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The Breede River Marathon 2013

After one of the wettest seasons in recent memory, the Breede River was flowing at a wonderfully full level to create the perfect environment for some great K2 river racing at the annual Breede River Marathon – one of South Africa’s premier K2 events.

The Breede is known as the perfect bunch racing marathon event. The flat sections are just long enough for a bunch to get into great rythm, making for great hunter/hunted racing. However, after every flat section there are great flowing sections and channels for the river legends to take advantage of flowing water.

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This year’s Breede completely lived up to it’s legendary form of previous years with some of the country’s best paddlers and combinations teaming up to go for the title. In the ladies race it came down to a sprint finish right at the end of the race, while in the men’s race there were at least 6 boats that could’ve taken the win.  The results speak for themselves so download them and have a look.

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Tom Schilperoort and Jasper Mocke showed their racing and competitive abilities by taking risks that would pay off. They outraced a classy field.

The race also showcased the amazing young talent coming through the ranks, especially from Peninsula Canoe Club’s ORKA training squad where one could see the young ones did no take on wrong paddle stroke.

Close racing with mere minutes separating rivals was a theme throughout both days of racing, not only at the front end of the race but all the way to the last paddlers.  In the end, a tiny mishap could cost you precious seconds which would affect your final position.  This was seen in an all to clear way at the race’s two major obstacles:  Sliding Weir on Day 1 and the Drew Bridge portage on Day 2.

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Tight channel racing is a feature of the Breede race. Here Sean Rubenstein and Sean Rice lead the bunch into a channel. They were a dominant force on the race but a mishap at the Drew Bridge portage would eventually cost them. They will be representing RSA at the World Marathon Champs.

The full river made for numerous options through rapids, channels and obstacles over both days which meant there was never any time to relax mentally.  Also the eddies and swirlies created by the strong currents, especially below the rapids, had paddlers guessing most of the time.  A good result would eventually be the product of hard racing combined with “no mistakes” and, if you wanted the win, taking some risks.

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Robyn Kime and Bridgitte Hartley do a quick portage over Drew Bridge. Kime And Hartley were leading Day until loosing their bunch at Sliding Weir. Eventual winners Alexa Cole and Eliose van Gysen reeled them in and it became a close race to the end. Here at Drew Bridge a number of boats gained, while a good few lost, some advantage.