Umkomaas Challenge attracts a small field

2010-02-02 00:00

A RELATIVELY small field of about 70 paddlers turned out on Sunday morning for the inaugural LMV/Silic Umkomaas Challenge. This new 15 km event was hosted by the Umzinyathi Canoe Club in an effort to attract more new paddlers to this great river.

A team of sweeps in Crocs left the start 300 m above No. 8 rapid and spread themselves along the course at key rapids to assist newer paddlers with the correct paddling lines, and to mop up when things went wrong.

All but two crews reached the finish at Whisky Canyon farm, just below Josephine’s bridge, unscathed. The Umkomaas was flowing at a forgiving 2,1 m at Josephine’s, making for a safe but exciting race for all.

Sub-veterans Marc Germiquet and Warren Valentine won the race from Blaine Berresford and Brett Willson, with another sub-vet crew of Dave McKenzie and James Hackland in third place. Peter Terreblanche was fourth, in a K1. Mark Mulder and Sydney Olwagen won the mixed doubles in seventh place overall and junior Brittany Petersen was the first woman home.

Just to show that it is possible, even on the Umko, the team that did the Powerade Fish last year (Hugh Raw, Chris Watts, Claire Lindsay and Kate de Villiers), teamed up to paddle the K4. They reported it was great fun and no swims to place 18th overall.

The next race on the Umkomaas is the 32km A Class Bo’s Plant Hire Hella Hella Classic on February 7, which starts higher up the river, at High-Over Resort.

The event organisers, Durban’s Kingfisher Canoe Club, are giving a talk and slide show on the river at their clubhouse at 7 pm on Thursday evening.

This Saturday, they have organised 12 inflatable Crocs to conduct a rapid-by-rapid tour of the river from Hella-Hella to No. 8 rapid. The cost of hiring a Croc will be R90 per paddler.

Bookings can be made with Rob Davey at 083 459 3429. There can be no better way to learn the river, and have fun.


1. Mark Germiquet and Warren Valentine(SV) UMZ-NAT 0:45:17, 2. Blaine Berresford and Brett Willson(U18) NAT/MAR – FEZ/MAR 0:45:32, 3. Dave McKenzie and James Hackland(SV) NAT 0:45:40.

1st Woman – Brittany Petersen(U16) EPW 0:58:52

1st V – Jay Jenkins and Ian Shooter NAT-NGW 0:53:16

1st SM – Ant Wewege and Paul Smit NAT 0:55:04

1st M – Peter Duncan and Linton Hope STE-MSL 0:51:52

1st SGM – Nigel Briggs and Kevin Moran NAT-KIN 0:50:48

1st MD – Mark Mulder and Sydney Olwagen KIN-JCC 0:50:37

1st K1 – Peter Terreblanche KIN 0:48:16

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