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Winter arrived properly in the second week of June, but that didn’t deter the stalwarts of the Tuesday Morning School as about 15 braved the near subzero temperature before sunrise while the sensible remained in slumber. With most of our racing snakes being out of town for the Marathon Champs, some other aspirants hoped they might sneak a Time Trial win but Alex, paddling fresh after his trot down to Durban, took the win.

Down on the scenic canals in St Francis the weather started to clear on the Thursday and the first race was the Boys U16/18’s. Well done to Young Luke who came second; despite leading most of the way while suffering cramps, he earnt himself Dabs’ first ticket to Denmark in September. Fantastic!

In the U14 Guppie Boys Daniel from Dabs came second while in the U12’s Kyle (son of Ryno die main ou) won his race. In the U10’s Boys, Ruxoi was third, while in the U10 Girls Judy also claimed a third. Well done medalists!

The main event of the day was the men’s short course (3.4km with two portages) where Hank dominated from the first takeout to the end with Uli hanging on, while Clint, who was racing with a torn calf muscle, dominated the next group for a well earned third.

On Friday in the K1 age group races Dabs did really well. In the Woman’s Sub master’s Karen was second, while Callie won the Sub Great Grand Masters. In the Men’s Sub Vets, Mighty was second while Rob C was third. In the Vets, Wayne won convincingly (it seemed he spent his morning all alone) and Ricci was second, also all alone, almost 5 minutes ahead of the next paddler. The masters were far more closely contended, but Mat B didn’t make the podium. (He said he was saving himself for the drive back – apparently it’s huge responsibility with all those nice Nelos.) In the Great Grand Masters Boet came second, losing the end sprint by a mere second to some WP fellow; he did however beat another WP paddler and former Springbok Garth Watters, who back in the day was one of us.

In the next round of Guppy races Judy came second in the U10 girls followed by Amile from SCARC. Ruoxi came third in the U10 Boys, while in the U12 Boys Kyle claimed his second win.
In the U14 Boys Nhlamulo from SCARC won followed by Daniel from Dabs, while in the U14 girls Juliet from SCARC was third. We hope our winning youngsters keep flying our flags high in the years to come.

In the U18 Juniors all hopes and expectations were on Luke and Bruno – and they didn’t disappoint, winning in style by over 5 minutes, it really was a brilliant performance, which should result in more well-earned tickets to Denmark going to Dabs paddlers!



In the Senior Ladies, Christie (still a Dabs member and not about to leave, woohoo!) who seemed to dominate the race finished one second behind Jade Wilson in the end sprint, but she did enough to earn herself a ticket to Denmark. Jade is still an U23 paddler, and will most likely race at an U23 level over there. In the Senior men’s K1, Hamish hung bravely onto Andy until the end, but there was never any doubt as to who was going to win, which Andy duly did. Uli H was third and first U23, followed by Mat Fenn and Brad Boule who claimed a good third. Brad was our only paddler in Dabs colours; perhaps he is awaiting sponsorship, but our chairlady was very happy to see this. With the shallow beach-sand portages (as opposed to wooden decks) it was fantastic to watch how good the real racing snakes are at getting in and out of their boats. The worst example spotted was set by Raoul, but thanks for providing some good humour, and good on you for participating.


While all that was happening on what was Youth Day, Chuckie and Kevin H, along with ERK and Centurion paddlers took over a dozen novices down the Vaal, well done guys, it’s always great to see newbies getting to trip a river. It was interesting to see Chuck on the back deck of his K2 going down Kloppers; he said it was to show everyone what to do when you fall out in a rapid.

On the point of newbies, our chairlady would like to remind us of the fantastic incentive of a personalized limited edition Puma Dabs soft shell jacket to every member who gets a new member, plus if you get more than one member you will be entered into a draw for one never-to-be-forgotten prize – so who have you got lined up?


On Saturday in the K2’s Karen and Elandrie won the Sub-Vets while Cally and Carol won the Sub-Great Grand Masters. Go girls! Although not on any podium, we have to also recognise Gabi and Renschi for participating, and hopefully more people will follow suite, at a club, provincial and a national level. Marathons are all open to all, and the girls will tell you they had a great experience. In the Mens K2’s MJ and Rob totally dominated the Sub-Vets as did Marky Mark and Mark in the Sub-Masters. In the Sub Grand master’s Speedy Levin and Mnr Venter were second while in the Grand Master’s Rod P and Dave Rawlies claimed third place. A long time ago Mr Venter was one of Emmies’ best, as was Rawlies, a decade before that. In the final and main race, the Senior K2 Men’s, Clint and Hamish won really well, beating Hank and Mark Keeling by almost 5 minutes who only just beat Wayne and Brad into third. Clint and Hamish also won the SA K2’s last year, but Clint is now in the best form of his life, and we hope that Clint and Hamish along with Christie, Luke and Bruno, will do as well in Denmark; and we wait to see if the marathon committee will select any of our age group paddlers for Denmark – Go Dabs!

On Sunday for the Surfski Selection Trials the weather was sunny and almost windless, so the conditions were tamer than what we get at the High Altitude. Hank just edged out Mat Fenn, while Uli Hart was third, with 30 seconds separating the first three; as was the case for the first lady’s home: Kira Bester, Michelle Burn and Jade Wilson. First home from Dabs was Birthday Boy Clint Cook who paddled with Tracey van der Walt to come second in the mixed doubles to Hamish and Pippa. Next home were Rob C and Mat B in a double, and also out there was the indomitable Raoul, who created his own short course. On the subject of surf ski, two weeks later Hardi was still raving about how good the Turtle Tour was with its warm water currents making it an absolute must do; so start planning now!

Thanks and well done to all our club members who were in St Francis and sent through video footage from various points along the course to keep us up to date, it was much appreciated as was the support our paddlers got on the water – both Clint and Wayne said it was fantastic to be cheered at every corner, so well done to all the Dabs Dominators!


Next up; The Winter Solstice TT, a race against the sunset on Thursday, see you there!