Florida Lake Canoe Club’s first Klip race of the new season for 2014 on Sunday 18 May was won by home club paddler Shaun Maphanga and was a great deal of fun with much enjoyment and much learning, with lots of new faces on the river as novices plunge into the canoe race season!
There were plenty of FLCC marshalls scattered all over the river but the novices coped exceedingly well with few swims at likely places and a couple at unexpected less likely spots as they were taken by surprise with the cross currents and eddies!
With more than 60 boats on the water, 17 K2 and 43 K1’s the years river racing kicked off well although the weather did not co-operate as a cold front with chilly wind and overcast cloudy skies was not as much fun as usual sunny Gauteng days!
Make sure you dress warmly for river races – rather OVERDRESS than underdress – after all, you CAN always cool down!!
The river has been teaming with wildlife with otters curious about the tree clearing the day before the race and Giant herons, giant kingfishers checking out the action, and monkeys streaming up from the rivers edge to the Dick Fourie stadium to scrounge for leftovers – and that’s not counting the ones in the boats!
Shaun Maphanga (FLCC) won the race in 1:22 as the first SubVet as the only FLCC non marshall claiming that since he worked at the tree clearing the day before he had earned the right to race – which claim didn’t apply to the others on the tree clearing trip but there you go!!
We really do need to thank all those who spend hours and hours week after week with chainsaws, handsaws, waist deep in murky trapped polluted water shoving logs around and keeping the river clear for the Gautengers to enjoy – it is after all the ONLY reliable water source with reasonable rapids close to town as Jukskei/Crocodile and Parys are rain or water release dependent while Klip DOES have sufficient flow throughout the year although low already as winter approaches and farmers pump the water out for irrigation.
The 2nd finisher in 1:24.25 was young Under 16 Alex Masina (JCC) who is proving to be quite an amazing young paddler – like the young buck in the herd who challenge the established leadership, Alex is chasing the front bunches and taking them down in many cases its scary to think what he will be able to achieve in a couple of years time!!
Ryan Simonato (JCC) in 3rd place 3 seconds later while Kobus Filmalter (WAT) was less than a minute later in 4th, and Richard Cele (VIC) 5 seconds later in 5th still within the 1:24 plus time!
The first Double with Watuni’s young Henco and Rikus Scheepers finished in 1:27 while Danie Botes was the first Under 23 (TUK) in 1:28 as the 10th K1.
The older generation are still very competitive with Gunther Grune 1st SM (FLCC) in 1:27, K1 7, Gavin Steyl (JCC) 1st Master 1:28, Gerhard Steyn (LOW) 1st SGM in 1:28!!
Spoon Mkhuzangwe (VIC) who now towers above everyone else finished as the first Under 18 in 1:32 (12th K1) and the oldest paddler on the water Vincent Buttrick (ERK) was 14th K1, first Great Grand Master age category in 1:34!
Anya Botes was the first lady and only Under 16 as the 15th K1 in 1:35 (CEN) while Centurions Raymond Rorich and his wife Linda finished seconds later as the first Mixed Double. Rod Carpenter (ERK) was the winning Grand master while Jason Brown (DABS) was the first Veteran finisher, K1 25th in 1:44 a minute later.
Meg Hedderwick and Lindsay Hopkins were a pleasant surprise (DABS) always a joy to see young ladies on the river and these new faces were exceptionally comfortable in the rapids and did very well finishing as 2nd and 3rd lady in 1:44 and 1:48 respectively.
And so ends another wonderful weekend of river therapy saving a fortune on counseling sessions as spirits are uplifted, souls find their song and adrenalin charges the seratonin for emotional highs!
The race ended with a number of lucky draw giveaway prizes and cash to almost every category winner and a great atmosphere!