2-4 boats each and give each group a list (the lists can be the same or different). Objects to find can be as simple as a rock or a leaf, a clam shell, a gull feather or a bottle cap! This game takes the focus off paddling skills and puts it on teamwork, getting places, and learning about nature. SIMON SAYS: Once your students have learned a few strokes and techniques, you can get them to play the standard game of Simon Says; test out their knowledge of the strokes and their reaction time. The last kayaker “standing” wins the game. WeKANU: Ideas gathered from counselors, instructors and other resources the Liebel’s have encountered as ACA Instructor Trainers.

Spot the Difference

Tag us in your creations


Click the logo and head across to the Canoe Kids page on Planet Canoe for more...

Can you find changes on this Stand Up Paddling image? Answers on the next page.

More resources on


Share #CanoeKids THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 57

chicken curry cravingS


If you have never made chicken curry before, then prepare to be amazed by this recipe! This classic Indian dish is very approachable to make with very simple ingredients and it comes together in about 30-40 minutes.

Ingredients 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts diced into bite-sized pieces 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small yellow onion diced 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 clove 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes 2 teaspoons curry powder 2 teaspoons garam masala 1 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon paprika 2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

Instructions 1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine 1 tablespoon of oil, diced onion, and garlic. Once onions have softened and garlic is fragrant, add in tomatoes, curry powder, garam masala, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and tumeric. Lower the heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. 2. Remove the sauce from the pan and transfer to a food processor. Blend until smooth with the 2 tablespoons of water. Be careful as the sauce will be very hot. 3. In the sames skillet used for the sauce, place the remaining oil and chicken over medium-high heat. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is almost completely cooked through before adding the sauce back into the pan. Stir in the Greek yogurt and until everything is well combined and smooth before reducing the heat to medium-low for 10 minutes. 4. Serve with cilantro as garnish over either rice or with naan bread.

Nutritional Info Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 285mg | Potassium: 805mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 535IU | Vitamin C: 13.4mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2.6mg RECIPE and images: THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA 59

Race Dates to Watch *** Subject to change of course!

At this point all South African races are unfortunately on hold. We will keep you change. 2020 ICF CALENDAR REMAINING COMPETITIONS 2020 ICF CALENDAR









Scheduled Situation review 30 May

14-16 August 10-12 July

23-27 September Postponed to September


23-27 September Postponed to September





21-23 August










24-27 September

15-18 October



18-20 September

23-25 October(1)



12-14 June

6-8 November(1)


7-12 July

1-6 September (1)

Postponed to September Final decision 15 June Postponed to October Final decision 30 June Postponed to October Final decision 30 June Postponed to October or Final decision 30 June

ICF preferred date, to be confirmed by the Host Organising Committee / Host National Federation CANOE POLO



8-13 September

April 2021

Postponed to April 2021 Dates to be confirmed soo


11-13 September


Scheduled Final decision 30 June



5-6 September

5-6 September





12-15 November

12-15 November Scheduled

updated as things Updated on 29.05.2020


early November


1 of 1


Radar & Evinrude It took Radar a full seven weeks to get into Zoom meetings. My backseat bandido is not well known for adapting to technological innovation, and his trade uses nothing that you will find in a hi-tech catalogue. He is also a social beast, and loves nothing more than to find an excuse to swing around just after five pm with a cheeky grin, making a beeline for the wine rack in my kitchen, waxing lyrical about the sun being so far past the yardarm that it’s ridiculous. 62 THEPADDLEMAG.CO.ZA

When, after three weeks of the lockdown, his beer and wine stock ran out he started appearing at my gate like a lost stray puppy long before lunchtime, doing a bad job of disguising his intentions to relieve me of some of the stock in my pub. Then he got stopped at a roadblock by some over-zealous champ from the Defence Force. What started out as Evinrude behaving like a troep on the border on the eighties quickly went south, and he scampered off home scared witless.

That’s when our lockdown socialising ended. And things started to get a little tetchy in the Rude household as the lockdown went into week six. And seven.

In one of our daily catch-ups on the phone – he won’t use WhatsApp calls or video or anything like that – Evinrude announced that he had watched a video of a live chat with one of our top paddlers on a Facebook page, and was gushing about how cool it was to link people up as they were all locked

up in their homes. So I unpacked the whole theory behind this technology. I explained that paddlers were linking up in Zoom groups to do daily paddling sessions together. The Drak Challenge even put out a half hour video of paddling down the Valley of a Thousand Rapids to act as distraction or motivation while you are working out at home. Evinrude had tried paddling in his pool, but that didn’t work well. Mainly because his pool (maybe it should be called a poolette) isn’t long enough to fit his K1. He sawed off the nose and tried to wedge some polystyrene into the cavity while he jumped in to paddle. And it all sank on a messy flotsam of styrene balls and loud obscenities. And all he wanted was a beer to calm his frayed nerves, and there wasn’t one anywhere in the house. While his first batch of

pineapple beer was fermenting, we had a chat about the Zoom ergo groups. Evinrude has always shunned ergos as we live in a city that doesn’t have a winter and we can paddle year-round. So why would you choose to sit on an aluminium bar and paddle a bladeless paddle while the ropes create a noise like an orchestra playing The Flight of the Bumblebees? But things were different now. The ergos were starting to look appealing. He spent one night perched on top of the back of his couch watching the Drak video while he “air-paddled”. But that was eventually stopped by Mrs Rude after a second vase went down and he then accidentally scooped a passing cat into the sliding door. So he was now keen on the ergo. ‘n Boer maak n plan. He cut the blades off a truly knackered set of paddles, so he had the shaft, and the rope he needed. He had a long aluminium beam that, at one stage had held up his carport roof before he drove into it with a minibus loaded with boats going to the Tugela. The masterstroke was his lawnmower. A vintage two stroke beast that has been gathering dust in the dark recesses of his garage, it has proper wheels on it, not like the modern plastic biscuit jobs you get nowadays, he told me. By inverting the aluminium bar you created a gutter in which the mower fitted. He bolted on an old cricket bat as a footrest. Added a pulley

for the rope. And he was set. His wife sent me the video. She sounded terrified. But the video showed Evinrude sitting on top of the mower motor housing, sliding up and down the aluminium track like a rowing machine, while he loudly sang his favourite ACDC songs. The Evinrude ergo was up and running. He completed a session, and proudly complained about all the aches and pains afterwards. The next day I got a call for Mrs Rude telling me that Evinrude was being discharged. What happened? Is he OK? It turns out that session two was about ten minutes old when one of the wheels came off the lawnmower, and the cast iron chassis ground into the aluminium gutter. Sparks everywhere. Then flame as the petrol in the twenty year old fuel tank caught alight. Fortunately Evinrude leapt from the contraption, but not before the back of the t-shirt he was wearing caught fire. It set alight the abundant hair that thrives on Evinrudes back, which necessitated some substantial beating with a camp chair by Mrs Rude to put out. So Evinrude no longer does ergo sessions. He is moping at home with a blistered and hairless back, while Mrs Rude nags him about repainting the garage that got smoked out when the mower died in a ball of petrol flames. Counting the days to Level 3….


Profile for The Paddle Mag

Paddle Mag 3 2020 June|July  


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded