Those who did the Dusi will remember the desperate feeling that they experienced going across Inanda dam on the second day. Desperately tired and thirsty, each corner promising to be the last.
Well, imagine that same feeling, knowing that you had just completed both the first and second days, without stopping, and that you still had the third day to complete. Added to that is the knowledge that there would be precious little water coming out of Inanda, and that you would most probably have to run/walk/crawl over Burma. Just to cap things off, there is not a cloud in the sky, it is oppressively hot, and the river has been well below the level of the 3 day race.
Why anyone in their right mind would want to take a full day off work to torture themselves in such a fashion, is quite beyond me.
Seems like there are quite a number of people who did just that.
Last Friday morning, at 05h00, 40 or so boats set off from Camps Drift, aiming to paddle from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in just one day.
Eight hours and forty six minutes later, Sbonelo Khwela paddled nonchalantly into Blue Lagoon, looking like he had been on a Sunday School picnic. That is some ridiculously fast time, considering the conditions. I can remember taking longer than that in my old man’s Valiant.
Sbonelo raced a tactically mature race, biding his time and making a move when his competitors had started to flag somewhat.
Second place was occupied by last year’s winner Thulani Mbangwa, in a K2 with Sboniso Shozi, nine minutes adrift.
First ladies were Kelly Howe and Susan Carter Brown, in a time of 11h09, which is round about the same time I took to do the 3 day version.
Thank the Pope that the races where one needs to wear running shoes are over.
The next big one is the UMKO. Only 10 more sleeps.
The organisers have informed me that entries have been pouring in for the 50th anniversary race.
Hopefully, we will be blessed with a few downpours before the start.
If you are a first timer, or just want to get rid of some pre race jitters, get down to the Traderplus Hella Hella to Josephines race this weekend, or join us for a trip from Hella Hella to no. 8, next Friday. (I can show you how to fall out in the approaches).
It would appear that the world has moved to Shongweni. The locals must be in a flat spin with the amount of traffic that is, and will be, trundling down that hill over the next few weeks.
Last weekend saw the first sprint race on the new course that has just been laid, when KNCU hosted its union championships. A seriously impressive entry, coupled with equally impressive comments about the new course.
This weekend, the dam will host the South African Sprint Championships. Not only will our sprinters be racing for national titles and medals, they will also be racing for places in national teams for all international events this year. The CSA sprint committee have decided that this weekend will be a “one off” trial.
It is also the only event where Bridgitte Hartley can be challenged for the spot that she qualified for the Rio Olympics.
After a short weeks break, the masses will once again descend on the dam for the hosting of the 2016 SA Schools Sprint Championships from the 22nd to the 24th.
The very next week, paddlers and administrators from over 20 countries will arrive for the Africa Sprint Championships.
The following week, the chairperson of Umzinyathi will probably be booked into some sort of asylum. Please start saving for flowers.
I keep harping on about serious paddlers needing to add the Umko to their bucket list.
Another race that needs serious consideration, before you can call yourself a proper paddler, is the 4 day PE to East London.
It is probably the only race I have done where I was grateful to have just finished, never mind where I came.
The organisers are already in full swing, preparing to present another fantastic race.
If you are considering it, start training now. There is no place to hide out there.
A quick note from the organizing committee;
PE2EL Challenge 2016
The committee, in consultation with previous participants have agreed on final dates for the challenge to take place.
The race will begin in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday 7 December 2016, and finish in East London on Saturday 10 December 2016. Sunday 11 December is set aside as a “spare” date, but only in circumstances where a delay in the race in unavoidable, due to extreme weather or in circumstances beyond the control of the organisers. Travelling arrangements and accommodation should be arranged with this in mind.
Entries will open in May. Enquiries: Angus Warren (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Until Next week
Green light for Shongweni sprint course ahead of SA Champs
As the country’s best flatwater sprint canoeists converge on the newly established sprint course at Shongweni Dam, the course passed its first serious test with flying colours at the KZN Sprint Championships on the weekend. Read the full story here.
South African Sprint Championships
The national sprint canoe championships will be taking place at Shongweni Dam from 11-13 March. These championships will be vital for paddlers wishing to take part in the international sprint season as they will be the only means to qualify. Go and have a look at the sprint page on the CSA website here for more information.
African Sprint Championships
The African Sprint Championships take place at Shongweni Dam from 1-3 April and make sure that you up to speed in terms of selection criteria. Have a look at the selection document here if you are unsure.
SA Schools Sprint Championships
Shongweni Dam is the place to be this sprint season! They will play host to the SA Schools Sprint Champs from 22-24 March. All the information that you will need for the event can be found here.
KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Union
The final race of the 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series takes place this weekend with the Varsity College Surfski Challenge! All info can be found on their website here. Sunday is the Hella-Hella to Josephines Bridge race! Make sure you have got in touch with your club for all the details.
Gauteng Canoe Union
Gauteng Canoe Polo trials are coming up this weekend at ERK. Registration will begin at 1pm!
Western Cape Canoe Union
The Nekkies-Alfies race is coming up this weekend on 12 March. The race will start at 10:00am with registration happening from 8:30-9:30. The race is 16km and PFDs are compulsory.
Little Fish Canoe Marathon
12 March 2016 – K2 event – 27km – Prizes worth R12000. More info please contact email@example.com
Umkomaas Canoe Marathon
The Umko comes up soon on the 19-20 March! If you are keen to take part in the 50th edition of the race then head to their website here to find out more.
The Orange Descent
We are glad introduce the new Orange Descent an exiting new race on the Orange River from Upington to Kakamas. This two-day stage race stretching over 73km covers one of the most beautiful stretch of water our country has to offer. For more information on the race go and look here.
Proton- built by Popes
Looking for R4000 – boat is in good condition
Call John Conradie – 082 859 0940
2014 Velox Fusion
good condition for sale R4000.00 , Durban
contact Nigel 0839888460
Fenn Elite double surf ski
Based in Durban, but prepared to collect from anywhere
Contact Greg at 082 9417401
Looking for a Mirage.
Still in good enough condition for a seasons races leading up to dusi.
Please contact Kyle on 0827256727.
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