As many elite paddlers focus on winning SA titles at the K2 River championships at the Breede River Canoe marathon, Cape star Heinrich Schloms has another interest.
He’s given himself the task of taking girlfriend, Anti Delport down the river for her first canoe marathon.
The ‘Nurture A Novice’ programme caught Schloms attention as the race organisers have had a solid response, the programme aims to encourage new paddlers to enjoy a two-day, 72-kilometre trip down the Breede River valley between Robertson and Swellendam alongside experienced K2 partners.
‘It’s up to us top paddlers to get involved to introduce and accompany a newcomer down the Breede. We can’t be selfish. Our sport needs new paddlers and this is a great way to get them involved in a really nice race,’ said Schloms 2011 race winner alongside Lance King.
‘I know some of the top guys are thinking about the SA K2 titles but I think it’s just as important to get involved in this novice programme, to help give the sport long term support and grow our numbers,’ he added.
Loyal supporter Delport, who was at Schlom’s side at a recent Berg River Canoe Marathon, says she’s excited but nervous for her first big river race.
‘I told her to relax, hold onto her paddles and just enjoy the trip, it will be more of a sightseeing trip for us than a race, Schloms commented.
Delport who is a history lecturer at the Military Academy in Saldanha, showed promise at a recent Hermanus to Stanford race which marked her first attempt, as she had swapped her seconding role for a place in the back of a double with her boyfriend.
With the approaching rains set to determine the character of the 2018 race next weekend, organisers are delighted that the ‘Nurture A Novice’ campaign supporters will bring a relaxed atmosphere to the race although water levels might prove to be low on the race-days.
The 2018 Breede River Canoe Marathon is set to take place from Robertson to Kam’bati River Resort outside Swellendam on 25–26 August.
Photo: Schloms and Delport, by Gameplan Media
Stage One – Saturday 25 August
Start time: 10h00
Robertson (McGregor Bridge) to Riggton River Farm, Bonnievale.
Stage Two – Sunday 26 August
Start time: 8.30am
Bonnievale (Riggton River Farm) to Kam’bati River Resort.