The Trailblazer Adventure Slalom was held on a Winter low Duzi with the volume still sufficient to provide some exciting paddling. The juniors paddled a seven gate course above the weir and showed the value of experience, with six of the seven paddlers improving on their first run times on the second run.
The event consisted of two runs with the better run counting for the final result. Winner of the junior event was Cade White of Epworth Primary. Although he was the only junior boy present, both runs indicated his talent and training. He was followed home by the top two girls who were only 0.25 seconds apart. Stephanie Wenke of St Anne’s got the better of Amy Peckett to win the girls’ section.
The long course used the same top gates as the juniors had used, but included the rough water of the weir and consisted of 16 gates. Don’s winning score of 108.95 is more in line with the time taken on full international courses and gave Don and Camilla some practice for the course they will tackle at the junior World Championships next month.
Camilla finished second to Don and showed the men how slalom should be done. It was a great upturn for Slalom to have Rich Domleo of TrailblazerAdventures as the main sponsor. He and his white water paddling friends added fun to the event, showing that slalom is not straight forward for big water paddlers. We are hoping that more white water boaters will be attracted to the sport. Rich and his friends took juniors down the course in rafts after the slalom event.
It was also good to see Ant Wewege and Richard Starr racing. Officials also have the skills to take on a slalom course!
A big thank you also goes to our sponsors. Trailblazers donated 4 half day rafting trips on the Umkomaas. Glassfibre PS donated vouchers for boat and paddle repairs and patching kits, and St Anne’s school donated prizes for minor placings.
It was unfortunate that no development paddlers were able to attend. Travelling unfortunately costs money and every effort will be made to get them there in the future. Their talent and pleasant joviality were sorely missed.
We plan to hold many more such events in the hopes that the number of slalom paddlers will grow. Shake a tree in KZN and a couple of talented river paddlers fall out of the branches. Surely this is the place where slalom paddlers should emerge.