The Avocet, Giant and Pied Kingfisher, Legavaan, donkeys and deer were startled by the fast paced canoe racing at the South African Mercantile Corporation Watuni Canoe River Race which took place from Henley to Dave’s Farm just past Dog Bridge on the way to Three Rivers, on 10 September 2016.

The giraffe also looked surprised…..despite being a statue….!

The most difficult rapid of the day was Broken Weir with a few swimmers, however most of the river race was smooth going for the now more experienced paddlers and with the GCU K2 championships / trials there were some good experienced paddlers participating.

It was interesting to see a dog (lovely Collie) at the Dog Bridge for the first time in many years, but he simply jumped two fences like a showjumping horse, had a quick pee in the river, and jumped the fences back home never to be seen again….back in the good old days when we shot through the arches under the bridge, before it collapsed, portaging over the bridge was potentially dangerous as the killer dogs would attack paddlers!

A number of paddlers eddied out while turning the corner of the broken Dog bridge – reminder that nose into the flat water while rudder is still in the fast current will spin you out, but fortunately the section is wider now than it used to be some years ago where this would block the entire line for the oncoming paddlers.  W e used to shoot the bridge through the ARCHES underneath, which have subsequently collapsed due to tree blockages and water pressure against them, and flood water forced its way around the bridge, eroding the soft sandy banks of our Savannah Grasslands.

The 22km race sponsored by South African Mercantile Corporation and hosted by Watuni Canoe Club provided super bright orange caps for all participants – making it so easy to see them in the distance while picking out who you are seconding for……and it was an awesome day and great race.

Well done to our lady racers – the Under 23 team of Morgan Ziervogel and Holly Spencer teamed up together to race this championship event,  (JCC/DABS), finishing in 1 hour 44 minutes.

The winning male team was VLC’s Colin Ledwaba and Katiso Hlahatsi, Under 23’s, who finished in a time of 1 hour 35 minutes, followed by the first Veteran age group team from Watuni, Kobus Filmalter and Andre Zandbergh, in 1 hour 36 minutes.  The third place finishers were FLCC’s Douw Kruger with Melusi Nxumalo, in 1 hour 42, followed by the first K3 as a mixed boat, in 1 hour 44 minutes, from VLC,  Richard Cele, Josh Loots and Rene Schutte and Guy Crichton with Macdonald Nkosi finished as the 3rd mixed age group “senior” boat (FLCC) within the same time minute.

The Grand Masters were the next category finishers also 1 hour 44,  Dabs’ Meyer Steyn with Frank Dabrowski, with the Great Grand masters next in 1 hour 47 – Brian Longley and Peter O Connor (Dabs).

The first Mixed double brought in Sylvia Nel (LIK) with Easter Cape partner Johan Olivier, as first Sub Master team in 1 hour 48 minutes, and the first finishing Sub Veteran from VIC/FLCC  were Richard Greeff and Paulo Ferrao 15 seconds later.

The first Master finishers were a JCC K3 in 1 hour 49, with Michael Roy, Derrick Oliver and Willie du Plessis while Jcc’s Ryan Ziervogel was the first K1 finisher, and Under 18 in 1 hour 49 minutes, although the K2 Master finishers were Dave Ivy and Patrick Thomas (JCC/FLCC).

Carel van Biljon was the first Sub Grand master age category finisher (Dabs) in 1 hour 56 minutes.

Super racing, great organisation, fabulous weather before the cold wind started sweeping through Gauteng and thanks to Watuni !


Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

082 857 857 1