16 November 2022 View online

Hi {name},

The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity. At last, most of the major events are behind us.

I feel like one of those horses in the Grand National, after jumping the last fence.

I can see the finish line, there is still some running to do, but most of the obstacles are behind, and I am still on my feet. The jockey appears to have put on a bit of weight since the beginning of the race though.

Whilst on that subject, I have just returned from Thailand where I attended the ICF congress.

I was not the only South African in attendance. I was joined by our president, Kim Pople and by Bridgitte Hartley. Kim was our SA representative, whilst Bridgitte attended as the chair of the athletes commission and I was there as chair of the ICF Ocean Racing committee.

The ICF holds a congress every two years. In the year of the Olympics, the elective congress is held, where the president and board members are voted in, for a 4 year term. Two years later, an ordinary congress is held.

It is unusual for a small country like ours (especially a non European country) to have two people on the ICF board of directors. It certainly does give us a stronger voice.

The congress was a hybrid one, in that a number of the country's federations attended virtually, whilst most attended in person.

Bridgitte and I both had to make presentations on our respective portfolios. Having to wear a suit was an uncomfortable experience and the damn tie was killing me (I couldn't say as much though, in case it was taken out of context).

Bridgitte's and my presentation, as well as Kim's report have been put up on the CSA website if anyone is interested.

Read the presentations here

Whilst I was in Portugal, at the World marathon and Ocean Racing champs, I was forced to miss the Fish, which was really sad.

Whilst in Thailand, we were forced to miss the Pete Marlin ski race, which was just as sad.

The disappointment was compounded by the numerous photos and reports that were being sent on a regular basis. It looked like a massively enjoyable event, both on, and off, the water.

Hank managed to reverse his fortunes from the World Championships and swapped podium places with the current world champion, Kenny Rice, with local favourite Josh Fenn edging out Uli Hart, by a few seconds, to win the U23 category and take 3rd place overall as well.

Surprise of the day was the performance by the old man of the sea, Dawid Mocke, who finished just a minute behind the youngsters, to claim 5th overall.

In the women's race, Kira Bester had broken clear of the rest of the field, but came unstuck whilst trying to cut the point at Yellow Sands a bit tight and suffered the same fate as Hank had the previous year, making close acquaintance with the local rocks. This allowed young Saskia Hockly and the veteran lioness, Jenna Nisbet to fight it out, ending with the older arms being found wanting. Melanie Van Niekerk finishing just under a minute behind in 3rd.

Most of the paddlers found the doubles race the next day somewhat challenging. Many due to the fact that had partaken in the local revelry with gay abandon the night before, and the rest because they had very little assistance from the dead flat sea.

It was another reversal of fortunes in the women's race when Jenna, paddling with the Spaniard (with a very South African accent) Chloe Bunnett, relegated Saskia and Holly Smith to the second step on the podium (although they did win gold in the U18 category). Candice Murray and Babette Van Rooyen claiming bronze.

Andy Birkett and Nick Notten managed to put the disappointment of their performance at the world marathon champs behind them and edged out Hank and Josh Fenn by a few seconds in the men's race.  Dawid let all and sundry know that his result from the day before was no fluke when he and his brother Jasper rounded off the podium.

The Orange river was the scene of all of the action this immediate past weekend. There was an absence of racing snakes but those who were fortunate enough to attend can attest to a fantastically well organised event with loads of fun and terrific water. The race was won by Heinrich Schloms with the organiser of the race, Waldo Van der Linde in a close second place. The results lower down on the page resembled the first page of the Berg results from 30 years ago. Bianca Beavett won the women's category.

It is a real pity that the race venue is not closer to most of our metropolis, or that reasonably priced air tickets are not available, as this would definitely be a firm tick on most of our calendars every year.

The organisers were somewhat peeved that they only got a 350cm release for the race. Most other race organisers would be happy with 20.

The sprint committee has been ultra pro-active. The selection documents for the three main sprint tours next year are already up on the website. They are reflected under "disciplines" and then "sprint".

With the carrot of possible Olympic participation, there will be a shift in focus for many of our elite paddlers.

The first draft calendar for the next season has been published. It is still very much a "work in progress", and much discussion and negotiating still needs to take place. Items in green are relatively confirmed.

That’s all for this week.

Back again when necessary.

Loads of exciting events happening all over the place.

Your SG

And the joke.
Friendship among Women:
A woman didn't come home one night. The next morning she told her husband that she had slept over at a friend's house. The man called his wife's 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about it.
Friendship among Men:
A man didn't come home one night. The next morning he told his wife that he had slept over at a friend's house. The woman called her husband's 10 best friends. Eight confirmed that he had slept over, and two said he was still there.

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