The information dam is about to burst, so strap yourself in and get a large cup of jarva.
Although current weather patterns are playing havoc with the reproduction cycle of the brass monkey, much has been going on.
While most paddlers have spent the past few weekends peering over the edge of a duvet, on the couch, with a remote duct taped to their wrist, many have been out and about, and are about to go out and about some more.
Where do I start???????
The Berg River Marathon
Facing depleting numbers, and looking for a way to generate interest and participation in the race, the organisers took the bold step of changing the age old format of the race.
For the first time ever, the race was held in a team format.
With the recent rains having broken the back of the severe drought in the Western Cape, the course of the race was able to revert to its original one (with a small section of the 2nd day being made unpaddleable due to hyacinth).
When the team of Graeme Solomon and Adrian Borros announced themselves, most of the rest of the teams realised that they would more than likely be racing for the minor placings.
And so it came to pass. Despite a mishap on the first day, Solly and Adrian managed to build up a lead that no one else in the field had the firepower to challenge, and won easily.
One wonders how exciting the race would have been if there had been a Hank/Andy, or a Jasper/Stu team in the mix.
I suppose the jury will be out as to whether the gamble of the organisers paid off. Next year will tell.
The Investec Mauritius Ocean Classic must go down as the best paddling week on the planet.
A full week of classic downwind paddling with likeminded individuals from around the globe. All staying at the same venue in a paradise setting.
Superb organisation, with warm water and warm weather thrown in as a casual bonus.
Hank managed to get one back on world champion Cory Hill after having suffered 3 defeats in a row.
Safas managed to fill 5 of the top 7 positions in the men’s race with fast ageing Dawid Mocke squeezing a 3rd ahead of Barry Lewin and post aged Herman Chalupsky just managing to hold off rampaging youth in the form of Josh Fenn.
The women’s race was a completely safa affair with current world champion Hayley Nixon making short work of Bridgitte Hartley and Kyeta Purchase.
Do yourself a favour. Buy a bigger penny jar and start cramming every spare cent into it, so that you can join the crew next year.
Follow the link HERE to see what you missed.
Such is the depth of our surf ski paddling that we can send a different set of paddlers to another event on the other side of the world, and still dominate.
The Rice brothers, Sean and Kenny, pulled off the proverbial “one/two” at the Canadian Championships, held in the Howe Sound in Squamish, British Columbia, the week after the Mauritius race.
Cory Hill, still nursing some island fever rounded off the podium. The new WCCU chairman, Stu MacLaren mixed it with the front runners and ended up 4th.
The portly Portuguese German managed to hold off the first women paddler by a whisker.
This weekend is “The Maui Jim Gorge Downwind Championships” which will be held in the Columbia Gorge.
Held in fresh water, this is the largest surfski race in the United States.
My prediction is another Rice on the top step.
Asian Cup Ocean Race
The Chinese Canoe Federation is hosting the Asian Cup Ocean Race in Qing Dao on the 22nd of September.
The organisers have offered 2 free entries to the event per federation.
If there are any avid surfski paddlers who would like to take advantage of this offer, please let me know.
A big thanks to Crusaders Canoe Club for answering the call with a further R1000 donation towards the revamp (with a challenge to all other canoe clubs to match), as well as Dabulamanzi’s reply with the same amount.
Only 3 spots left to be immortalised.
As many of you may be aware, the facility at Shongweni dam, home to the Umzinyathi canoe club has been at risk due to a land claim dispute and some resultant civil unrest.
The great news is that a knight in shining armour and a beautiful damsel have come charging to the rescue.
Greg Vogt and Sara Agostini, from an organisation called Conservation Guardians, have been instrumental in negotiating a settlement with the new owners.
The initiative that they have launched talks to all of the fundamentals that are necessary for long term success. Issues such as community involvement, community upliftment, sustainability, business plans, etc. have been addressed. Their organisation has already spent over a million rand on legal fees for this project.
Now that a settlement has been reached, the long road towards restoring the facility will begin.
A message from Greg below explains;
“We are reviving the Shongweni Reserve as mandated by the Zwelibonvu Community who were awarded the land claim in 2013, however only received the property to operate on the 1st July 2018.
Since the land claim was announced in 2013 the property has not received the attention is should have and the property has deteriorated to such an extent that we cannot resume operations and take gate entry fee’s from visitors until such time the place is safe and all vandalised electrical points etc have been repaired. Then we will get the relevant liability to cover visitors.
Our tenants, Umzinyathi Canoe Club and Spirit of Adventure are enjoying their sections of the reserve and their members and clients have access to the property.
We are asking that you put out a “call to action” to our paddling community in South Africa and abroad and hopefully we can get our local paddlers to challenge their international counterparts to help us raise money for the reserve.
On Mandela Day, we are committing to PADDLE FOR 67 KM to raise funds for a beautiful pristine reserve that needs your help.
Conservation Guardians has been awarded the massive challenge of rescuing the SHONGWENI RESOURCE RESERVE, 1700 hectares of pristine biodiversity and home to 12 Giraffe, 12 Buffalo and a number of other species.
We challenge regional, national and hopefully international paddlers and canoe clubs to donate R1 (or $1 or 1 Euro etc) per km to help save the Shongweni Reserve.
Your pledge will be most appreciated and will go a long way to a good cause.
When: Start on 18th July 2018, Mandela Day
Who: I am paddling with my partner Sara.
What: A 67 km paddle on the dam
Where: Shongweni Dam
Why: To raise money to rescue Shongweni Reserve.
International backers: https://www.gofundme.com/help-us-rescue-shongweni
Local backers: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/shongweni67
Mandela Day was yesterday. I went down to Shongweni and paddled the last 8 or so kms with Sara and Greg. Our Dusi champion Sbonelo Khwela had already paddled 40kms with them during the day.
It was a mammoth effort. Sara only started paddling a few weeks ago. The irony is that she is putting all of this energy into a project, at our front door, when she is not even South African. She is from Italy.
South Africa has an abundance of talent but very few facilities with stable and clean water, we need to look after what we have.
The response to the call for help has been fantastic. Even Oscar tossed in a few ront.
The Drak Challenge went one step further and donated R100 per km that Greg and Sara paddled, and presented a cheque for R6700 to the organisation.
This is a massively worthwhile cause. R1 for each km paddled will mean half a pizza less at your next sitting. Get busy.
Junior and U23 World Sprint Championships
Coach Craig Mustard and his merry band of young hopefuls will be jetting off to Plovdiv in Bulgaria on Saturday to take part in the Junior and U23 World sprint championships.
The following will be representing SA
6.Jackie Van Der Westhuyzen
8.Caroline Van Der Linde
The championships kicks off on the 26th.
The ever popular Tugela 20’s canoe race has a new organiser.
They have assured me that the pre season taster is going to achieve new heights in organising excellence.
So, those who are looking for a splash in the face to clear the winter cobwebs, and to get 3 early qualifiers, better cross off the dates of the 10th to the 12th of August.
Three races in 3 days. All down a very manageable stretch of river, with great organising and plenty to do in the surrounding area for the rest of the family.
Point Water Sports Ski Series
For those who are fortunate to live in a city where you can paddle in a vest in the middle of winter in the mornings, there is the Point Water Sports Surf Ski series.
Probably the best value for money events on the calendar and a superb way to spend a Sunday morning.
That’s all for this week
WAIT! WAIT! Breaking News
It has just been announced that our women’s Ocean Racing Team from the World Championships in Hong Kong has just made into the final 3 of the GSPORT team of the year award. Woop! Woop!
I will keep you posted.
Woops!!!!!!! Almost forgot the joke.
A Geologist dies and goes to Hell. Dissatisfied with the level of comfort, he starts designing and building improvements. After a while, Hell has air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators. One day God calls and asks Satan, “So, how’s it going down there?”
Satan says, “Hey things are going great. We’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there’s no telling what this geologist is going to come up with next.”
God is horrified. “What? You’ve got an geologist? That’s a mistake – he should never have gone down there! You know all geologists go to Heaven. Send him up here! ”
Satan says, “No way. I like having a geologist on the staff. I’m keeping him.”
God says, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”
“Yeah, right,” Satan laughs, “and where are you going to get a lawyer?”