I have just returned from an epic weekend on the Umzimkulu river. Raced the Drak Challenge. The organisors really go out of their way to make it a super fun event, and real vaue for money entry.
My race went well. Day 1 was quire low and bony, but my awesome RIVER VAJDA from Knysna Racing Kayaks handled the rocks with no problems. After a pretty solid first day, I finished with Carol and Robyn. So the plan on Day 2 was to hang with the girls and follow them down all the rapids as I had never been on this stretch of river before. Unfortuately, both of them swam in the first few km’s of the race, leaving me to pick my own way down the river! The water level had risen thanks to overnight rain, making for a really fun day.
My navigation down the pretty technical river went really well, with no mistakes on my part. The rapids were surprisingly big, but really entertaining, making the 38km pass by quite quickly. My River Vajda saved me from a few potential swims with it’s great stability, I really am falling in love with this boat! Robyn ended up getting away from Carol in the last part of the race, with Hilary Pitchford coming in 4th. Well done to Ant on his 6th victory in this race. Len Jenkins was 2nd, with a “watch me I’m coming” Grant VD Walt in 3rd, after a broken paddle on Day 1.
It must have been one of the most competitive women’s fields ever assembled in a South African race. It’s really positive to see the standard of women’s paddling and I am very excited for the future of the sport, as most of the women are pretty young still.
Here’s a link to the race website: www.drak.co.za Well done to Tex Turton and all his organisors for a fantastic event. I will definately be back in 2010 to defend my title.