04 August 2016
Thank the Pope for uncapped ADSL. I sat, glued to the screen for large portions of last week and over the weekend, watching our paddlers rewrite the history books.
Our junior and U23 sprinters have had a field day, and Andy Birkett has rattled a few cages in Portugal.
Under normal circumstances, at a world championships, a small nation such as ours would be ecstatic with a single competitor managing to get into an “A” final.
At the World Junior and U23 sprint championships held in Minsk, Belarus over the past week, we not only managed an unprecedented 3 “A’ finals, but came away with our first junior sprint medal.
Jean Van Der Westhuizen blitzed his opposition in both his heat and semi final of the junior 1000m K1 event, and then went on to secure a bronze, in what was ostensibly a 3 horse race. He was still neck and neck with the eventual winner, Jacob Schopf (Germany), at the 750m mark, but faded slightly towards the end, to allow Britain, Greg Magnus to sneak through into second.
Both Louis Hattingh and Donna Hutton were rewarded with 7th places in the K1 U23 100m and the K1 500m Junior, respectively. These results would have been a delight on their own. Jean’s medal made them exceptional.
A few bottles of vodka away, in Portugal, Andy Birkett was also flying the SA flag in spectacular fashion. On Saturday he convincingly won the world cup marathon short course by outsprinting the hometown favourite, Jose Ramalho, with last years world K2 champion, Adrian Boros rounding out the medal winners.
The full marathon event, held on Saturday, was marred by the fact that some unsuspecting official had his microphone commandeered by yet another Portuguese hometown favourite, Osacr Chalupsky.
Oscar brings new meaning to the term multitasking. He is the only person I know who can reply to 3 text messages without missing a word of commentary on live streaming. He assured me that the only reason that Andy had won on the Saturday, was that he had caught Ramalho by surprise at the end sprint. My efforts to convince him that it was a bit doff to be caught by surprise (especially just before the finish) were summarily dismissed, with contempt.
Well, either Ramalho is a slow learner, or Oscar is full of hot air (I know where I would put my money), as Andy managed another convincing win in the main event. The podium being a carbon copy of the day before, with a gutsy Boros rounding out the medals yet again.
It would be interesting to ascertain what negative effects the Berg River marathon had on the performance of Boros, considering that it was only a couple of weeks ago.
One thing is for certain. I have picked an ideal year to attend the world marathon champs in Germany next month. It is going to be a privilege to watch Jean, Andy and Hank, as well as a host of other talent, across all of the age groups, making life uncomfortable for the Europeans.
In order for some of the KZN based marathon paddlers to get a degree of marathon racing under their belts before they leave, the MacGregor family (Hank and Pippa) have joined forces with Eurosteel to present a marathon series which will be starting this Friday at Blue Lagoon. We are all hoping that initiatives like this will dispel the oft thought opinion that flatwater marathon paddling is only for the hotties.
Whilst on the subject of major international events, another one kicks off this week in Rio.
Hopefully I will not be the only one glued to my screen on the 17th and 18th when Bridgitte races.
She is in Sao Paulo at the moment, rounding off her Olympic preparation. From the messages I have been receiving, she appears in very good spirits, and is looking forward to the excitement of what might be her last Olympics. Hopefully she does not fall out of her boat, as reports received imply that the water quality makes the Dusi look like a aQuelle factory.
On the surfski front, the geriatski series has come to an end.
The next local ski race is the Toti Downwind on the 13th or 14th, followed by the 2 day Dolphin Coast on the 20th/21st.
OK. Gotta go.
Election results rolling in.
Birkett strikes gold in Portugal while van der Westhuyzen gets bronze in Minsk
On a red letter day for South African paddling, Andy Birkett downed a very strong field to win the Marathon World Cup short course final in Portugal, while in the Russian city of Minsk Jean van der Westhuyzen won a bronze medal in the Junior Sprint World Championships and Under 23 ace Louis Hattingh added an A final to Team South Africa’s haul. Read the full story here.
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 K1 Championships
The Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon plays host to the 2016 SA K1 Championships! Make sure that you get your entry in early for this one! It is one that no one wants to miss!! Entries will open on 1 August so stay tuned here to find out more.
Gauteng Canoe Union
The Euro Steel Liebenbergsvlei Canoe Marathon takes place from 3-4 September! Make sure you head here to enter.
Western Cape Canoe Union
The Osdrift/Alfies – Elandia is coming up over the weekend (5 August) while the Nekkies – Elandia is starting from 5-7 August. All info can be found on the WCCU website.
Eastern Cape Canoe Union
The Border Canoe Club has got their Winter Series will be back on 6 August. If you want more information check out their website 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!
2016 Fenn Cape Point Challenge
Planning is already under way for this iconic annual event, which takes place on 17th December, 2016. Entries open in October. More information here. Time to dust off those paddles and start logging the miles!
2 x K2 Accords for sale:
Mid section Kevlar and including pumps. Good condition. Only done 2016 Dusi. R4500.00
Full Kevlar and including pumps. Good condition. Only done 2015 Dusi. R5500.00
Can be viewed in Umhlanga or at KCC Clubhouse. Boats always stored on garage or clubhouse racks.
K3 for sale: Eric’s Canoes K3 in good condition. Kevlar mid section. Small patches. R6000.00
Can be viewed at Eric’s Canoe Shoppe.
Mobile: +27 82 903 5103
Looking for a second hand Fenn Double Elite (Carbon or glass).
Based in CPT, but could arrange shipping.
e-mail address email@example.com or 084 234 1731
Second hand full carbon Spark Surfski or similar.
For small paddler, or with adjustable pedals.
Contact: Lauren 073 157 1421
(if I’m working you may have to leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you)
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