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Photos:  by JENNIE

More Photos courtesy of Natali Coetzee – Watuni Basf Novice Klip River race

Despite dire predictions of extremely bad weather Saturday 18 April dawned mildly although overcast with an unpleasantly chilling wind, which died down before the race start as paddlers milled about preparing for the river in high spirits, and the sun came out to cheer them on!

Novices were in abundance, not only in K1’s and K2’s, but also in half novice partnerships with experienced paddlers and a number of experienced but less fit paddlers also took advantage of the shorter stretch of race to get back onto the river after a lull in river races.

The 13km race was won by Richard Cele half novice partnership with Mark Handley in 56 minutes, followed by Morgan and Warren Ziervogel, who had no novice points to bring to the party, but were first mixed double as well as daughter father team and we’re not sure who was looking after who! In third place also from JCC, Glen Sinclair and Dave Ivy rebounded from a long break in river paddling finished the race 1 minute after the mixed double pair in 1:01 as the first Master age group winners.

The top finishing K1 racers took up the next few positions with Joseph Penn (Dabs) in 4th, Katiso Hlahatsi (VIC, U23) in 5th, young Under 16 Liam Stewart (ERK ) in 6th and the oldest paddler on the river in 7th – Vince Buttrick- winning the Great Grand master age category! The times recorded for the K1 quartet were 1:01, 1:02:24, 1:02:31 and 1:02:36.

The top leading novices, first time river racers were development youths, led by the Sowetan team parade being Sibusiso Chawyi with Lona Magadla, Buti Lamola and Kanyisa Mancoba, (U16) from VLC, followed by Sowetans -Livhuwani Munyai and Khaliphile Nquku, (both Under 18 teams) while a number of novices with experienced partners also received prizes, including a mixed doubles novice team.  Their times across the finish line were also very close -1:08:13, 1:09:21, 1:09:28 .

While Mariette Zandbergh finished as the first lady, in 18th position overall (Watuni),  in 1:08,  the top finishing novice ladies team were Under 18’s Asanda Ndlovu and Sneziwe Gxobole (SOW) finishing in a time of 1:15.

The first ever para-canoeist in an official sanctioned Gauteng Canoe Union race also finished his first race successfully, Constant Olivier with his steeing partner Melusi Nxumalo from FLCC, finished in 1:14,  34th over all, despite a swim at Broken Weir,  while his physically abled partner and a club colleague assisted in the portage over Henley Weir.

Despite high numbers of swimmers on the Broken Weir rapid, during the past weekends learning trips, marshalls on duty were able to confirm that less than 10 boats swam this week – proof that the novices are already improving their skills with practice!

Novices also received hand out kit bags sponsored by BASF which brought smiles of delight to their faces, and delicious food on sale at the finish also added to the festive atmosphere.

A great start to the new season – keep it up Gauties!

Well done and thanks to Watuni and sponsors.

Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

082 857 857 1