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This past weekend our sisters were busy doing it for themselves, when the Dabs Darlings went away on tour to Durban. Caren, Dorette, Elandrie, Gabbi, Karen, MJ (the lady version), Pippa and Renschi drove down to join Christie and Tracey Nuss; another Dabs Darling that visits us every now and then, who arranged the paddle. A very mixed bunch, in terms of age, personalities and paddling experience.

On the Saturday morning they joined a group of about 50 Gerries (Geriatrics) who are based at DUC and were very accommodating. They organised the girls’ boats and partners and taught them a lot, taking them out around the harbour and up into the wind towards Toti, before they turned back to enjoy the swells and runs home. Well done to all and especially to MJ who got sea-sick but couldn’t chunder as she was in the boat with the GoPro, and to Caren our super secretary, who did not only paddle her first ocean paddle but her first 12km paddle! After this they all had breakfast and Mimosas together while celebrating Copper’s (geriatric) birthday. Hank, our HASSC celeb, also joined them and shared a few stories.

The weekend away was about far more than just the ocean paddling experience, and you can check some of it out here: https://youtu.be/DCVSeINyg_E . As one of the Darlings said: 

“This tour was definitely one of the best I have ever been on! The love towards each other, the positivity, laughs and motivation have been something to experience. Every Darling had a chance to do something out of their comfort zone and they all exceeded over and above expectation. It was all so special.”

Well done for getting out there girls; we are sure this was only the first of many tours to come and we hope to see you flying our Navy’s flag real soon.

 While the Darlings were having fun in Durban, Tex was further down the coast in Gqeberha, competing at the National Life Saving Championships. Tex bagged 5 medals in the pool, 2 on the beach, and one in the surf. Well done Tex! Back in the 1980’s Graham was a professional Life Saver with Durban Surf and one of the first paddlers the legendary PE2EL, which was then known as the Texan Challenge. In those days if you wanted to compete you had to be a qualified lifesaver; they paddled in little red Speedos, without hats or lifejackets, let alone leashes, cell phones or safety craft. Hard core stuff, plus some guys actually smoked Texan’s too. Anyway, that’s where Tex’s nickname comes from; and although the race name has long since changed, we hope it remains as is, despite the recent change of the race’s start name.

Still further from Dabs, Durban, or PE; and far away from paddling was another Graham who was once one of Dabs’ greatest. Monty, who won everything from the Fish to the Berg to the Umko back in the 80’s and 90’s is still as competitive as ever, and was on the GGM podium at the Absa Cape Epic. Great achievement, well done Monty; we hope to see you back on the water at the best club in the whole dam universe.

 And then far, far further away is the UK. While most normal people will be hunting for Easter Eggs this coming weekend, spare a thought for the not so normal Raoul and Danny who will be tackling the Devizes to Westminster. This 125mile race is billed as the world’s longest non-stop canoe race, and with 77 locks there is a lot of portaging too. R&D are planning on taking a slow cruise, but even then 200km is no mean feat. Good luck boys – make us proud.

Marathons are up next. They are not just for the racing snakes; they are good training for all and need supporting. Then the Dabs Mixed Double League starts on April 20th, so find yourself a partner now! Lastly, it’s the Freedom Paddle at the end of the month and we hope to see our some of Navy and our New Navy Darlings out there and having fun. Go Dabs!
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