Canoeing South Africa confirmed recently that the Orange Descent Canoe Marathon would host the 2020 K1 and K2 River Marathon Championships from 6-7 November.
Widely regarded as an untouched gem in the South African racing calendar, the Orange Descent has been given all the security clearances to host both national championship events simultaneously, triggering an enthusiastic response from paddlers of all abilities.
Canoeing South Africa has confirmed that participants will have to choose whether they want to enter the K1 or K2 races for both stages of the race, but stressed that the event will not double as any form of selection event.
Race organiser Waldo van der Linde knows that this year’s edition of the race will be a watershed and hopes that it will encourage more people to come back in the future.
“There has never been a more exciting time for the Orange Descent since we first planned it way back in 2011,” Van der Linde said. “Now with the SA K1 and K2 title’s awarded to this race it will attract a whole new crowd and once they have experience this great river they will be back, just like our treasured old faithful’s that comes back year after year.”
The Northern Cape-based event is encouraging as many paddlers from around the country to make the trip. Despite the change in dates of the event Van der Linde is confident the conditions will be ideal for paddling.
“We have great weather in November and looking back at the last two years water levels in November we should have anything from 50 – 70 cumecs in the river.
“That is a perfect level to race on and at this stage I think everyone is hungry for some racing no matter what fitness level they are at!”
It can be a daunting thought to drive to the Northern Cape, however Van der Linde offers a few tips for people that should help in easing the burden of the travel.
“I know it is a long drive but at least it is more or less the same for everyone.
“My suggestion would be to try and travel together in one vehicle and share the cost.
“Use a club trailer if possible because to travel with your K1 and K2 might be difficult, but this year’s Orange Descent will be a unique event with unique experiences!”
From a COVID-19 regulations perspective, the team at the Orange Descent are following very strict protocols to make sure all paddlers are safe.
“Unfortunately with the COVID-19 restrictions there will be quite a few things different to this year’s race, but if this mean we can return back to racing, so be it.
“The starts will be in batches with no more than 50 people at any time at any place.
“Unfortunately no spectators will be allowed at the race but I think once everyone is on the water and paddling it will be back to race mode for everyone.”