The WCCU K1 (single canoe) long-distance river championships, held on the 33km section of the Berg River betwen the Hermon and Gouda bridges for the 41st time on Saturday 28th June, 2014 and was won by Peninsula Canoe Club’s Jasper Mocke, the race culminating in a sprint to the line between the defending Berg River Champion, Lance King (Milnerton) and Mocke’s clubmate, WP paddling Veteran and paddling icon, Graeme Solomon. Alex Adie (Pen) easily won the Senior Women’s section of the event, leading from start to finish over a section of river that all those canoeists who have been racing recently know well from the Swartland Canoe Marathon, which covered this section of the Berg River.
Starting in icy-cold conditions and with a low mist, but fortunately, no wind, a leading bunch of seven paddlers got away in the ‘A’ batch and consisted of the already mentioned Mocke, King and Solomon as well as Luke Stowman (Paarl), Louw van Riet (Stellenosch), Ernest van Riet (Stellenbosch) and Ivan Kruger (Cty). With the river running at almost 40 cumecs, it meant that side-slip riding was not as easy as on flat water because of the notorius Berg River ‘swirlies’ although the higher level meant that the tree-blocks that had to be dealt with on the Swartland Canoe Marathon were mostly inundated making for ‘follow-my-leader’ paddling and in doing so, within 5kms of the start, Mocke, King and Solomon dominated to the extent that they formed a ‘breakaway’ leading group with Stowman off the bunch, but within sight of the leaders.
It continued this way down to Zonquasdrift low-level bridge where it was necessary to portage, King leading Mocke and Solomon although this is where Stowman was able to make up ground as the leaders jumped out of their K1’s and legged it over the portage area, the level of water at the bridge being too high to allow paddlers to go underneath it.
This bunch of 4 stayed this way until the 26km mark, when, in the infamous ‘forest’ area of this section of the Berg River, the very narrow section following an extremely sharp right-angled turn at the pump ‘hokkie’ high on river left, saw Stowman drop off. From this point until the end and because of the full river, it was Mocke, King and Solomon, taking turns in pulling, bringing it down to the wire for a final flat-out sprint for the line at the Gouda bridge, Mocke crossing the line in 2:08:51, King in 2:08:53 and Solomon in 2:08:54.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Alex Adie comprehensively won the senior women’s section, when, starting at the front of ‘B’ batch, she powered off not be be headed all the way to the finish line to end in an excellent 19th position overall and 1st woman home. However, Bianca ‘Bubble’ Beavitt (Mil) made a welcome return to river racing and showed her class to finish in 2:32:15 whilst Robyn Henderson (Mil) was third in 2:36:37.
In the U23 division, Paarl’s Luke Stowman (see attached photo number 4 of Luke portaging at Zonquasdrift – photo credit – John Hishin), stamped his authority on this category and even if Ivan Kruger (Cty) had managed to finish the event and Kenny Rice (Pen) had been at the event (he is in Mauritius for the surf ski series there), it is doubtful they would have matched the Paarl youngster as he showed what growing up on the Berg has done for his paddling, winning in style in 2:10:40. Peninsula’s Dom Notten was 2nd in 2:16:19, holding off a charging Ant Lake (UCT), who was third in 2:45:26.
The Junior division (U18’s and U16’s), saw a new face on the river in Peninsula’s Mark Keeling – who has shown his mettle as a canoe marathon and surf ski paddler – who dominated this category to end in 24th postion overall and in 2:32:06 – an excellent ‘1st time out’. Paarl’s Marco Marsch was 2nd in 2:40:07 whilst Theo Moses (Prl) was 3rd in 2:24:26.
1) Jasper Mocke, Pen, 2:P08:51
2) Lance King, Mil, 2:08:53
3) Graeme Solomon, Pen, 2:08:54
4) Luke Stowman, Prl, 2:10:40
5) Louw van Riet, US, 2:10:51
6) Ernest van Riet, US, 2:15:28
7) Heinrich Schloms, Prl, 2:15:29
8) Dominic Notten, Pen 2:16:19
9) Anthony Lake, UCT, 2:16:21
10) Greg van Heerden, Mil, 2:16:26
1) Alex Adie, Pen, 2:28:55
2) Bianca Beavitt, Mil, 3:32:15
3) Robyn Henderson, Mil, 2:26:37
1) Mark Keeling, Pen, 2:32:06
2) Marco Marsh, Prl, 2:40:07
3) Theo Moses, Prl, 2:45:26
1) Luke Stowman, Prl, 2:10:40
2) Dominc Notten, Pen, 2:16:19
3) Antony Lake, UCT, 2:16:21
1) Ernest van Riet, US, 2:15:28
2) Rene olivier, Mil, 2:30:41
3) Henk van Niekerk, Prl, 2:41:03
1) Graeme Solomon, Pen, 2:08:54
2) Greg van Heerden, Mil, 2:16:26
3) Crispin Thompson, Cty, 2:21:38
1) Richard Allen, Mil, 2:22:22
2) Nick van Zyl, Mil, 2:32:06
3) Robyn Henderson, Mil, 2:36:37
1) Eugene van der Westhuizen, Mil, 2:16:34
2) Chris de Waal, Mil, 2:21:36
3) Ommond Sivertsen, Pen, 2:35:00
1) Shaun Butler, Pen, 2:28:37
2. Ian Glass, Pen, 2:35:16
3) Robin van Rooyen, Mil, 2:41:32
1) Rob MacLean, Pen, 2:30:42
2) Enslin van Riet, Mil, 2:37:46
3) Adie de Kock, US, 2:37:48
1) Giel van Deventer, Prl, 2:34:16
2) Gerfried Nebe, Pen, 2:37:04
3) Andre Hawarden, Mil, 2:42:06
Legends (Super Great Grandmasters)
1) Edgar Boehm snr, Pen, 3:05:14