22 April 2021
Both of the major paddling events held over the past long weekend were also major successes.
Superb conditions for both and a celebration of being able to participate during these unique times.
The 3 days of sprinting at the SA Schools and SA Sprint Championships were surprisingly well attended by paddlers from around the country, with most age groups having to hold heats and semi-finals before the finals could take place. There was some exceptionally close and exciting racing, by many paddlers who do not normally concentrate on this discipline.
Many who had illusions about their speed in a boat discovered that there was no place to hide in a sprint lane and nothing to cling onto when the pain set in.
As usual, the heroes of the event were the organisers. Having that many separate races in one day has the potential to create the perfect logistical and organisational nightmare.
The event also doubled as the selection event for the junior and U23 world championships, as well as the Olympic Hopes regatta. The teams will be announced shortly.
The scribe from down south put together this small pearl regarding the Freedom Paddle which happened on Tuesday:
“The 2021 Freedom Paddle was held in near perfect conditions: almost no wind, almost flat but some bumps on the way home for the paddlers who’d saved some energy to catch them. Well over 300 entrants in double and single skis, SUPs, ocean rowing sculls and prone boards took part on three courses: 8km, 15km and the full 28km around Robben Island.
Hank McGregor and Josh Fenn turned in a matchless performance to take the 28km race by 3 1/2 minutes in the record-breaking time of 1:54:45.1. The brothers Mocke were second, with fellow Capetonians Uli Hart and Kenny Rice rounding out the podium.
In the women’s race, local lasses Candice Murray and Kira Bester took the win in 1:12:25.8, 3 minutes and some change in front of Bridgitte Hartley and Chloe Bunnett with Jenna Ward and Saskia Hockly coming in third.
The event was enlivened by the arrival of a massive container ship just after the doubles’ start that gave the race leaders a friendly hoot and which required them to make a slight course alteration to port in order to go round its stern… Wildlife sightings included a claimed “big shark, I swear it was a Great White” and some Spinner Dolphins that gave an aerial display in front of some exhausted campaigners on the way home (that would be me).
Aside from some quickly corrected timing issues, the race organisation was impeccable from what I could see – covid screening was done remotely, the lucky draw prize “pre-giving” was done on Facebook and there was very little delay or hassle either at registration or on race-day itself. Here’s hoping that we’ll have an actual after-party at the venue in a covid-free environment next year.
All in all, this race has found its way into the canon of “must do” events in the Western Cape – there’s definitely something special about going around that island, with its associations in the history of our country.
Full results are available here: https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=239320
Focus now shifts fairly and squarely onto marathon racing. Many of the unions will be hosting their provincial championships over the next fortnight, with the national championships taking place in Cape Town on the 21 – 23 May.
The Peninsula Canoe Club is no stranger to hosting this event. They have done so on multiple occasions in the past. If the organisers can get the wind and weather to cooperate, we are surely going to be in for a fantastic few days of racing. Poster attached.
In years gone by the marathon championships was always a mass participation event. All and sundry entered, as they would any other race. Over the past decade or so, the “run of the mill” paddler has, for some strange reason, opted out of participating, which is immensely sad. Marathon racing does so much to improve your performance in any other race.
This year, you also have the added excuse of being able to visit the village under the “maarntin” and to drink wine and be seen in culturally elevated locations.
Whilst on the subject of the same village.
Nic Notten, who is a legend from Cape Town, is doing a kayak specific training monitoring study as a part of his MSc at UCT.
He is looking for some Guinea Pigs.
The basic idea is that he will follow the training of various paddlers for an 8-week period leading up to a race. He wants to include everyone who paddles, from the very best racing snakes, to the turbo ballies and even the casual every-other day paddler. The monitoring of training will be done by using a combination of a short session questionnaire (an electronic form with a couple questions following each session) in combination with the athletes GPS sport watch (He will provide detailed instructions, in video and written form for the participants).
I have attached a poster for you.
I am definitely in. A current hottie monitoring a semi turbo ballie with a slight piston slap, what could get better?
The lads on the Northern side of the Vaal river, not quite at the boerewors curtain, have also weighed in with some news regarding events that they will be hosting soon. Whilst their scribe is shaking off some writers block, they have slipped us a couple of posters just to whet our appetites.
OK, so back to the lecture hall.
I have been asked by a number of coaches and safety officers to dig up the old bone of the contentious issue of PFD’s.
I really thought that we had put this one to bed. We have strummed this banjo until the dogs have howled.
Some people just don’t read, or they take an obnoxious pill just before they leave for a race.
I have the option of copying all that has been written on this subject over the years, or to give you a precis.
I will give you the very short version of a protracted saga.
– SAMSA is the organisation that governs activity on water in the country. They have some very onerous regulations that would make paddling a virtual impossibility in racing conditions.
– CSA has arranged a dispensation with SAMSA which was given on the assurance that we would comply with a range of requirements.
– One of the requirements was that we would provide them with a “measurable” standard against which they could measure our personal floatation devices (PFD’s).
– We selected the absolute minimum standard that we could have. They surprisingly agreed.
– They gave us a 5 year moratorium to change.
– The moratorium ended over a year ago.
– We are now obliged to enforce the new specifications at all CSA sanctioned events.
– The CSA board did not wake up one morning and decide to annoy its members. This requirement is not of our making. It is a minimum requirement that is mirrored by almost all of the paddling nations around the world.
– Suck it up.
– Don’t make the race officials lives a nightmare. They are the kings of our sport.
Now for the joke.
Little Larry attended a horse auction with his father. He watched as his father moved from horse to horse, running his hands up and down the horse’s legs and rump, and chest. After a few minutes, Larry asked, ‘Dad, why are you doing that?’
His father replied, ‘Because when I’m buying horses, I have to make sure that they are healthy and in good shape before I buy.’
Larry, looking worried, said, ‘Dad, I think the milkman wants to buy Mom …..’