Getting started at Dabulamanzi

1. Getting registered: join the club
Download and fill out the registration forms here or collect the forms from our office. Office hours are 8am to 1pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday 12pm to 5pm, Thursday 12pm to 19h30.
If a paddler wishes to compete on either flat water and/or river races, it is also required of the paddler to register with the Gauteng Canoe Union (GCU) - see our club membership page for details on our different membership options. The canoeing/racing calendar runs April 1st – March 31st. The AGM is held on the last Thursday of March after the time-trial.

2. Access to the club
Once registered, the paddler will receive a grey disk, which grants him/her access to the change-rooms (ladies will receive a key for the ladies change-room), and access to the boat yard/main parking-lot. The disks DO NOT float!

3. Getting started
Once you are a registered member, you are welcome to use the facilities. With access (grey disk) to the boat yard each paddler is also welcome to use the clearly marked “club boats”, which can be found in the club racks – the floating racks next to the little rock outcrop. Please see our  club boats page for more information. Paddles can be found against the racks. DO NOT help yourself to any other boat(s) – they all belong to a member. Chat to Orcillia Aubertin if you wish to purchase a rack for the year to store your boat. Boats of the same category, i.e. K1s “single” (a single-seat kayak (canoe), K2s “double”, a two-seater, a K3 and even a K4) vary in width and volume but not in length. If you are starting out a YETI (the name of the boat is on the kayak/canoe) is the most stable. Once you feel more stable a MANTA or an ASSEGAI are the boats to try. All three can be found in the club racks, as well as some stable doubles (K2). Please replace boat(s) where they were found. Please don’t hesitate to ask members for assistance when trying to locate the club boats.

4. Make progress: time-trials
Please see our time trial details page for times and racing guidelines. Every Monday, there is a Beginner’s 3- or 5-lap time-trial. It is an excellent session to experience paddling in a group and/or on your own when the water is slightly choppy due to other boats. It is also an ideal time to learn to ride waves of other boats, and how a ‘diamond’ works. It is important for all paddlers to be aware of where he/she is on the dam in relation to other boats. Always keep closer to the bank to allow faster boats to pass on your inside.
Once you are comfortable and confident in the boat, the Thursday 10-lap time-trial should be given a bash. Thursday is our “social evening”. The bar opens at 16h30. Please join us before, during or post time trial for a tot or two. There is a fantastic vibe and the view is hard to beat. Wayne (our club chairman) makes announcements regarding the club, races, paddlers who’ve achieved etc.
Sunday’s time-trial is also 10 laps.

5. Before you can race
There are a few requirements before a new paddler can start competing in any of the flat water and/or river races. Firstly, a new paddler needs to complete a FLAT WATER PROFICIENCY, where you are required, on the dam, to show that you are capable of handling the boat under given instructions by the tester, i.e. paddle two laps of the dam, paddle backwards, show that you are in control of the vessel, falling out, swimming to the bank and emptying boat. Speak to Paolo Magni (072 711 8444) to arrange a date and time. It will take approximately 45mins. Cost R100.
The RIVER PROFICENCY generally takes place on the Klip River (45mins from clubhouse) where the paddler must negotiate his/her way down a 5km stretch, boasting a few small to medium size rapids. Again, please contact Paolo to set up a date. Cost R350.
Once a new paddler has completed the proficiency tests he/she is free to race any of the C-Grade river races (only). To qualify for B grade races (e.g. The Dusi, Fish, etc) a paddler must have 6 points. Each completed C-Grade race will earn the paddler a single point.

6. More offered at Dabs
Keep an eye on the Dabs weekly newsletter for upcoming events and news. Contact Ocrilia Aubertin to be added to the mailing list, or follow updates here. There are 4 Pro-Am time-trials in the year – where experienced paddlers are paired up with beginners to complete a 7-lap time-trial. There is also the annual Dabs Dinner Dance, which take place in October. Additionally you can join in for the 4-Hour Enduro, Ten-in-One, Annual Arm-Wrestling Championship and much more. Keep an eye on our events calendar here.
If your kids want to start paddling, Phineas Zulu (073 217 6183) offers Guppie/kids coaching throughout the week and weekend. Alternatively contact Loveday Zondi (072 596 2138).
If you would like to try something a little different try SUPing through SUPfitness with Chris Couve (079 516 4944) or Holly Spencer (076 480 1547). Chucky at Canoe Concepts also offers SUP’ing classes and lessons.

7. Events calendar
Get news about upcoming events and races from the Dabs Newsletter, or view races on the Canoeing South Africa website (here). The major river races start in September and finish in March. Keep an eye out for flat water races during the winter. Also note dates for school events, sprints and flat water races.