Colourful canoes dotted the Klein River on Saturday during the annual Stanford River Festival.
Felix Unite, one of the organisers of this canoe race on the Klein River, says there were about 150 competitors this year. He says it is less than last year, but this was due to the timing of the event and explains that many of the competitive paddlers were involved in other sporting events. He adds that this year, there were also no stand up paddlers (SUP’s), because there was another SUP event at Canal Walk.
Unite says despite this, the event had immense support from local paddlers in the Overstrand, which made the event unique and illustrated the local support for the sport and the event.
The Stanford River Festival serves mostly as a fundraiser for the Rock the Boat Development programme, a partnership between the Stanford Canoe Club and the Grootbos Foundation. The programme aims to develop children from local communities in the sport. Unite says this programme has gone from strength to strength as the local paddlers compete regularly and on provincial level. “The children recently brought home 13 medals,” says Unite.
One of the highlights of this year’s Stanford River Festival was the inclusion of wooden boats in the race, there was also an exhibition by BPM Toolcraft of tools used in wooden boat building.
Unite says next year this initiative will be grown and other wooden boat builders and paddlers will be invited.
Another new initiative planned for next year’s festival is the inclusion of boats with solar panels. He explains that the energy from the solar panels fuels a small engine on the boat. Unite has high hopes for this initiative and anticipate some real innovative crafts.
Phil Murray, fundraiser for the Grootbos Foundation, says many people and organisations made this day possible. “Thank you to everyone who came to paddle, to cheer from the banks, and who helped to make the Stanford River Festival a success. Thank you to the Stanford Canoe Club, Stanford Tourism and Business and its members for prizes, the Grootbos Foundation, the Cape Whale Coast Office, Overstrand Municipality, the Paarl Development Canoe Club and those individuals whose interest and passion for canoeing makes this event possible.’
Results:The winner of the 15 km main race for men was Lance King with Luke Stowman in second and Ernst van Riet in third.
The winner of the 15 km main race for women was Christina Germont with Amy Duffett in second place and Karin Sfreddo in third.
In the Men’s 10 km, Rodger Duffett was the winner and Loraine Bewsher took first place for the woman’s race.
Joshua Loubsher was first in the 5 km men’s race and Emma Privett was first in the women’s race.
Matthew Privett was also first in the mens u-18 and Amy Duffett in the woman’s u-18. In the 2 km Guppies race, Lucien Coetzee was the first boy and Tia Hector the first girl across the line.
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