Victoria Lake Canoe Club hosted a river race on Klip River from Henley-on-Klip to Meyerton’s Danie Maclean Park on Saturday 9 May, specifically aimed at novice paddlers – relatively short at under 15km, to encourage them to test their new paddling skills while their learning mistakes still allow some swims.  The races also provide them with points towards A grade status to be allowed to do major river races later in the year.

While marshalls on the river are in positions for potential assistance regarding safety, they are particularly helpful this time of the year with novices who swim, helping to catch their boats and paddles before they are washed down the river in the fast flowing current.  This is not usually a task expected of the marshalls as paddlers are required to prove their competency in a proficiency test prior to participating in the river races and have to demonstrate this ability, nevertheless their reactions are still slow and mistakes unexpected so the assistance is appreciated and the VLC marshalls were kept busy at specific tricky rapids.

The winning double was manned by VLC’s U23  development youth crew, Colin Ledwaba and Katiso Hlahatsi in a time of 1 hour 5 minutes, while the 2nd and 3rd place finishers were novice first time river racers youngsters paddling with adult development partners Jaydon Hunt with Donald Moncho (FLCC) and Matthew van der Merwe with Melusi Nxumalo (FLCC) in 1:05, also Under 23.

The first adult finisher was Watuni’s veteran Kobus Filmalter  as the first Veteran in 1:06, and the K2 VLC crew of Under 18 paddlers were 4th K2, and 5th finishers in 1:10 – Buti Lamola and Kanyisa Mancoba, as the first Novice finishing double.

The 2nd K1 finisher was Joseph Penn (Dabs)  followed by the 2nd  place novice finishers were FLCC novices first year river paddlers Tristan Trican and Tumelo Motseki in 1:10 as first Under 16 double although the Novice Cake was given to the Soweto novice crew first year river paddlers Sibusiso Chwayi and and Lona Magadla who finished in 1:11.

Roy Clegg brought the first novice lady home as first mixed double, Theresa Welsh, both VLC paddlers, in a time of 1:12, as 3rd vets, and Vaughn with Monique Steven brought up the 1st Sub Vet Double finish some seconds later.  Vince Buttrick (ERK) was first GGM finisher in 1:12 , while the JCC K3 finished their race in 16th position overall, carrying Mark and Jamie Hall with Martin Sly across the finish line in 1:13, and the first Sub Master VLC pair finished in 1:14 – Anthony Welsh and Richard Carter.

Peter Bailey and John Wernick (FLO) were the winning K2 Grand Masters in 1:17, as 19th K2, and the SGM 1st finishing team were VIC’s Richard Macgillevray and Ian Broli.  Patrick Thomas from FLCC was the first fnishing Master, in the absence of a K2 Master pair, in 1:18.

With the weather still balmy and water not yet icy cold, the race carried a festive air with lots of enthusiastic spirit as the excited newer paddlers enjoyed their early season adventures.  Interesting sightings of young legavaan on the river were a treat for the alert who werent necessarily concentrating on possible swims, and the prizegiving with giveaways were great fun.

Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

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