Monday, 16 October 2017

When in Parys... go kayaking!

This weekend was a treat with a visit from my dear friend Allison. This was her first chance to come and see and experience my new (almost two years!) home.

The water is low, at around 30 cumec, but this also makes it a very friendly level. Some bumpy rocks in places but with easy-to-negotiate rapids, especially for beginners. We put Allison on a sit-on-top whitewater kayak - the same as mine - and she did superbly on her first time on our Vaal River. She took a swim early on, which is never a bad thing because once a swim is done then there is no need to spend the rest of the trip in anticipation of one. She also swam on the last rapid - but only after unintentionally catching a good surf on the wave.

I had a good outing too - no swims bar one at Gatsien while surfing. I'm learning more techniques, like ferrying across the river using the current and also surfing in rapids. Both are good fun and I'm enjoying the benefit of improved skills.

Ruben is paddling like a star. Celliers took the photos and Estienne, who is training to be a river guide, came down with us for the fun of it. We put in at Otters Haunt and paddled about 10km downstream to take out at our friend's place. It was a beautiful day with sightings of two goliath herons, a grey heron and a likkewaan that swam across the river towards us.

On Wednesday at the paddling club Celliers is going to get me and Ruben into polobats - the canoe used for playing canoe polo. Last week he taught a young paddler to learn how to do handrolls (rolling the polobat using your hips and hands - no paddle) and this will be good practice for me and Ruben too (and another young paddler has asked him to teach her too). 

Next week or the week after I'll get back into my sit-in whitewater boat to practice rolls and I'll also spend more time with the sit-on-top playing and surfing at Gatsien. 

This is a summer for learning.

Allison taking a rapid beautifully.

Allison coming through in style.

Allison missed the line (to the right of where she is) and showed us how to negotiate a shelf. She did good and recovered from a near flip to make it downstream. 

Ruben and Celliers.

Estienne coming through.

Me. Having fun.


Me and Allison.

Ruben totally rocking.

Ruben doing so very well.

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