World Marathon Champs time again

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WMC13 logo


The 2013 Marathon World Championships will take place on Lake Bagsvaerd, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s my first trip to the country and I am super excited! It looks amazing, and I am sure the Danish will put on a really great show.

There will be live streaming, and if you want to find out more about the event, click on the event logo above or here.

I will be racing only the K2 event for a change, which should be a welcome relief of less time spent above 160 beats per minute:)

We race at 0930 on Sunday morning (the 22nd September). I am racing with Bridgitte Hartley, we last raced together in 2010, where we were outsprinted for the bronze.

I have a real love-hate relationship with marathon canoeing. Personally, the longer the better, and 50km sounds way more enticing!

My first ever World Championships were on a flooding course in Gyor (Hungary) in 2007, where I raced with Nikki Mocke. We had a great race, and ended up with the bronze medal.

Graeme, Niks and me

Graeme, Niks and me

I had a break from marathon over the Olympic year, and then an unsuccessful 2009, but returned in 2010 to get 2 very close 4th places. In the K1, I got outsprinted for the bronze, finishing 4th, and about 36″ behind gold,  resulting in South Africa’s best ever K1 Women’s result, but still very disappointing to me. The following day, Bridgitte and I got outsprinted again, taking another 4th place.

I missed 2011 due to my wrist injury, and came back for the now infamous Rome race course. I had an OK K1 race, and then paired up with Robyn Kime to take another 4th place in the WK2.

Rome 2012

Rome 2012

After being based in the US this past month, I am excited to connect with my 80-strong South African team. We have some exciting prospects as usual. In the Men’s K1, we have 2011 World Champ Hank MacGregor and U23 World Champ, Grant van der Walt. In the Men’s K2, we have 2 new combinations in Sean Rice & Shaun Rubenstein, and Cam Schoeman & Andy Birkett. In the women’s K2, Alexa Cole and talented Surf Life Saver Eloise Horn pair up again.

Here’s wishing everyone a great race!

See you in Copenhagen.

Bye for now,

sig angled

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Cape Town Downwind SA Ski Champs

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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 🙂

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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

2010 over and out

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Did you feel it?

2010 was one jam-packed year! It always seems like the more busy you are, the longer the year. 2010 was one pretty long year! Add to that the fact that time flies as you get older and I am left with one long, fast year:)

It was my 2nd year “post-Olympics”, and another chance to race as much as I could. I also took on a coaching job in Port Elizabeth which let me get to meet a whole bunch of new, excited-to-paddle people. I have much to be grateful for, and here is just a short highlights package of my year…

1. Moved cities. Not sure whether to put this in the “lowlights” section! PE is a very different place, you either love it or hate it. Luckily, the people there are super friendly and nice. Moved back to the Land of Milk and Honey-Plett:)

2. Spent a lot of time in East London, which could be the jewel of South Africa, but shhh! Let’s not let that secret get out. Beautiful coastline, and great people.

3. Became the owner of Splash, the Staffie puppy on one of my coaching trips to East London. A total handful, but worth every vet bill and ripped up piece of furniture. I have been on more beach walks than ever before, and he is a great running partner, and forever happy and forgiving companion.

4. On the sponsorship front, I was fortunate enough to become a part of Team Nelo, and the move has been the best thing. I am loving paddling my NeloSki so much, that the majority of my training is now done in the ski rather than the K1. I have also managed to sign on for 2011 with all my current sponsors. Thanks for your ongoing support PVM, Knysna Racing, New Balance! and Rudy Project (and all your support and generosity Thule).

5. I got to go to Portugal (and Spain and Dubai) and spent a few weeks in that great country, and do some pretty cool new races.

6. I won my 3rd Dubai Shamaal, 3rd Cape Point Challenge and my 3rd SA Surf Ski Title.

7. I FINALLY won the Fish River Marathon!

8. I had 2 very solid performances at the Marathon World Champs (Flatwater), coming 4th in the K1 and the K2, which makes me fired up for the 2011 Worlds in Singapore! Time to change those Wooden medals into real ones!

9. My parents came and watched some international Surf Ski events! Great to have their support.

10. Last but not least, the Soccer World Cup. What an event, and what a success for South Africa as a nation!

The year is over and I am still so stoked on paddling. Here’s hoping you all have a great 2011!

Here is a great slideshow of some photo highlights for 2010:

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Formentera Race

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After our epic car journey with Rui (a man of great patience), we boarded the ferry to Formentera. Rui put his whole van plus trailer on board, and we were off.

We arrived to one of the most beautiful spots! I can’t belive I went to an island to do a surf ski race (well, an island next to Ibiza). It was an amazing experience, and I don’t think I would have ever visited this place otherwise. It is known as the hippy island, and apparently Bob Marley played in one of the caves years back.

We wasted no time, and had a swim in the unbelievably blue water. Not too many fish, but great anyway!

I totally got into the Spanish island vibe, we went to bed late, woke up late, had siesta’s, paddled in bikini’s (not the boys), drank Pinto De Verano (which is red wine mixed with lemon juice and loads of ice) and ate lots of tapas.

The Race: (was hacking with the camera-first left it in Rui’s car, then battery died, then camera died on an underwater experience, so no photo’s, waiting for the other’s)

I had a terrible start, was lying about 20th. I managed to sneak some rebounds and work my way up to 10th, and then on the downwind bit, I caught up a few places into 6th overall and first woman). There were 2 laps of this headwind-downwind course, and the 2nd lap turned out to be a bit harder as the wind died. All in all a good event, with a prize giving dinner thrown in too. Sean Rice took the guys from Barry Lewin and Richard von Wildeman (Oos Kaap).

Unfortunately Rich lost his camera, and mine died, so hoping to get some more photos from the others. The next day we  caught the ferry across to Ibiza. I was surprised at how awesome it is. I definitely didn’t go for the party scene, but the beaches  are incredible. Wayne “the Legend tour guide” took us to all the best spots, and we checked out the Old Town, and had dinner with Amanda and Mark before crashing at our apartment. No sleep for us however, as all the Pommies were coming (or going) to the Disco’s…

Wayne Powell (tour guide)

Wayne dropped us off at the airport, and I said Adios to the guys as they were all heading home. the second part of my Eurotrip is just beginning though, as I have Marathon Worlds next week. I flew to Barcelona and rented a car. I had been threatening to rent a Mini Cooper, and when the guy behind the counter said that was all he had, I knew it was meant to be! Wow, a bright red one too! STOKED!!!

I lost the map he gave me, but Banyoles was pretty easy to find. Made my way to the Lake, and ran into a guy I know, who hooked me up with a spot to stay right on the water. Lucky lucky! The rest of the team arrives on Saturday, and I am fetching Mark Bosch tomorrow (and dropping off the Mini-my heart is already sore!).

Been good to be on my own for  change. Making the adjustment from Surf Ski to K1 has been interesting, but feeling better in the boat today. Unfortunately have picked up a head cold, hoping it goes away soonest! Took the Mini to Girona to see the sights and sounds, very cool city, hope there are no speeding fines waiting for me!

OK, better hit the sack, as need to be up early tomorrow.

have bought a new camera so hopefully will get some classic shots of the car (and the race venue of course!).

Buenes Nochas:)

Leaving on a Jetplane…

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I am off in one month to go and race my Nelo Ski and K1 in Europe. So excited:)

Thanks to Cátia at Nelo for putting up with my many “change my mind” incidents, and booking my flights.

So first up is the Nelo Summer Challenge. It is going to be an unbelievable event, the guys at Nelo are going out of their way to put on something super special. Personally I am very excited to race all the Flatwater Girls in the Sea:)

Click on the image for the race website and more info

Then it is off to the Algarve for the Race of Champions.

Click on the image for the race website. Portugal seems to be the place to be over the European summer.

I then have a 3 week wait for the World Marathon Championships in Banyoles, Spain.

Team SA is looking good, with some old faces back in the mix.

With such a long wait I might just be heading to the Islands for another race 🙂 … More info soon.

And then, the greatest South African River Race on the calender… da da dum:

The Hansa/Powerade Fish River Marathon. I will basically land from Spain, and drive straight from the airport to make the start of the race. I wouldn’t miss it for the world 🙂

Next post, the guys at Thule (namely Richard Downey) sent me some awesome stuff. Just taking some photo’s and will post soonest!

Oyster Festival

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Ran the Knysna Half Marathon for the first time in quite a while on Saturday. The past few years I have been in Europe on training camps this time of year, and I was really excited to finally be in town for the event. It was my first ever half marathon way back in my student days. Even though I haven’t really been training since my car accident, and have not run over 10km’s in over a year, I ran my second fastest half! I did 1:42:30, which is great for me, the non-runner! Caught a taxi to the start so that I could really get into the Festival vibe, and had the very important post-race pancake (to support the charity that sells them… 🙂 🙂  well of course to replace all that energy I burnt up). The new route was great, more time in the forest, and less time on the road. The killer downhill from Simola into town did it’s evil thing to my quads, and they are hating me now.

Spent some time in Knysna with my mom and then hit the Heineken after-party, which had my favourite band-The Parlotones and Flat Stanley. Very cool.

This morning I woke up to freezing cold, wind and rain, and rather stiff legs! Paddled the Knysna Lagoon Challenge, presented by Ristorante Enrico and Manja Kwa. Besides the hail (yes, HAIL!) and ten degrees I had a fun race. And everyone thinks winter is Africa is mild! I paddled with PE legend Marc Bosch in his Nelo Vanquish 3 K2 (what a boat!). We had a bad start as Marc got caught in the buoy rope, but we managed to catch up to the front bunch after about 20 minutes. The portages were terrible because I had to take off my splash cover and let in the cold air! Unfortunately for Marc my end sprint is only as good as a woman’s so all the boys beat us, but at least we were in the mix and were 5th overall and 1st Mixed Doubles. Trevor and Jenny Niksch, and Rob Hyde and the guys at Knysna Canoe Club put on a super event, well run despite the bad luck with the weather.

Test drove a car on Saturday, hoping to get it sorted out on Monday. Hating not having wheels (without roof racks too).

That’s all for now. Hope it warms up:)