That was fun – not as cold as possible expectation but rather pleasant most of the time – once wet of course, you will be grateful for a good plastic top to keep wind chill out and trap body heat in – especially those who swim and with a number of learners / new inexperienced paddlers together in K2’s or in K1’s that are to be expecte initially!  Well done to those novices who did make it to the finish – its not easy in the beginning but dont give up – you’re almost over the first hurdles – it WILL improve!!!

NWU Watuni hosted the 22km race from the Makery to Danie Maclean Caravan Park on Saturday 19 August, paddling a couple of kms upstream first, with a quick portage around a “Paddler Pole” to spread the field as we can’t all bunch up on the Henley Weir without risking some safety concerns due to the nasty current pulling under the walkover bridge on the left.

Races are designated as K1 or K2 races throughout the year.  This is largely for those NEW paddlers who havent yet figured this out – a clarification of how it works….

While certain rivers are more suitable for a K1 – or for a K2,  (IE  Lowveld Croc,…. and Umkomaas!!) and those races often retain that criteria every year, many general races follow the lead set by CSA which is a K1 year, and a K2 year.  So in the year that FISH / DUSI and major events are identified as K1 or K2 events, then the majority of local races are also officially designated as K1 or K2 races, in which case the winners are recognised from that discipline, although sometimes there are prizes for the top finisher in the other category as well, this is not a requisite.  SOMETIMES there is only one GM / GGM not in a K2 and they will then get the recognition in the race report.

OF course, anybody can enter in K1, K2 or K3, but the prizes/recognition is traditionally awarded to the race’s criteria as identified.

The feedback report therefore also focusses on the K2’s, during a K2 race although obviously if a K1 or K3 finishes before the K2 in an age category, we do recognise them with a mention, but not if the K2 finishes first as it can get very drawn out and complicated various categories and disciplines – the results are available to view for more information and the feedback is meant to be a GENERAL update on how it went not a full result report.

Ladies are few and far between on our races and we really want to recognise them so we’ll start our race report with the LADIES!!!

We only had ONE lady finisher on the river today – well done to North West Univeristy Student, Bea Steyn – who finished in 2 hours 23 minutes, and 170% index – within the cut off time of 175% – great performance – congratulations!

We did have some ladies in Mixed Doubles – some training for the World Marathons Mixed Doubles race introduced this year – well done to Kobus and Caroline Filmalter (WAT) fwho finished 5th K2, in 1 hour 31 as first Veteran age category winners…..  Douglas and Tracey Jewson (DABS)  were the 2nd Mixed Doubles finishers as 2nd Veterans in 1 hour 38, 10th K2, and the 3rd place Mixed Doubles finishers were Bruce Dixon and Janet Bartlet (DABS) who finished in 1hour 40 minutes, 11th K2, and 3rd Sub Veterans!

K3’s are increasingly popular as Hansa Fish has become a great K3 racing river and paddlers are testing partnerships to take on the mighty rapids of the FISH in those Sherman Tanks – or the Racing K3’s…. well done to Reuhl Lombard, (CEN), Guy Crichton (FLCC) and Neil Butcher (Dabs) who were the first finishing K3 in a time of 1 hour 34 minutes,  as 2nd Sub Veterans,  and 10th overall.

 And the winners were!!??

The suspense is over – well done to Siyabonga Tyiki and Thando Ngamlana (SOW) who took the first place finish in a time of 1 hour 26, 16 seconds, in Under 23 age group, followed by Loveday Zondi with young Dylan Browns (SOW/DABS) in a few seconds later… while Robert Levick and Justin May (DABS) were the 3rd podium finishers a few more seconds later! Sounds like an awesome and very close race all finishing in 1 hour 26 minutes !

In 1 hour 27 minutes Grant Pollock (Dabs) crossed the finish line with KZN partner Justin De Ricquebourg in 4th place overall, while Zonele Nzuza was the first K1 finisher in 1 hour 28 (SOW).

Dekker Erasmus and Serge van Hee (FLCC) were the top finishing Sub Veterans in 1hour 32 minutes, and 8th overall,  and Sipho Qoko (SOW) was the 2nd Sub Veteran finisher and 2nd K1 finisher in 1 hour 34 minutes.

The first Masters to cross the finish line were the Dabs crew of Grant Thiel, Brian Whillier, and Kevin Holmes,  2nd K3, in 1 hour 40 minutes, followed by the first Sub Grand Masters, Patrick Thomas and John Wernick (FLCC) in in 1 hour 41 minutes, in 16th position overall.

James Simpson and Axel Marggraf  (DABS) were the top Sub Master finishers in 1 hour 43 minutes, with Vince Buttrick as the only Great Grand Master finisher 10 seconds later as 4th K1 (ERK).

Keith Beeston, John Rowan and Franz Fischer (JCC/ERK/VLC) were the first Grand Masters and 3rd K3 in 1 hour 44 minutes and the K2 Master finishers were JCC’s Michael Roy and Normal Andrews in 1h 47 minutes.   Gavin Taylor (Dabs) was the K1 GM finisher in 3 hours 3 minutes – there was no K2 GM in the race.

There were a number of first time ever river racers who finished the race – well done – its not easy and canoeists learn to be tough and take the knocks – you finished. You got your point.  You learned a lot.  Congratulations!

Together with marshalls approximately 100 paddlers were on the river as the pace heats up heading towards Fish training and qualifications!  a lovely day on the river – thanks to Watuni club for organising an awesome event!!

Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

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