Friday, 22 March 2019

My first canoe polo game

I've known of the sport of canoe polo for 25 years and I've been living in Parys for three years where this is a regular activity at our paddling club. Yesterday evening I enjoyed my first canoe polo game.

It should actually be called kayak polo, because we paddle kayaks with a double-bladed paddle... but the name of the sport is canoe polo.


This is a five-a-side, full-contact sport played on flatwater, where the objective is to score goals.

Paddling skills and ball skills are key - as is rolling; players are allowed to push each other over!

I need to practice my rolling this weekend and Celliers will work with me on more paddle stroke techniques to improve my manoeuvrability.

I'll play on Monday nights and look forward to getting much better.

(Yes, a Fluid canoe polo kayak - Celliers' design from when Fluid was his baby. Vagabond currently doesn't have a canoe polo kayak in our range.)

It feels good to run (Parys SPCA fundraising run)

I've been running most days of the week for a good 26 years. How much I run a week goes up and down according to what else I'm doing and how much time I have available.

I have had a number of times over the past few years where I have just been running so beautifully -and then I get hit with a nasty respiratory infection. I can count my blessings that I am rarely ill so these infections tend to really knock me.

Last year, going into June, I was on fire. Running nice and easy over any distance without blinking. And then I came down with an awful cough that was bad for two weeks and then hung around as an irritating dry cough for another two months - until I sought medical intervention prior to flying to the US. And even then it was still another few weeks before my lungs were properly right.

I've just been ticking over the past few months. I mostly run with Rusty, which means that I don't do big distances - between 5 and 8km (with some walking and sniffing). I've done some parkruns and myruns and Wednesday evening time trials.

I actually had a good timetrial last week. I ran to the park with Rusty -  a fast run to make it there on time. I met up with my mom at the park and she took Rusty while I did the 4km timetrial.

This past Wednesday evening there was a full moon 5/10km on the local golf estate -  a fundraiser for our SPCA, which has been in a mess. The NSPCA is overseeing it and a new committee of dedicated locals is being formed to take care of this very important organisation. One of our local runners is very involved with the SPCA and this was her initiative. These funds will be used for projects like created a grassed area for the dogs and other improvements to the facilities.

I haven't run a straight 10km on tar for ages but I figured that the run would be totally worth it.

The start - there were more people than seen here and also lots of doggies. I did leave Rusty at home - too much craziness for her! Photo from the Parys Gazette. That's me in the pink tee to the front right of the photo (next to the guy in the royal blue tee).
I had the most superb run!

At the start, we ran towards the full moon that hung gloriously above the road. I know the route well so I checked my pace and settled in. For the 10km it was a two-lap route - similar to that used my the Parys myrun but differing in that it stayed on tar the whole way.

I clipped the first 5km nice and easy and when I turned around at the start/finish, I was looking forward to the next 5km.

At the far-end turnaround (7.5km), I had seen a woman I know not very far in front of me. She has been running so well and beats me at the 4km timetrial. Distance is my friend and my 'rule' is "If you can see 'em, you can catch 'em". I kept it easy, waiting to get over the bridge for the final sections, which is just over a kilometre to the finish.

I caught her not far from the bridge and then dropped a gear through to the finish.

Perfect evening. Beautiful moon. Ideal running temperature. I felt good! Even better, not even an inch of stiffness on Thursday morning.

I really need to put in more distance more regularly. It makes me feel on top of the world. Working crazy hours just makes this challenging and I also try to fit in yoga, paddling and longer outings with Rusty.

Nonetheless, the run has left me feeling far more buoyant than I have been about my running and I look forward to making more time for me in the coming weeks.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Don't miss the boat (there may not be a next time). Come to our kayak race.

You have probably experienced the situation where you organise something, people are lax to RSVP (many don't even bother) and then your activity comes and goes. If too few people attend, you're unlikely to plan another... and that's when those who didn't come, didn't RSVP peak out about what a pity it is that there isn't another one and that they would really like to attend.

There is a BIG difference between liking to attend and actually attending.

The problem is that events and activities and projects don't often have the luxury of being repeated over and over and over in the hope that people wake up and rock up.

We've got a kayak race on 10 March, here in Parys. It is sure to be a lovely day for not only the race, but for hanging out and picnicing on the beautiful lawns of the Likkewaan Canoe Club. I know of a number of people who plan to enter but I have only received one official entry (for four people). Yes, I know there are still two weeks to go... I just get a bit nervous.


The focus of this event really is on any boat that floats. Bring whatever you have lying around and paddle it.

This event is a proof-of-concept. I'm organising this first one and possibly a second one. And then the plan is that once I've got the ball rolling, another guy will take over from me.

But if people don't rock up at the first one, how do we know they'll rock up at the second? Is it worth taking on the risk? And yet we know that this is something that people are interested in because we talk to people. This isn't a new idea for us.

There is always a lot of outrage when a good idea disappears. And it usually disappears for lack of support. To keep things around, you have to rock up.

If you miss this boat, there may not be a next one.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Yes, that is a Vagabond kayak in the ad

This morning Celliers did a double take. He was drinking his first cup of coffee and catching up on the News24 mobile app when he saw this advert...


Yes, that's a Vagabond kayak in the Investec ad (sans logo etc.). It is the Kwando, our children's kayak. Check out the beautiful shape, sleek bow, moulded-in footrests, stand-up platform, bottle holder positioned in front of the sculpted seat, paddle rest, 8" hatch, tankwell and, Vagabond's most distinctive feature, orange fittings. It is ours alright.

There are a number of versions of ads in this campaign; this one with a kayak, another with a juicer...

The theme behind the ads is that instead of spending R8000* on a kayak, you should rather invest the money. 

* Our recommended retail price on the Kwando is R3490, not R8000.

I've watched a few episodes of Marie Kondo's 'Tidying Up' on Netflix. She is a Japanese 'Mary Poppins' of tidying and organising your home, and packing and storing your stuff. When debating whether to keep an item or to turf it - whether an appliance, pot or garment, she recommends holding it and considering whether it brings you joy. If it brings you joy, keep it. If not, throw it out.

People buy kayaks for different reasons. To take on holiday every year for the next 15 years; or to leave at their holiday home or away-from-the-city farm to use when they are there; or to use regularly for sport, fitness and recreation. Kayaks, bicycles, juicers... these are once-off purchases that last for years (and have a resale value).

Personally, I like toys. From 20-plus years of adventure racing, trail running, mountain biking, paddling and orienteering, I have many toys that I've bought in this time - some dating back to the 90s. I've used them and cared for them. I hang on to my toys because even though I don't use all of them often, they enable me to do activities that I enjoy. They bring me joy.

There are simple ways to save money to invest. Cut down on the number of take-outs and restaurant dinners that you have each month (cheaper to cook that meal). Sell stuff you really don't use and that doesn't / no longer brings you joy. Avoid having accounts and debts - paying interest is a serious waste of money. Don't buy that pair of shoes / jacket / dress / bag - you have enough clothes. Don't buy - take your own lunch to work. These things are dispensable.

Like a bicycle or pair of running shoes, a kayak serves multiple purposes. It gets you outside. It disconnects you for a time from screens, internet, emails and whatsapp. It clears your mind as you focus on the water, scenery and splish-splash of your paddle. It is a physical activity - good for the heart, muscles, lungs and mind. It is a tool for adventures and can take you anywhere on the sea, dams and rivers. It brings joy.

Investec, I get what you're trying to say, but I think you're wrong about the kayak (and the juicer). 

Trim things that can be done without and put that money aside. Choose wisely and spend on toys that will fill your life with joy through activities and adventures for many years to come.