Stoked!

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Along with some pretty incredible people, I have been nominated for a World Paddle Award in the Foundation category. You can find out more by clicking on the logo above, and you can also vote for me, or any of the amazing nominees, by clicking the Facebook “like” button or the big “thumb’s up” at the end of the article.

The voting ends on November 20th, and the winners get to attend the awards ceremony in Portugal in February next year. The World Paddle Awards (WPA) is a fantastic concept and the event is held annually, “celebrating the most remarkable men and women from the world of paddlesports along with their achievements from the previous calendar year.” Click on the image below to find out more about the WPA.

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Since the Olympics has come and gone, I have been hard at work setting up the next exciting venture. Our business Paddle California, which also has MultiCoach operating under the PC umbrella, has some fantastic offerings in the works. More on that to follow.

Here is a post I wrote about the incredible women of Team USA at the Rio Games, which makes for an interesting read! (click on image below)rio-blog2-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am in South Africa at the moment. So fantastic to be home, especially with the craziness of Spring. Been a while since I was home this time of year, and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Out with an injury, so unfortunately missing out of all the great races I planned on doing (Fish, Pete Marlin, Cape Point Challenge etc) but glad I am here where I have some great rehab people!

I forgot how good the food here is, and am having to do a LOT of trail running to keep the balance 🙂

Thanks for reading, happy paddling!

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Going Full Circle, 11 days to go – Rio Olympic Games, & some SurfSki updates

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In 11 days time, I will be attending my 3rd Olympic Games. I am super stoked to have come full circle, after competing in 2008 for South Africa in the Women’s K4 and K2 events (making the final in the K4) and then being in London with Bridgitte Hartley (my K2 partner from Beijing, I helped her by being a training partner in the lead-up to London 2012 where she medalled in the WK1 500m event) and now going into the Rio Olympics as Team USA Olympic Coach to my athlete, Maggie Hogan.

It’s kind of cool seeing the sport from so many different angles, and I am very excited about this next phase of my career. It’s 11 days until the opening ceremony, and we have a lot going on before then!

I was just in Portugal (possibly my favorite country!) I was just recovering from my jetlag (we were there in June for the 3rd Canoe Sprint World Cup – where Maggie got a silver medal in the 5k) and all of a sardine-tin found myself back on a plane heading across the globe.

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Maggie silver medal World cup 3 WK1 5000m (please note my Rio themed-board shorts!)

I can’t say I was upset at having to return to Portugal… Great wine, pastel de natas and cooking downwind! The Nelo Summer Challenge is one of the best events on the World Series, and is also an ICF World Cup race.

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Thanks Macca Hynard for the cool photo!

As usual, Andre, Marisa and all their team staff put on a spectacular event. The wind delivered and we had great conditions for racing.

Schoogirl error on my part cost me my 5th NSC title, as I casually jogged up to the finish line not realizing that Angie Mouden had caught up to me as I played it cautious through the surf zone. Great race Angie, and good to see some younger talent coming through.

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I managed to sneak a last-minute trip to Hood River for the Gorge Downwind Champs. Strangest thing, doing a downwind on a river! A lot of fun, and we caught a good day of cracking wind on Thursday and again on Saturday. Unfortunately race day (Friday) was pretty flat, and didn’t quite go how I would have liked. Teneale Hatton showed her strength on the flatwater to paddle away from the women’s field to take the win. Great to see so many good female paddlers from all over the world taking part (NZ, Australia, Spain and USA).

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Yes, those are Zebra print paddling pants! (Slipins)

The whole team behind the event, led by Energizer Bunny Carter Johnson, put on a great few days. Seamless downwinds with a daily, repeating shuttle, a beer garden, and great food all made for a fun break!

And now the countdown begins, we leave in a week, and I am very excited about being a part of one of the largest and most successful Olympic teams in the world. (Underneath my Team USA t-shirt my blood is green, and I am also super excited about seeing my other team mates go out and perform on the world’s greatest sporting stage!)

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Go Team USA & Team South Africa!

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North American Surfski Cup

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These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel!
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I left Oklahoma City with Team USA to travel to Toronto for the Pan American Games on July 5th. With a relatively small team to look after, I still had my hands full.

It’s been an adjustment to move to “the other side”, but in a way it is a lot more rewarding looking after others than yourself, and I am fully enjoying the transition on the sprint side.

My multi-tasking skills are improving too, as noted by above photo taken while cycling, timing and coaching!
I unfortunately missed the 1st of the surfski races, the Canadian Champs, and instead headed straight to Hood River for the Gorge Downwind Festival to race 2 events – the North American Championships and the Wild Side Relay.

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What an amazing venue for a race (or a holiday!) The river is warm, and the wind blew every day. It’s a strange sensation to be doing a downwind, on a river, against the flow, and in fresh water!

I had a great race, taking the lead about 2km in. Teneale Hatton (NZ) took a shallower line, and was a little behind me most of the way. I hit the last 3km, the wind died a little, and the runs went flat. Having the world’s fastest 1000m paddler hunting you down is a little daunting, and with about 1km to go she caught and passed me! Well done Teneale!

Here is a video taken by Carter of the last few flat and grindy km’s. (Thanks for the video, and the shouts of encouragement!)

The whole event was put on by Carter Johnson, who did an amazing job! From the crazy bus to shuttle us to a downwind every day, to the great food and beer, I can’t think of a reason to ever miss this event! Carter had a super team of helpers, including the wave-queen, Judy Jensen, and a number of volunteers. The event was in aid of Rivers for Change (http://www.riversforchange.org/)
The standard of the women’s event was nice and high, with some internationals making the trip out, including 2 Kiwi’s (Teneale and Rachel), an Aussie (Rowy), a South African (Samantha) as well as some local US Paddlers (Maggie). There is nothing better than seeing growth not only in numbers but depth of talent too! Let’s keep the momentum girls!

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Women’s Podium

On the 2nd last day, I teamed up with Maggie Hogan to do the Wild Side Relay, which consisted of 4 legs of roughly 8-10km each. The second leg I did took me through some of the best runs I had all week, in a section called Swell City! A great concept for a race, and one of the few events that utilized their wind window. Unfortunately I left Maggie with the last leg, a real slog with no wind! She pulled through and managed just fine though!

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Downwind Transport

Race 2: The US SurfSki Champs

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After spending a few days in San Diego at the USA Canoe Kayak Sprint Nationals, put on by the San Diego Canoe Kayak Team (well done Cathy and your team!), I flew into San Fransisco on Saturday morning, ready for some Golden Gate action!

Unfortunately no real wind at the start, although it was sunny and hot! Can’t have it all right? Teneale rocketed off the start line, showing us how it is done!
The current was crazy as usual, and I am not sure if my line was correct. Once under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, we went South of Alcatraz, for the first time since I’ve done this race. The runs were fantastic around the island, followed by a bit of a flat spot.
Once through that section, it was runs all the way into Berkley. I seemed to be gaining on Teneale, but she was just too strong for me to catch her!

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The women’s field again nice and solid, with Rachel in 3rd, Maggie in 4th and Rowy in 5th.
Full results here:
Next up is the Nelo Summer Challenge followed by the 2nd ICF World Champs in Tahiti. With the rest of the world going, it’s looking like it will be one epic race!
See you on the water,
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cold weather paddling

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“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
Carl Reiner

Leading up to the US SurfSki Champs in August, Pat Langley of Vaikobi was so kind as to send me a pair of the V Cold Paddle Pants.

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I remember as a kid being able to surf for hours in just boardies, but somehow as I’ve got older, there seem to be an increasing about of thermal tops being added to my paddling gear collection.

V_ColdPaddlePant_Rside_largeHere is a quick review on the V Cold Paddling Pant:

I pulled them on for the first time on a reasonably chilly and windy day, and immediately felt the warm factor. I took this as a great sign, and by the time we had hopped on the water for a quick downwind run from Fort Baker to Berkeley, I was looking forward to the cool water.

If anyone has paddled in San Francisco they will know that the water is always pretty cold. As Mark Twain said “The best winter you’ll ever have is summer in San Francisco!” The pants kept me nice and toasty, and even though I went pretty hard in the paddle, I never over-heated. The breath-ability and temperature management systems of the pants works a charm.

They were surprisingly comfortable, as I was expecting the neoprene to cause a bit of resistance to movement in the seat as I rotated with the paddle stroke, but the cleverly designed panels of different material make these pants fantastic with regards to range of motion. They are pretty stretchy and the low front and high back is perfect for a seated sport like surfski. (I also like the blue seam lines effect-no chafing and make the pants look pretty cool too).

All in all, these are now my favourite pants to paddle in. With winter settling in properly in Oklahoma City, they are coming in handy in my K1 as well.

As it’s said – “there’s no such thing as cold weather, just poor gear”! Click on the logo below or the images of the pants above to go to the Vaikobi website to find out more.

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Brave Bartho paddles from Richards Bay to Durban for ‘Lettie’

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Article by Gameplan Media, images by Anthony Grote

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Durban – Durban surfski paddler Danica Bartho will face 162km of unpredictable seas, exhausting distances and an epic battle of mental toughness on her quest to become the first woman to successfully paddle from Richards Bay to Durban and, in the process, draw attention to the PinkDrive during breast cancer awareness month and raise as much money as possible for a close friend battling cancer.

Dubbed the ‘Lettie Paddle’ campaign, Bartho has been inspired by fellow paddling enthusiast Nikki ‘Lettie’ Heynes who – having already overcome breast cancer – is currently at the centre of a brave fight against liver, lung and bone cancer.

Bartho will tackle the four day long Da’Real Richards Bay to Pirates Downwind Surfski Challenge from 30 October to 3 November with every cent raised by the campaign to be put towards Heynes’ medical bills.

“Lettie is a phenomenal woman who has touched so many lives and now I have this opportunity to touch hers so it was definitely one I wasn’t going to miss!” explained an enthusiastic Bartho.

“It will obviously be a really tough few days in the ski and who knows what Mother Nature might serve up for us whilst we’re out at sea. I’m sure it’s going to be wild but what an adventure!

“I’ve been training really hard for this for the past few weeks and with Lettie’s strength and fight as an example, I definitely feel I can achieve what I’ve set out to and, hopefully, that will result in many others supporting the campaign generously,” she added.
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Heynes, wife of Zoog ‘MamuLoman’ and mother of three, has endured a difficult journey since first being diagnosed with the disease last year however, despite overcoming the initial attack only to be diagnosed with liver, lung and bone cancer in April 2013, the inspirational personality is determined to face up to and overcome her cruel challenger all over again.

“Lettie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 whilst breastfeeding her youngest child but, after a brave fight, was later deemed to have overcome the cancer,” said Bartho.

“After a lot of pain and discomfort earlier this year Lettie’s, and her family’s, life was then turned upside down for the second time when doctors then discovered the cancer had returned, this time in her lungs, liver and bones.

“Being the most incredible person that she is though and choosing to see cancer as a challenge and not a life sentence, Lettie simply put on her ‘big girl panties’ and again decided to fight the cancer, against all odds! With her unfading faith, unwavering passion for life and never give up attitude, Lettie has risen to the challenge and she really is the most inspirational women I know!

“Currently Lettie’s counts in her liver and lungs are looking great and she recently started her final treatments for the bone cancer so hopefully, aided by the generosity of others, we can assist her in overcoming this final hurdle,” added Bartho.

Despite set to start the event as one of only two females taking part in a single surfski (S1), Bartho remains confident and excited by the adventure she is faced with as she looks to complete the 162km ordeal proudly dressed in pink and flying the Lettie Paddle flag high.
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Bartho’s mission has struck a chord with fellow paddlers, many of whom have already made donations to her fundraising drive, or have pledged to sponsor her per kilometer of her paddle from Richards Bay to Durban.

“I have been blown away by the support from the paddling community,” said Bartho. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate, so I would really like to take it as wide as possible to get more people involved before we set off for the paddle on Wednesday 30 October, which will fittingly signal the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“Almost every single person knows of someone else who has been or is currently in a battle against cancer. It is a terrible disease and treatment is incredibly expensive.

“I really urge as many people as possible to make even the smallest of donations to the campaign – every little bit helps and, of course, we would be ever so grateful to those who are able to assist us in even larger ways as well!

Whilst welcoming any contribution others are able to make, Bartho also has a burning desire to inspire others to go out and motivate someone they know who is fighting cancer through positive actions, facing up to their challenges and embracing a healthy lifestyle.

“My intention for the Lettie Paddle campaign is to raise as much money as possible and if you’re able to make a lump sum donation or sponsor an amount per kilometer I complete, I – and I’m sure both Lettie and Zoog as well – would be hugely appreciative!

“However, over and above trying to raise money for Lettie, I also really want to move, motivate and inspire people! It’s more than just the money, it’s about helping people believe in themselves and encouraging them to make a difference in others’ live!

“I hope that if I can do ‘the impossible’ then they can too. You can do the impossible if you set your mind to it so I challenge everyone out there – let’s not be ordinary, let’s be great and let us all make a difference in whatever way we possibly can!

“If not now, then when? Be the person you have always wanted to be and be that person now! Be great every single day. Don’t be scared to challenge yourself and always strive to live life to the absolute fullest!

“Just go out there and do it, I dare you!” she added daringly.

Anyone interested in making a donation or pledging an amount per kilometre can do so via the campaign’s website (www.lettiepaddle.co.za) or by contacting Danica directly via email (danica@biweda.co.za) or cellphone (083 626 6001).