The South African kayaking national championships were held recently, using the exact same course that will be used for the ICF canoe and kayak World Cup in 2016 and World Championships in 2017. Every course is slightly different and people love to get the low down so we’ve put together a quick overview of the course and the weekend.
Quite a few people take part in the Devises to Westminster International Canoe Marathon (DW) every year, with competitors ranging from existing kayak world medallists to people with only a few months paddling experience. Lots of people complete the Waterside and Thameside series and then DW but don’t have another canoeing target lined up, and we think that’s a shame so Paul put together a list of races we think would be worth a try.
Over the years I’ve heard of quite a few interesting races, though I should confess I haven’t taken part in all of them yet! (At the time of writing I’ve done five of the races, and although I’ve done DW as the four day stage race I haven’t done it straight through – maybe some time…)
Run on the Yukon river in Canada, this is as much an expedition as a race. The Yukon runs through some real wilderness and just making it to the finish is a big ask. The organisers give you a GPS so they can track you and pretty much wave you off at the start and wait for you 1000 miles later after 7 to 12 days paddling. You have to take a 6 hour break overnight (enforced by the GPS you carry) but other than that you’re free to race however you think best. You can use a kayak or canoe, and people have done it in singles and SUPs. It really sounds like a tough challenge, especially carrying all of your food and kit of so long. The organisers website says they’ve had 300 miles of cold rain, metre high waves and forest fires (not all at once thankfully!) but you can be sure Canadian lakes are going to be gorgeous on a good day. Oh, and they have bears wandering around up there too.
The race runs on even numbered years (2016, 2018…) if you’re tempted. Or maybe the shorter Yukon River Quest (450 ish miles) or the Yukon 360 (which is on a different river in the Yukon each year and only three days long).
If the Devises to Westminster was your idea of heaven then the Cheshire Ring might be as well. It hasn’t gained the same popularity and kudos, perhaps because it’s shorter. It’s 96 mile race along a series of canals with 92 locks and 5 tunnels, and you’re allowed to do it K1 unlike DW. You can also enter as a team and do a relay, each boat doing one section, if you don’t fancy the whole thing. Continue reading