20 July 2016
My backside feels like an airplane seat. 13 flights in 18 days.
Yesterday I got into the back seat of the car and put the tray table down. My wife served me a cup of cold coffee and a stale croissant, just to make me feel at home.
I got back from Mauritius and left two days later for an ICF Ocean Racing meeting in Portugal (conveniently timed so that I could participate in the Nelo Summer Challenge).
Home last Wednesday, just in time to fly to JHB on Friday for the memorial service of my good mate, and paddling stalwart, Dave Ferguson who lost his short but intense battle with cancer.
Back in sleepy Scottburgh, and am not budging until Marathon Champs in September.
Much has happened since my last brief offering.
I will attempt to make up for my literary shortcomings, so, make a big cup of coffee.
Firstly, Oscar managed to beat the girls in Mauritius (which is more than I did). He actually managed to beat most of the men as well.
The conditions during the week in Mauritius were challenging for the uninitiated, but superb for the downwind experts.
The main race, The Investec Challenge, almost never happened, due to the refusal the night before, of the safety boat skippers to go out to sea. The swell was hectic, and the pass through the reef almost unmanageable. Fortunately, the next day the swell had dropped by a centimeter or two and most of the safety boats managed to launch.
Hank proved, yet again, why he is considered the best all round paddler in the world, when he won a hard fought battle with Cory Hill (nicest Australian in the world). Dawid Mocke, who was in the mix at the front end of the field, got smoked by a rogue wave far out to sea as he paddled past the Le Morne pass. He was forced to endure the double indignity of being rescued, firstly by a kite surfer, and then by an Australian.
The Mauritius week is one of the best weeks of surfski paddling ever. For those who have recently received an inheritance or have won the lotto, it is a must. (Actually not that expensive if one considers the overall package).
Portugal was an eye opener in more ways than one.
Firstly, we were treated to a tour of the Nelo factory. Wow!! It is like Kayak Centre on steroids. The size of a few rugby fields. Eighteen boats a day. Oscar took me to the site of the new factory which they will be moving into within the next few months. It is almost the size of Paarl.
Secondly, the standard of surfski paddling in Europe has gone through the roof (I got beaten by the girls again). The very top of the field is still populated with Aussies and Saffa’s but he depth of good paddlers is extremely impressive.
Thirdly, the venue did not fail to produce great downwind conditions on almost every day we were there. The joys of a sheltered start and superb, smaller, wind driven swells that took the lycra biting factor out of open ocean paddling.
Fourthly, the fact that fat Oscar is almost the mayor of the town without being able to speak the lingo (besides a repertoire of swear words and being able to order coffee and beer – he still orders his wife around in English). His superb 6th place in the ski race was offset by being beaten on his home course, by yours truly, with borrowed clubs.
Cory Hill managed to make amends for his 2nd place of the week before by edging out Dawid Mocke to take the win.
Dawid Mocke, in turn, managed to make amends for both his Mauritius and Portugal results by winning the Canadian Champs this past weekend.
Whilst the ski paddlers continued strutting their stuff on the international circuit, Hank shot home and headed straight down to the first outpost for the Berg River Marathon.
Conditions for the race were significantly better than they were last year.
The race was characterized by an encouraging number of competitive international paddlers who managed to adapt to the local conditions and produce some superb results.
Fresh from his victory in Mauritius, Hank managed to fight off all challengers and win his 11th Berg River title.
Bubbles Beavitt managed to make short work of the KZN challenge, to claim her second win in as many years in the ladies section.
Whilst on the subject of international paddlers, the ICF announced last week that they had suspended the teams from Romania and Belarus in their entirety, with immediate effect, from all international competition, following additional evidence of systemic doping. The majority of the cases relate to the use of Meldonium.
The ICF has also confirmed that four Kazakhstan athletes were banned for two years each after submitting positive tests for Methasterone, an oral anabolic steroid.
The banned substance was subsequently proven to have been consumed as part of a nutritional supplement, underlining the need for all athletes to be especially vigilant when consuming supplements. Craig Mustard forwarded me a graph of the number of positive tests, by sport, in Russia. It is disturbing to note that Canoeing appears 4th on the list, even worse than cycling.
Back to what is coming up.
The SA K4 Championships is being held at Shongweni on Saturday morning. It is probably a bit late for those who have not yet entered to throw a team together. The dwindling number of participants in the K4 champs is a reflection on the state of specialization in our sport. This is unfortunate, as the K4 marathon champs always used to be a highlight on the calendar, with the cream of SA’s paddlers going head to head each year.
The 3rd race of the Nedbank Point Watersports surf ski series will be held on Sunday.
In the distant future, the Breede and the Peter Marlin Ski race await.
Bridgitte Hartley left during the week to start her pre Olympic final preparation at a training camp in Sao Paulo. She will fly to Rio closer to the event.
Other great Olympic news is that Graham Paull was confirmed as a team member to the Para Olympics, at an event hosted by SASCOC on Tuesday.
The canoeing calendar has been thrown into turmoil due to the sustained drought conditions that are plaguing the country at the moment. The Tugela “season openers” that have become so popular over the past few years, have had to be cancelled. The Lowveld Croc has also been cancelled. The 50-Miler will probably become a one day race this year, and most of the races that rely on a water release from dams, may be compromised.
This is not all doom and gloom, as it will give paddlers a chance to concentrate on flatwater marathon paddling before next year’s World Marathon Championships, which will be held on home turf in PMB.
A few weeks ago, I announced that Discovery Vitality had, at last, agreed to add our races to the list of sports that members could claim points for. Turns out that the process to enable this is far more complex than we had anticipated. In the interim, I have discovered a far easier way to get Vitality points (not only for races, but for all training sessions). Just use your training device (Garmin or Polar). Link it to Discovery and you earn points without having to submit anything. It automatically downloads all of your sessions. Back to gold in an instant.
That’s all for now trend setters and tax dodgers.
Until next week
RIP Ferg. You were a man amongst men.
Defending champs reign supreme at 2016 Berg
Hank McGregor entrenched his status as the undisputed champion of the Berg River Canoe Marathon by wrapping up a tactically brilliant overall victory while Bianca Beavitt defended her women’s title in a gusty display of determination when the race ended in Velddrif on the West Coast on Saturday. Read the full story here.
Lowveld Croc Cancelled
We as a club have made the decision to cancel the Lowveld croc this year due to low river levels. We will arrange something as soon as there is some water to paddle on. From Lowveld Croc Race Organiser Rudi Halbich
Tugela 20’s Cancelled
The upcoming Tugela 20’s has had to be cancelled due to low water levels. The race was scheduled to take place on the weekend of 6-7 August. If you need to find out more than get in touch with the organiser Gary Green (082 292 2314).
South African Surfski Championships
It is still a number of months away but the organisers want to keep reminding people that the Pete Marlin Surfski Race will be the South African Surfski Championships for 2016. The race will happen over the weekend of 5-6 November. Take a look at their Facebook page here for more information.
South African K3 Championships
The Breede Canoe Marathon coming up from 3-4 September will also be the 2016 SA K3 Championships. For more information about the race and how you can enter head to their website here.
Gauteng Canoe Union
Centurion Canoe Club 9 Miler is the next focus next weekend (30 July). The race takes place at the Rietvlei Dam starting at 09:00. Have a look here as to how to enter the race.
KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Union
Beside for the S A K4 Champs at Shongweni this weekend it is also Race Three of the Nedbank Point Water Sports Series at the Durban Underwater Club on Sunday. The action gets underway at 9am and for more information get in touch with Jaqui Boyd 082-6715302.
Western Cape Canoe Union
The Oliphants River Race is a two day river race in the Western Cape. Day 1 start below Citrusdal and day 2 start above Citrusdal. The race is coming up over the weekend of 30-31 July! If you needm any more information get in touch on their Facebook page here!
Eastern Cape Canoe Union
The Border Canoe Club has got their Winter Series starting this weekend (Saturday 23 July). If you want more information check out their website here. The Pam Golding Canals Winter Challenge is coming up this weekend. There will be a 20km/10km race starting at Quayside on Sunday, 24 July at 10am! For more info have a look here.
The Sella Descent
One of the worlds must famous canoe marathons is coming up soon and if you feel like you want to take on all of those fiery Spaniards then feel free to have a look at their website here for more information.
PE2EL Surfski Challenge
Enter “The Challenge” at the special Early Bird Rate: Fees paid, and entry submitted by 15 June 2016: R2500! See our website www.bordercanoeclub.co.za for more info. We have officially “launched”, and are open for entries. We offer an experience of a lifetime, along the most impressive coastline in the world. This is an adventure not to be missed. Not for the fainthearted! Check the poster and get your entry form here!
2 x Custom Kayaks Horizons
One newer (only owner) & one slightly older (previously owned), both in great condition & recently serviced.
R4500 & R3500 respectively.
Kyle (Durban) – 082 787 8820
Xterminator K2 for sale.
In great condition only done one river race (dusi).
Includes whale pumps and drag line.
Contact: Tim Lee 0832843511 firstname.lastname@example.org
Fenn Swordfish S full carbon or Carbon hybrid
Fenn XT Double Carbon
Carbonology Zest Double Carbon
Call Clive on 079 312 1683 or email@example.com
Second hand Fenn Double Elite (Carbon or glass).
Based in CPT, but could arrange shipping.
Contact Gustav via this e-mail address or 084 234 1731
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