Watuni Akzonobel Canoe Race – spectacular training for newcomers

Zahne Struwig and Johannes Jordaan at Broken Weir. Photo: Natali Coetzee

Natali Coetzee

MEYERTON. – The Watuni Akzonobel Race is held every year to encourage the novices in paddling; so the section of the Klip River being paddled is not too long and relatively easy.

This year, the race took place on May 5 and turned out to be quite spectacular training for the newcomers. The day started off really cold, but then heated up quite nicely by the end of the race.

The Makery in Henley-on-Klip provided the perfect starting point with great food and warm coffee to the viewers and paddlers alike. The race start was different than usual, with paddlers going upstream, portaging around the allocated area,and then racing for the finish.

With all the rain we’ve been privileged to have, the Klip River has changed yet again, forcing the paddlers to read the water or risk a swim. Now with that being said, as a spectator, it is always amazing to see the paddlers that make it through the rapids; but it is just as great to see the courage the others display when they do take a swim, and fearlessly get back on the water again to complete the race.

This year the first placed novices were all from North West University, Potchefstroom. Manfred Nieuwoudt was the first K1 paddler in 1 hour, 48 minutes, followed closely by Eniele Roux. The First K2 team was Zahne Struwig and Johannes Jordaan who completed the race in 2 hours, 5 minutes.

Overall K1 winner was Richard Cele (Victoria) with a bare 2 seconds to spare before Loveday Zondi (Soweto). Neil Butcher and Guy Crichton (Dabs) were the first K2 team across the line, followed by Robert Hamer and Anthony Welsh (Victoria).


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