In keeping with the spirit of the 2010 World Cup, at 10 am on Saturday 19 June the charismatic Peninsula Canoe Club Chairman, Mark Torrington, blew his vuvuzela to signal the start of the 2010 Swartland Canoe Marathon under perfect racing conditions: a full Berg River, brilliant sunshine, blue skies and no wind.
Previously at race registration, the paddlers milling around had rubbed shoulders with a celebrity, namely Riaan Manser, the solo adventurer so well known for his circumnavigation of Madagascar. Further excitement was thrown into the mix for the seeded paddlers when Peninsula Canoe Club’s Graeme Solomon, drained after racing hard the previous weekend at the S.A. Marathon Championships and then a week trying to shake off a cold, arrived at Skooltjie Bridge to register as a last minute entry. Having registered too late for seeding, he was positioned in the last row of the seeded paddlers. From here, he put in a terrific charge to chase after the front seeded paddlers which included race favourite Pierre-André Rabie of the University of Stellenbosch, who had won bronze and gold in the U21 category at the S.A. Champs.
With a healthy flow of some 25m³/s, Klei rapid (5 km into the race) proved to be a mix of adrenaline and swimmers, with some 40% of the field ending up giving the interior of their boats a good rinse here. Oblivious to the mayhem behind him, Graeme Solomon’s herculean efforts paid off and after Grensplaas he caught up with Rabie and Peninsula Canoe Club’s very promising Alasdair Glass. Drama unfolded when the leading breakaway trio approached a tree-block and Solomon put in a burst to lead the group into the block only to get stuck, showing the others that a better tactic was to do a quick portage which allowed them to then slip past a stranded Solomon.
Rabie then sped off, dropping Alasdair Glass, while Solomon continued his powerful chase to close the 1 minute and 10 second gap Rabie had opened up.
After Roostuin, Solomon, having dropped Glass in the hard grind, caught Rabie and these two raced together until a tree-block about 6km before Zonquasdrift. Solomon had an unsuccessful seal launch off the block which resulted in a swim, allowing a clean run home for Day 1 Winner Pierre-André Rabie some 2 minutes clear of 2nd placed Solomon.
In the Senior Women’s event, Peninsula’s Jemma Hofmeyr’s three swims didn’t make for a happy day of paddling but was enough to see her home well ahead of 2nd placed Robyn Henderson (Milnerton) and Matie’s Kirsten Penderis in 3rd.
Day 2 of the 2010 Swartland Canoe Marathon began with a misty start at Zonquasdrift and Rabie, Solomon, Glass, Peninsula’s Edgar Boehm (jnr), Milnerton’s Chris de Waal and Greg van Heerden formed the lead bunch. Rabie and Solomon soon showed their class and paddled away from them, while Glass encountered problems in the tree blocks in the first 40 minutes and put paid to his hopes for a podium finish.
As the sun burned through the mist to reveal the scenic beauty of the Riebeeck valley with snow-capped mountains in the background, the terrific tussle continued up front with Rabie and Solomon swopping the lead. Solomon led into Black Rock Rapid but then got stuck, holding up Rabie whilst he got away.
Rabie then gave his all to reel in the talented Sub Veteran, and these two played cat and mouse until just after Ysterpen rapid. While desperately trying to shrug off the tenacious Rabie, Solomon ran into serious trouble in a tree-block when the 30m³/s flow very nearly destroyed his boat. Meanwhile Rabie slipped through to gain an unassailable 5-minute lead.
Pierre-André Rabie was then able to romp home to Bridgetown, crossing the finish line with his infectious smile, and assuring his position as the overall winner of the 2010 Swartland Canoe Marathon, with Solomon’s final position 2nd and Edgar Boehm 3rd.
In Day 2 of the Senior Women’s event, Jemma Hofmeyr had a brilliant start then a clean run to finish 17 minutes clear of Robyn Henderson with Kirsten Penderis 3rd overall.
Peninsula Canoe Club is to be commended on a well-organised, rapidly growing K1 canoe marathon which has been designated to be the venue for the 2011 S.A. K1 canoe river championships. This is a clear indication that this event, held along the most technically enjoyable and scenic stretches of the Berg River, has matured to take its well-deserved place on the S.A. canoeing calendar as a premier K1 canoe race.
1. Pierre-André Rabie, University of Stellenbosch – 5:54:41
2. Graeme Solomon, Peninsula – 6:01:43
3. Edgar Boehm (jnr), Peninsula – 6:16:59
1. Jemma Hofmeyr, Peninsula – 7:10:59 (40th overall)
2. Robyn Henderson, Milnerton – 7:27:38 (52nd)
3. Kirsten Penderis, University of Stellenbosch – 7:36:16 (55th)
1. Joseph Willimas , Paarl – 6:40:39 (13th)
2. Michael-Lee Farringer, Paarl – 6:43:43 (17th)
3. Luke Stowman, Paarl – 6:51:00 (21st)
1. Pierre-André Rabie, University of Stellenbosch – 5:54:41 (1st)
2. Erich Andrag, University of Stellenbosch – 8:10:24 (69th)
1. Graeme Soklomon, Peninsula – 6:01:43 (2nd)
2. Greg van Heerden, Milnerton – 6:19:00 (5th)
3. Daan du Toit, Milnerton – 6:51:00 (14th)
1. Henri van der Merwe, Peninsula – 6:19:12 (6th)
2. Ian Trautmann, Peninsula – 6:24:46 (8th)
3. Marius de Waal, Outeniqua – 6:43:25 (15th)
1. Chris de Waal, Milnerton – 6:18:14 (4th)
2. Rob Hart, Peninsula – 6:25:56 (9th)
3. Dean Richards, Peninsula – 7:16:23 (43rd)
1. Ian Glass, Peninsula – 6:43:39 (16th)
2. Daantjie Malan, University of Stellenbosch 6:45:52 (19th)
3. Hugo Lodder, Outeniqua – 7:18:15 (45th)
1. Andre Rabie, Paarl – 7:19:26 (46th)
2. Mike Monson, Peninsula – 7:26:51 (50th)
3. Johan Serdyn, University of Stellenbosch – 7:33:11 (54th)
1. Gerfied Nebe, Peninsula – 7:16:18 (42nd)
2. Giel van Deventer, Paarl – 7:24:27 (47th)
3. Peter Unite, Peninsula – 8:06:35 (67th).