12 January 2023 View online

Hi {name},

OK!!!! I am back.

A week in Underberg and 10 days in the Eastern Cape have fired up the batteries.

Looking at the provisional paddling calendar here, we are in for, yet another frenetic year of racing. 

Last year rounded itself off well with a successful Cape Point Challenge. Now in its 30th year.

With the local Cape weather not being overly cooperative, the organisers were forced, yet again, to resort to a course within False Bay.

Uli Hart and Kira Bester proved to be the strongest of their respective classes, securing gold against an impressive array of current and previous champions.

The rains over the Christmas period provided ideal conditions for paddling in Underberg, with a full river for almost a fortnight. The last race of the year, the Fast Drak, was enjoyed by a larger field than expected, with local star Scott Little enjoying victory on a swollen river.

Into the new year, and the local river season in KZN has got off to a flying start.

The Midmar Canoe Club raised the bar with a superbly organised race on the Lions river last Sunday.

Hank proved that he had not joined the mince pie brigade over the festive season,  pipping young Matthew Fenn by a mere 4 seconds, with Siseko Ntondini a minute further back. Three podium positions with 3 paddlers from different provinces. Some exceptionally encouraging result statistics with  the vast majority of the top 25 finishers coming from the U23, senior and U18 age groups. In fact, Hank and Thulani were the only paddlers from a veteran class in the top 30. 

In the women's race the win was decided on a short run up the bank, with Christie MacKenzie edging out the evergreen Bridgitte Hartley by a couple of seconds, with Jordan Peek less than a minute behind in third.

Besides the Drak Challenge, all of the river races over the next 3 weekends will focus on Dusi style formats, in preparation for the iconic trip from PMB to Durban on the 16 - 18 of next month.

This Sunday is the Lighthouse Design Ozzie Gladwin, starting on a very full Albert Falls Dam. Traditionally the largest one day race in the country, participants will have the added advantage of a pumping river. The flow out of the dam was 85 cumecs yesterday, and has dropped to 64 today. There is no rain forecast, so it should be down to a fantastic level by Sunday.

Next weekend will see a double header with the SMG 50-Miler being held on Saturday and the Inanda to Durban race being held on Sunday. From recent reports, it appears that the recent flooding has significantly changed some of the historical rapids on the stretch below the Inanda Dam, on the way to Durban. Many of the Dusi stalwarts, who know every rock in the valley may well find themselves on a completely different river, come race day, if they have not had an opportunity to trip. The rest will just close their eyes and pray, like we often do.

The next major event of the CSA calendar is the JCC 2 Day Klip on 21-22 January, the weekend before the N3TC Drak Challenge, taking place on the 28 - 29 of this month. 

With the river levels having been as consistently high as they have over the past couple of months, the organisers are expecting a repeat of last year's superb conditions.

Irrespective of the water level, the Drak weekend never fails to be special, with such a variety of activities for the entire family.

Race organisers out of the top drawer and a superb vibe make this one of the most memorable trips of the year.

As usual, the premier "off river" contest takes place at the Underberg Country Club on Saturday afternoon during the annual Drak Golf Day, where bragging rights are determined over 9 holes of ferocious battle. The winners being presented with the largest trophy in golfing history "The Beast". Many talented individuals travel from all corners of the country to concentrate on their golf result, using the river race as a side show.

Out at sea, the Marine summer series starts on Friday with a new and exciting format incorporating a run and a malibu board race. The 7 race series will continue on almost every Friday evening until the middle of March, with a R1000 lucky draw at each event.

Some admin news is that CSA will be hosting its AGM on the 30th of this month. If you have any issues you wish to raise, please let your club and union representatives know.

That's all for this week.

Your SG




And the joke:


I was at the bar the other night and overheard three very hefty women talking.

Their accent appeared to be Scottish, so I approached and said: "Hello, are you three lassies from Scotland?"

One of them angrily screeched: "It's Wales. Wales, you idiot!"

So I apologized and replied: "I am so sorry. Are you three whales from Scotland?"


And that's the last thing I remember…


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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