One-hundred-and-six boats, one-hundred-and-thirty-something paddlers,
eight sitters, two standers, one swimmer and a dog!
The annual Stanford River Festival took place in ideal conditions on
Saturday 2nd March on the beautiful Klein Rivier. The event is a mix of
serious racing and not-so-serious fun! It offers something exciting for
all levels of paddlers including those who just love plonking along in a
boat with friends and family!
Line up at King Street for the start! A colourful spectacle of boats,
jokes, laughing insults and a small measure of anxiety. The serious
racers are at the front, strategically looking for the best way off the
line. Just behind a jostle of anxious youngsters looking to be in on the
action and at the back the fancy dress party! The starter calls and the
race is off – churning the still water into a tumble of waves out to
topple the unwary.
From Stanford the river carries the paddlers out toward the lagoon. The
turn for the 15km route is just on the edge of the lagoon where the
sleepy water loses itself in the shallows and the flamingos, in unison,
ignore the passing race. It takes about 36 minutes for the first
paddlers to reach the turn. At this point just over half of the 5km race
has finished. Joshua Loubser [U14] came storming through in 23 minutes
and 1 second on a Ski chased home by Emma Privett [U12] in a Guppy.
Third across the line was Daniel Burls [U16] in a K1. First dog across
the line, stylish bandanna ad all, was Gemma [U6] in a fine hand made
wooden kayak! Joshua, Emma, Daniel and Gemma are all from Stanford Canoe
The Wooden Boat Regatta at the The Stanford River Festival was a new
thing this year. Graceful, shining wooden hulls mingled with the dowdier
K1s and K2s bringing a touch of class to the river. Let’s hope we see
more of them next year! Local builder Neil Eberhard took the prize for
best presented wooden boat on display at the festival.
Meanwhile, with the 15km racers now racing back for the finish line the
first 10km paddlers were coming home. Rodger Duffett [M] was first back
in 54 minutes and 57 seconds. Racing to the finish, up-and-coming
paddlers Khanyisa Ngaxa [U14] and Sibongeleni Mzimba were second and
third. The first five places in the 10km were all Stanford paddlers with
fourth and fifth going to Nonelela Mqalekane [U14] and Samkele Mgengo
[U14] respectively! Go Team!
One hour, seven minutes and thirty five seconds after starting out Lance
King [S] from Milnerton Canoe club crossed the line to take first place
and the points for the Western Cape Canoe Union Presidents Trophy.
Second place went to Luke Stowman [S] from Paarl and third to Ernest van
Riet [V] from University of Stellenbosch. The first lady home was
Christina Geromont from Milnerton Canoe Club [U23] in 1h23m46s closely
followed by Amy Duffett [U14] from Stanford. Third lady in the open
category was Lindi-May Harmsen [V] from Milnerton.
Of the one-hundred-and-thrity-something paddlers about 35 paddled in the
under 18 category! Our friendly rivals from the Paarl Developmont club
made the journey from their home river – the Berg River – to join us on
the Klein Rivier. In the Boys Junior class Matthew Privett [U16],
Stanford, took line honours in 1h12m53s. Bevan Duffett [U18], Stanford,
was second across the line and Eugon Williams [U16] from Paarl was
third. The Girls race was a Stanford clean sweep with Amy Duffett [U14]
first and Neriyah Dill [U14] second.
Let’s not forget to count the Guppies! A special sprint race over 2km
was held for the Guppies aged 8 to 12. Tia Hector from Paarl took this
one from Emma Privett [Stanford]. The girls led the way in this one with
Lucian from Paarl coming third! Well done to Jahkahyda [Paarl], Sibusiso
[Stanford], Whitney and AJ [Paarl] and Joshua, Boaz and Tristan from
And so, another river festival came and went! It was such a pleasure to
enjoy this very special place with all who came! A big thank-you to all
who worked to make it happen especially for the support of the Grootbos
Foundation and Stanford Tourism! Funds raised at the event go toward
supporting the Stanford Canoe Club Development Academy.
Author: Rodger Duffett
Images: Wilien van Zyl