50km of ocean paddling. Well done to each and all who finished this epic race!
Ben Brown making me homesick…
The last few races of 2012 are all happening in Cape Town, the “Windy” city. In all the time I have lived and trained in CT, the wind has rarely not shown it’s face. Until Sunday morning!
As Surf Ski paddlers, we need to be able to race in all types of conditions, and try and become skilled at all.
The race was tough, and flat. I always knew it would be hard to race Nikki in her home waters, and I gave it my best shot. I am happy with my race, and I went as hard as I felt I could. I am definitely where I want to be with regards to the year I have had, and am really looking forward to 2013 with the first official ICF World Surf Ski Champs happening in Portugal. It is going to be great for the sport and the guys at Nelo already have a super setup planned!
On Monday, I hopped in a double from Knysna Racing, their G42, designed by Neal “Steel” Stevenson. The conditions were fantastic. We suffered into the wind for 3.5km, and then turned and had amazing runs all the way back to Fish Hoek! HAppy with the win, and our 2nd SAS2 title.
THis event had a great turnout from the women, in both the doubles and singles events. There was less than 2 minutes seperating poisitions 4th to 10th in the S1 race!
The boat handled the conditions well, and Nikki didn’t even backseat-drive 🙂
Thanks to Owen Middleton and Cape Town Sport Photography for the images!
Next up is the infamous Cape Point Challenge. 49km of fun! Hoping the wind prediction will change, as it is looking ominous…
All results can be found on the Cape Point website: www.capepointchallenge.com
I spent the past week in the beautiful winelands region of the Boland/Swartland area in the Western Cape. I managed to trip the ever-changing Berg River a number of times, and at all different river levels. It was amazing, as the change that occurred after the heavy rains of Wednesday and Thursday changed the river so much that I could hardly recognise where I was. Weirs that were big drops the day before, I paddled right over the top, oblivious that there was something below me! And tree blocks that had caused big problems were suddenly under water!
It had been 7 years since I had last been on the challenging river, and my fear of the trees was still present! Luckily I managed to trip with many past champions and Legends, such as Giel van Deventer, the Rabies, and Graham Bird. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! Each time was a different adventure, the only consistent thing was a massive Fish Eagle flying above us.
I am using a new boat from Knysna Racing Kayaks, and its a lot smaller than any other K1 I have paddled in the river. It’s a lot closer in size to my Nelo Vanquish 3 that I paddle in the flat water. I love the responsiveness of a small, rigid boat, and it handled the river conditions so well! Thanks Albert! I also used Vibram Five Fingers on my feet, it felt amazing to be able to feel my peddles, almost like I was barefoot! I will do a seperate post on the 2 types I am testing out a bit later.
It’s amazing how a bit of river knowledge and confidence through the tress will save you many minutes of hard paddling! I leant the hard way the first few times, and I am hoping to learn even more as time passes. The camaraderie of the local Western cape guys is awesome, and everyone is keen to help and explain where to go in the maze of the Berg River and all her trees and channels!
The SA K1 race was hosted by Peninsular Canoe Club who did an awesome job on the organising front, with loads of safety and they even went and cleared a number of dangerous tree blocks the weekend before!
The race went well for me, I paddled with Robyn Kime the whole of the first day of 40km and most of the second day of 45km. I ended up opening a small gap in the last few km’s to take my first National River title, with Robyn in 2nd, and Berg Legend Jean Wilson outsprinting Hilary Pitchford for 3rd.
In the men’s Hank MacGregor won the endsprint from Lance King, and ever-fit Graeme Soloman in 3rd.
Berg is going to be very interesting!!
Thanks mom for seconding me!
I came down to Cape Town, as I had the privilege of being the Guest Speaker at Somerset House School. I got to present their Sports Awards. The Headmaster there, Chris Storey, was my first canoeing coach, and after setting up the every successful canoeing program at Bridgehouse School, he moved to Somerset House about 4 years ago. It was great, and I hope I inspired some future Olympians!
I am here for the week, and am hoping to get in some quality training, and race practice. On Sunday I raced the Discovery Sunglass Hut Series race at Oceana. It was an out and back course. Out into a strong wind and swell, but then turning and enjoying the downwind on the way back. After a terrible start, I managed to haul in first place, Nikki Mocke. After sitting with her and Billy and Tracy Harker (mixed doubles winners) I put in a surge to try to catch the bunch ahead of us. In the process I dropped her and the Harkers. I turned in first, and then managed to open up my lead on the downwind section, to win by over 3 minutes.
I am training here for the next week, and race the Peninsular Marathon on this coming weekend, before flying to Dubai to defend my title there. It’s always great to be in Cape Town, catch up with old friends and just enjoy the beauty of it!
Thanks to John for the awesome images. Click on them to go to his website.
Spent the last week in Cape Town, stayed with good friend Megan Kelly (see www.holisticvet.co.za ). The wind blew, as it always does. Although on my first training paddle with the boys, it didn’t blow at all, making the 30 odd km’s seem more like 40 odd! Great to meet with old friends, I also forgot how beautiful CT is.
The plan was to get some solid training in, with an increase in intensity, as well as 2 races of the Discovery/Men’s Health CT Series.
Both races went well, the first being a 3 lap affair in Fish Hoek, with some headwind, downwind, and 9 surf turns! Great fun! The second was an epic from Fish Hoek to Buffel’s Point in the Cape Point Nature Reserve, held in a seriously strong NW. The above picture is of the 3 lap Race in Fish Hoek.
Surprised with my fitness levels after only 2 weeks of training (or relieved 🙂 ) Back in Plett now, with one more week of prep before the Knysna Sedgefield race, and then off to Hong Kong and Dubai. Not much time to train this year, going to have to rely on some great race tactics…