8 May 2024 View online

Hi {name},

On Sunday, I entered my first race since Hairyface left us.

The only thing that hit me harder than not seeing his smiling face at the entry table, was the shore break at Tiffany's beach, on the North coast.

We gave him a proper send off, at his memorial service three weekends ago, which was held at the Hills Wedding Estate outside Pietermaritzburg.

Some truly emotional tributes, from some very brave individuals (mostly), including Kirsten and Lorna who held things together like two Trojans.

A fantastic contribution by so many towards "John's Last Race", saw us cover the entire cost of the memorial, with a healthy excess that will be handed over to the family.

Thank you all for unselfish generosity. Also, to those who worked so hard in making the day as special as it was. For those who missed it, you can view it at your leisure on YouTube.

For most of us, it will take a long time to come to terms with him not "being there", as he always was.

One of the premier surf ski races in the country, and therefore, the world :), took place the weekend before last.

Concerns over the potential interference of mother nature were ill founded, as around 350 intrepid souls launched themselves into the icy waters of the Atlantic, in a variety of craft, for the Prescient Freedom Paddle.

The largest category, by far, was the SS2 contingent. The majority of the field, opting for the long course, all the way around the iconic Robben Island.

A following sea on the way out resulted in a spreading out of the field.

Previous winners Josh Fenn and Hank McGregor built up a comfortable lead on the way out and simply hung on to it against the wind on the way back from the island. Their two-and-a-half minute winning margin was not replicated by the chasing crews, with Uli Hart and Wayne Jacobs just managing to hold off Matt Coetzer and Luke Jean Le Roux, by 30 seconds.

Pippa McGregor, racing with Kira Bester, completed the gold dupla for the McGregor couple by winning the women's race by almost three minutes from the KZN pairing of Saskia Hockly and Michelle Burn, with Jenna Nisbet and Christie MacKenzie a mere 12 seconds further adrift.

The race organisers thought "out of the box", and a number of additional categories, such as lifesaving spec skis, prone boards, SUP's, and even a surf boat, competed, with a number of international competitors making the trip.


The 4 athletes who earned selection to compete in the Olympic Games, in Paris, in August, are currently in Szeged, Hungary, together with our hard working president, Kim.

They will be exposing themselves to some much needed international competition, at the ICF World Cup regatta, which kicks off tomorrow.

Tiffany Koch and Esti Olivier will be competing in the Olympic distance 500m K2. They will then split up and race the K1 500m, before both challenging the exciting 5000m K1.

All eyes will also be on Hamish Lovemore and Andy Birkett, as they pit themselves against the best in the world in the 500m K2. Both of them have a serious turn of speed, but will be seriously challenged by the absolute sprint specialists who can bench press small buildings.

The four Olympic medal hopefuls will be joined by a further three Saffas. Callam Davis will be contesting the lung donating 1000m K1, as well as the K1 500m. Sam Butcher will join Callam in the 500m K1, and will join yet another teammate, Kyle Friedenstein, in the K1 5000m. Kyle will also line up in the 1000m K1.

The event will be live streamed. The ICF have taken a decision to partner with YouTube for the live streaming offering to the sport. Those of us who are stuck at home, will have a choice of paying for the privilege of watching the live stream, at a cost, or of waiting for a couple of hours and getting it on catch up. The driving instructions are attached below. Please don't shoot the messenger if things don't pan out the way we have been told.

World Cup event website: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe-sprint-world-cup/szeged-2024

This is the link to the official ICF You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@PlanetCanoe

You can find out more about subscribing here: https://www.canoeicf.com/news/how-watch-live-coverage-icf-events-2024

Another exciting event being held this weekend, is the Liffey Descent in Dublin, Ireland.

The Liffey is one of the long-standing, internationally-renowned "river" races where South Africans have managed to punch above their weight limit, by virtue of the fact that they have the ability to keep their bums in their boats while shooting a bunch of weirs.

Similar to the Sella Descent, in Spain, the race is, notwithstanding the hectic competition, more renowned for the after party than the event itself.

The only semi competitive Saffa combination that will be in attendance, to my knowledge, will be the Gauteng speedster, Clinton Cook, coupled with my offspring Joshua. Good luck Clint.

I am not sure whether the race will be live streamed, I can only assume so.

At the recent SA sprint championships, a couple of small teams managed to qualify for the Junior/U23 World Championships, as well as the Olympic Hopes Regatta.

Both of these teams require a team manager.

The sprint committee have submitted the attached adverts for both of these positions. If you have a wish to contribute, please read the adverts below carefully and send in a nomination.

The 2024 South African Canoe Polo Championships, held on May 4-5 at Baynesfield Estate, Richmond, was a huge success. There were 90 athletes from 16 teams – 5 senior and 11 junior – representing Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN, all competing for national titles which made for some exciting games.

The Gauteng Men’s team, who ultimately claimed the senior men’s title, had to fight hard to retain their first place from 2023, against a greatly improved Western Cape side. A closely-fought final proved to be an exciting end to a busy weekend of polo, with the teams only separated by a single goal for the majority of the match that ended 5-3 to Gauteng.

In the women's category, Gauteng managed to fight back with a series of excellent goals, from two goals behind KZN to win by two

With the majority of athletes in the junior age groups, this tournament provided some of the best polo we have seen in these younger age categories. Western Cape took the junior male honours ahed aof KZN, who had to fight hard for their silver medal by stopping a late charge from Gauteng, who came from three goals down to finish only one goal behind.

KZN won their first junior women's title in a few years, ousting long time reigning champions Gauteng. The standard of the junior women has improved dramatically over the last year, and they are definitely going to be making more of a name for themselves over the coming months if this weekend’s performance is any indication of the future.

A final mention goes to the ever-improving and impressive Stellenbosch mixed team, with an average age of 14. They unfortunately didn't qualify for any of the category titles but they did win Division 2 of the tournament by beating all other teams they came up against, including the senior women's teams. They show amazing skill for the game and were definitely a big draw for the spectators on the weekend.

Thank you to all the players, parents and supporters that travelled from across the country to play hard, cheer enthusiastically, and enjoy the music and dancing around the bonfire in the evenings. A huge thank you from the entire Canoe Polo community goes out to all those that helped make this a successful weekend, especially the Baynesfield Estate for hosting us at their beautiful venue, and Maritzburg College for excellent accommodation and catering.

Until next time ...


Your SG

Four men are in the hospital waiting room because their wives are having babies. 

A nurse approaches the first guy and says: “Congratulations! You're the father of twins.” 

“That's a coincidence,” answers the man. “I am a professional baseball player for the Minnesota Twins team!”

She then tells the second man, “Congratulations! You're the father of triplets!”

“That's weird,” answers the second man. “I work for the 3M company!” 

The nurse goes up to the third man saying, “Congratulations! You're the father of quadruplets." 

“That's strange,” he answers. “I work for the Four Seasons Hotel!”

The last man looks really worried and the nurse asks what is wrong?

“I work for 7Up!” 

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