24 January 2024 View online

Hi {name},

By the look at what a few of us are trying to squeeze into our tortured lycra kit, the Christmas break has been a good one.


Fortunately, there is plenty on the paddling calendar to assist with clearing up the after-effects of the mince pie fest. We just need to hope that the abundance of water, that is currently in the system, hangs around until it can be utilised.


Over the past few weeks, KZN has been hit with mini floods, yet again. Sad news for people who have suffered loss of any kind, but mostly good news for river paddlers. The Dusi and Umgeni rivers have had a really good flush, with all of the major dams being more than 100% full.


With the Dusi being only 3 weeks away, this has come with some mixed blessings.


The pre Dusi races have either been held on very full rivers, or had to be postponed or moved. The Ozzie Gladwin was held on a nice and full upper Umgeni. Races on the lower Umgeni were forced to pull the plug, with the 50 Miler being postponed and the Inanda to Durban being moved to a section of the first day of the Dusi rout. On Saturday there was still 180 cubes coming out of Inanda.


The Umzimkulu has also enjoyed some great levels over the past two months, and is still flowing nicely. With the N3TC Drak Challenge being held this weekend, all and sundry are praying for a small "top up" before the start.


The organisers have taken a leaf out of the Umko book, and decided to switch the two days of the Drak around, paddling the lower stretch first and the upper stretch on Sunday. This will change the racing dynamic for many, with some being advantaged and others, not so much. From a logistical perspective, it is a great change.


Also, even if there is no rainfall between now and the weekend, there will definitely still be enough water on the lower section to have an enjoyable paddle.


Either way, everyone knows that the main event of the weekend takes place at the Underberg Golf Course on Saturday afternoon when the annual Drak Challenge golf day takes place, and players do battle for the privilege of lifting "The Beast" of a trophy. Tee off at 2pm. Sense of humour a compulsory requirement. Talent, an optional extra.


CSA will be hosting its AGM on the Monday after the Drak. If you have any issues you wish to be raised, please contact your club or union rep.


It also might be time to do your annual bit of admin and to bale onto the CSA website and update all of your personal details (don't forget the new T shirt size)


While you are there, you can have a look at the draft calendar and see what is in store for the year ahead.


Those who enjoy marathon paddling, as well as surfski paddling, and are considering a trip abroad, may get a bit excited to see that the world marathon championships is going to be held in Croatia this year, with the world ocean racing (surfski) championships being held in Madeira 12 days later. Neither of the venues being totally unattractive.


Our international federation celebrates its 100 years of existence this month. On January 19, 1924, representatives from the National Federations of Denmark, Germany, Austria and Sweden came together to form an international paddling association. The two-day meeting was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the Danish, German, Austrian and Swedish officials agreed to name the body “Internationale Repräsentantenschaft für Kanusport”, abbreviated as “IRK”. 


The ICF replaced the IRK as the name of the organization in 1946. Since then, the ICF has grown enormously and now governs 10 disciplines – Canoe Sprint, Canoe Slalom, Paracanoe, Canoe Marathon, Canoe Polo, Wildwater Canoeing, Canoe Freestyle, Ocean Racing, Dragon Boat and Stand Up Paddling.  The ICF has also increased its membership to 171 National Federations.


There has already been significant interest, by a heap of masters, in the world marathon championships, to be held in Metkovic, in Croatia on 16-22 September.


The masters will double as the cheerleading squad for the national team.


Once again, CSA is obliged to advertise for the position of manager of the team. The position is unpaid and involves all logistical, psychological, personal and emotional support of a team of highly sensitive athletes. Please forward all applications to me at sg@canoesa.org.za, with a brief CV (no chancers).

See you on the 1st tee in Underberg ...


Your SG

And the joke ...


A little silver-haired lady calls her neighbour and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started."


Her neighbour asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"


The little silver haired lady says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."


Her neighbour decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.


He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."


He takes her hand and says, "Secondly, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then," he said with a deep sigh, "and then let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."

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