The JCC Klip River race on Sunday 23 August from Meyerton Sportsgrounds to the Vaal river junction at Three Rivers was a sign that paddlers are up and getting ready for Fish with some 77 boats on the water  51 K2 and , 5 K3 and  21 K1’s, bringing a total of some 138 paddlers on the water plus a few marshalls!

Winter jumped into summer, foregoing the slow warm up of spring bringing a lovely warm day with numerous sleeveless paddlers on the race, and while standing in calf deep water for an hour taking photos of the batches shooting past, the feet did not turn blue or become numb – so winter is truly behind us!

The religious baptism ceremony below the broken sportsground bridge was colourful and traditional with harmonious choiral rhythmic chanting and rattles, while the  colourfully dressed priests chanted and prayed musically as they performed their ceremony on petrified devotees who were very brave to be dunked into that cold water especially as they are frequently not used to being underwater!

Giant Kingfishers were chased away from their fishing grounds, and a lone monkey prowled the river bank looking for mischief!

And it was a pleasure to see so many ladies on the water while the numerous new faces were also very pleasing!

The race was dominated by the Under 23 and Sowetan youth with Simnikwe and Siseko Ntondini taking first place as 1st Under 23 in 1:25, and 2 seconds later Thando Ngamlana and Siyabonga Tyiki in 2nd, while Alex Masina (JCC) with Sibusiso Chwayi took the third position and 1st Under 16 spot, in 1:29, followed by the 23rd Under 23 K2 in 4th, 20 seconds later.

Gavin Steyl and Greg Smith as first Subveterans were 5th K2 in 1:31, while Liam and Michael Stewart were the first father and son team (ERK) in 1:32, 6th place overall.

Richard Cele (VLC) and Asanda Ndlovu (SOW) were the fist Mixed Double in 1:35, as the 9th K2, and the winning K1 was Zonele Nzuza (SOW) in 1;35:57, as the 10th finisher.

Kobus Filmalter was the first Veteran paddler in 1;36 (WAT) although the K2 winner of this category at this K2 race was in fact Hardus Theunissen and novice first race finisher Joseph Mcintyre (FLCC) in 1:48, 32nd overall.

The Master winners were once again Glen Sinclair and David Ivy (JCC) in 1:40 as the 13th K2, and 16th overall and the first K3 finishers were JCC’s mixed treble with Grant van der Merwe, Claire Zulstra and Norman Andrews, in 1:43, 18th overall.

Meyer Steyn and Glenn Tippett (DABS) were the first SGM finishers in 1:44,  and the first Sub Master category boat to finish was Michael Roy, Derrick Oliver and Willie Du Plessis (JCC) in 1:47,however the K2 Sub Master winners would be Grant Panter and Daniel Stevens (VLC) in 2:03, K2 42.

Sarah Robinson partnered with Janet Bartlet to win the ladies race (DABS) in 1:49, as the 33rd boat overall and 24th K2,  and while the Under 18 competitor Peter Chissano won that category in a K1, as 8th K1, in 1:50, and in 39th place overall (JCC).

The second ladies team from Watuni finished 44th overall, in 1;52, and the Great Grand Master K1 finisher was ERK’s Vincent Buttrick in 1:53.  The Grand Master winners were Keith Beeston and John Rowan (JCC/ERK) in 1:59.

Delicious food to boost the morale of those very tired paddlers after the long sluggish slog of flat water which while tough to many had its little traps to catch the unwary with currents shoving boats into dead trees on the bank, and the occasional rock to get stuck on! Many important lessons were learnt!

Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

082 857 857 1