Paddling should get more exposure

2018-09-18 12:44
Jasper Mocke in action in Portugal where he finished third.

Jasper Mocke in action in Portugal where he finished third.

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More exposure should be given by print media to paddling to help grow the sport, and journalists should follow the paddlers, their results and reports to put them on the same level as mainstream sports.

This is how Jasper Mocke from Fish Hoek expressed himself after he finished third in the 2018 World Marathon Canoeing Championships in Vila de Prado, Portugal, on Saturday 8 September in a nail-biting sprint finish.

“When I stood on the podium I was extremely satisfied that I executed my strategy and my preparation for the race. I felt that it was good enough for a podium position, but now I feel that I can come back and win it next time,” Jasper says.

Singing the national anthem was a profound moment. He sang the anthem loud and proud from the podium, joining the group of South African supporters in the crowd.

“Canoeing is the best sport in the whole world. It’s cheap, fun and best of all, there is no age or skill limit. I started canoeing at the age of 12, following in the footsteps of my late father, Godfrey, and older brother, Dawid, SA surfski champ,” he says.

Dawid, who is eight years older than Jasper, says that when he stopped surfskiing, Jasper took over the baton in canoeing.

“I’ve competed in many events across the globe, such as the Perth Doctor in Australia, the Cape Point Challenge in Cape Town, the Nelo Summer Challenge in Portugal and the Canadian Surfski Champs in Canada.

“The other prominent canoeists in South Africa are Hank McGregor and Andy Birkett and there is a fierce rivalry between us in the water. This helps us to improve constantly, but when we are not competing, we are all friends,” Jasper says.

He has finished second on several occasions in the Dusi and placed sixth in the one Berg River Marathon in which he competed.

Canoeing is not the only sport in which he takes part.

“Surfski and canoeing are different sports and I’m one of the few individuals who compete in both at international level. It is similar to mountain biking and road racing – there are those who do both, but very few compete at a higher level. I also run, gym and surf as cross-training,” he says.

When he is not competing, he is a father, husband and friend who enjoys an active and sincere life. He also helps his wife in her retail business and spends time with his two young sons.

“The media, especially print media, should give the sport more exposure. We need more journalists who follow the races, results and reports, to put paddling on the same level as they would with mainstream sports like rugby, cricket and soccer. South Africans are the best in the world when it comes to paddling, as well as our athletes, coaches and equipment manufacturers. I feel they should get more attention,” Jasper says.

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