Whitewater kayakers Tammy Muir and Philip Claassens have been chosen to represent South Africa as part of the first African Freestyle Development Project training workshop. Both are familiar faces on the local scene and members of Likkewaan Canoe Club in Parys.


The workshop takes place prior to the first ever African Freestyle Championships on the White Nile, Uganda where the  two local paddlers will be competing.


The International Canoe Federation (ICF) Freestyle World Championships, showcased the Ugandan Freestyle team in 2015. Their journey inspired many and garnered followers comparable to that of the Jamaican bob sled team of “Cool Runnings” fame. After the excitement of their participation, paddlers from Kayak the Nile were determined not to let the story end there.  In close conjunction with the International Canoe Federation (ICF) the dedicated team of paddlers dreamed up the African Freestyle Development Project. 


The project aims to continue the development and progression of kayaking as a sport in Africa in the run up to the next world championships in Brazil.


The White Nile will host the first ever African Freestyle Championships on 2 April 2016. Paddlers from across the continent will be coming together to vie for top spot and to be a part of something historic. A total of 10 paddlers from 5 African countries have been picked on merit to attend a 2 week workshop and the competition. The onus is then on these paddlers to promote the sport in their own country (so take note of their names!).


The course takes place on the same White Nile freestyle features that top competitors train on pre-worlds and is hosted by trainer of champions and world #6 Sam Ward  and world #1 Dane Jackson. This opportunity is one that many of those invited would not have dreamed possible without the facilitation of Kayak the Nile and the ICF.


The long term goal is the promotion and growth of the sport and to see many more African teams flying the flag on an international level.  The freestyle scene is still relatively small in South Africa often owing to availability of features and international participation has been sparse in the past. These two paddlers will now be exposed to the expectations of an international platform and bring these lessons back to South Africa where it is hoped that there will be a renewal in the freestyle scene.


What does this mean for paddling in general? Canoeing, slalom, rafting and whitewater kayaking are often marginalised when it comes to national support from governments. The African freestyle development project shows how banding together as paddlers could see far more African nations on the international stage.


INFO: Philip Claassens

082 465 2696;


Tammy MuirS Philip ClaassensS