Press Release for Hansa Fish River Marathon-Gameplan Media


Michele Eray determined to shrug off injury woes for Hansa Fish canoe marathon

Cradock – Defending champion Michele Eray is locked in a race against time to recover from a tendon injury in time for the Hansa Fish Marathon that starts on 7 October.

Eray has already withdrawn from the national marathon team going to the world marathon champions as she struggles to shake of a debilitating tendonitis injury that derailed her recent worldwide surfski tour.

Eray won the women’s division of a surfski race in the US in excruciating pain as the inflamed tendons in her lower forearms worsened throughout the race, eventually forcing her to abort the rest of her tour and return home to try and deal with the crippling injury.

“I guess its the cumulative effect of years of racing without a break,” said Eray. “The tendons in the back of my left hand are the problem and it has been six weeks off training and at the physio to try and get it right. I definitely won’t be able to put in the training I was hoping to for the world marathon champs so I have formally withdrawn from the team.”

“The Hansa Fish is another story though,” she added. “It is my local event and it is such a classic race, on and off the water, that I just cannot miss it. I hope to be able to start doing some paddling next week and that will give me three weeks to get some sort of form together to try and defend my title with Robyn (Kime).”

“This break has been a bit of a blessing in disguise because it has made me think about what events are important to me,” she said. “I respect events that respect women. It’s as simple as that. I will go all out to support events that offer equal prizemoney to the men’s and women’s winners and for years the Hansa Fish has done that.”

Eray won the K2 title with Kime last year, triggering celebrations in local paddling circles as an Eastern Cape local won a race title for the first time in more than a decade.

She has been in sublime form since then, winning the Dunlop Surfski World Cup and the tough Berg titles before setting her sights on the second half of the year packed with major surfski internationals and crucially the women’s K1 race at the world marathon championships in Singapore in October.

As a full time coach and biokineticist Eray knows how far to push the human body, but she is struggling to come to terms with the tendon injury that has brought her racing and training to a grinding halt.

The 30th edition of the Hansa Fish river canoe marathon takes place in Cradock on 7 and 8 October. More information can be found at

Media Release-Global Tracker Drak Challenge


Global Trader Drak Challenge Media Release  No: drak1008 11 Feb 2010

Eray targets SA champs in her GT Drak title defence-Dave Macleod, GamePlan Media

Underberg – The country’s most talented all-round female paddler, Mich�le Eray, has set her sights on the SA K1 river championships as she plots the defence of the Global Trader Drakensberg Challenge title.

The tenacious Olympian who is the world’s premier surfski paddler in addition to her stunning track record as a flatwater sprinter, outclassed a strong women’s field during last year’s race to win it on debut, and is eager to return to the Umzimkulu river to defend her title.

“I am not going to miss this race for anything,” enthused the 30 year old Plettenberg Bay raised ace, who is now assisting the Eastern Cape Canoe Union as their elite sprint squad coach. “I had such an awesome time last year that I had no hesitation in committing to defending my title.

Eray won a testing 2009 race that saw the first stage run in technical low water, while the second stage was raced on a full river following heavy overnight thunderstorms. Eray was locked in a three way tussle for the title with Robyn Kime and Carol Joyce, and was the only one of the three to stay in her kayak through the final stage.

What made her victory even more remarkable was the fact that she has just undergone major surgery to repair damage to tendons in her elbow, and by her own admission she was not fully fit.

Despite this, she managed to break Alexa’s Coles second stage record, racing largely alone and having had very little time to recce the course beforehand.

“This year I am feeling great,” enthused Eray. “My elbow compartment syndrome problem that I had is now fine, and since the Cape Point I have been able to rest and recharge, and enjoy training with the guys in the Eastern Cape sprint squad. I must admit that I am feeling quite ‘zippy’ after the training camp with the guys.”

In the wake of her successful Olympic campaign Eray has gone on to focus heavily on flatwater marathon and surfski events, where she has dominated every international event she has entered.

She was denied an overall victory in the fledgling Surfski World Series rankings after the series rules shifted, altering the status of some of the events she had prioritised. However this has fired up the tough Eastern Cape star to focus on winning the new ISPA surfski world series.

“Racing the GT Drak is part of my plan to build towards the SA flatwater marathon champs and the world champs in Spain later in the year, as well as the four events that I have picked for the surfski world series, in Durban, Mauritius, Dubai and Hong Kong.”

“There is something really special about the Drak, more than just the fact that it is raced in such a beautiful part of the country,” said Eray. “The organisation is slick, and there is such a special vibe about the whole event.”

The Global Trader Drakensberg Challenge takes place in Underberg on 27 and 28 February. More information can be found at