This last weekend saw paddlers from all over South Africa join us for our first Pink Lady® Drakenstein Canoe Race. The race was sponsored by Pink Lady® Apples in association with the Drakenstein Municipality and Paarl Canoe Club. Other sponsors included Riebeek Cellars and AQRate for the bridge prizes and some great product sponsorships for goody bags, prizes and technical support from Tru-Cape, Fruitways, Dutoit Fruit, Pioneer Foods, LvR Designs and Knysna Kayaks.
The best paddlers in the Western Cape and from around the country formed a strong field of 160 paddlers who participated in the race. With the Berg River water levels being at the lowest level in 20 years it was a very technical and challenging race. Once again we were inspired by the passion and dedication of the paddlers at the frosty morning starts.
The first day ran 32 km from Gouda to Bridgetown over such difficult obstacles as Black Rock Rapid and Yster Pen which, as usual, claimed several victims in the form of broken boats and “swimmers”. The dice for first bridge prize of R2500 (sponsored by AQRate) was won by veteran paddler Graeme Solomon.
The second day was hard fought and ran from Paarl to Skooltjie Bridge, just outside Wellington. Brandon van der Walt emerged the victor with less than minute between himself and second place Greg Louw and Graeme Solomon in third on Day 2. The Bridge prize, “Win Your weight in Wine” sponsored by Riebeek Cellars, at Lady Loch Bridge was won by Brandon van Der Walt . He won an incredible 85 bottles of Riebeek Cellars Wine! His prize for first position was R10,000 sponsored by Pink Lady® Apples.
The ladies race was also hard fought with first prize going to Bianca Beavitt of the Pink Lady® team. For the first time in the history of our sport Miss Beavitt won more prize money than her male counterparts , R10,001. Second place went to Jenna Ward. Special mention should go to Martine Beukes for winning the Pimp Your Canoe Pink prize. Her canoe was all dressed in pink and she paddled the race sporting a pink wig.
This exciting race saw several of our Paarl Canoe Club paddlers do extremely well: Giel Van Deventer(2nd Great Grand Master), Ryno Van der Westhuizen (1st U18), James Horner (1st U16 boys), Bartho Visser (2nd U16 boys), Heinrich Schloms (5th overall), Louw van Riet (8th overall), Jermain Pietersen (12th overall), Luke Stowman (17th overall) and Diveano Pietersen (18th overall). Our ladies also did exceptionally well. Most notably Joritha Prins (2nd Sub vet women), Justine Williams (1st U16 girls) and Ansune Basson (A novice who placed 9th in the women’s division). All our paddlers did very well despite being against this extremely competitive field.
To celebrate the end of the race the Pink Lady® Boogie on the Berg Family Market was hosted at the Paarl Rugby Club. Great food, a warm atmosphere and music from The Bottomless Coffee band welcomed the paddlers back after their race.
The prize giving was hosted here and finished off a very successful weekend of paddling by announcing all the winners for the race, plus the winners for the Pink Lady® Super Second prize, the “win your entry back” and the winner for the K1 Canoe that was raffled to raise funds for the Development Team. A special thank you to everyone who bought raffle tickets. An incredible R6520 was raised for the Development Team.
The money raised from the entry fees will largely go toward the Paarl Canoe Club Development program, which promotes the up liftment of the community through sports and education. It is ably coached by Wayne August. We are extremely grateful to all the sponsors but especially to Pink Lady® Apples who have shown they live by their motto “so much more than just an apple!™”.
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