River Canoe Marathon Media Release
: Dave Macleod
Evergreen Van Deventer takes aim at Berg No.49
Paarl - When the entries opened online for the 2018 Berg River
Canoe Marathon, there should have been no surprises that the
first entry lodged came from the evergreen Giel Van Deventer,
aiming to extend his record as the paddler to have completed the
most races in this iconic event’s history.
Van Deventer, now 68 years old, will win his 49th Berg medal
should he reach Velddrif on Saturday 14 July, and edge his
staggering record of finishes closer to that elusive 50 medals
“A few years back while I was doing my fortieth Berg Bruce
Clarke paddled past me and asked why I keep coming back to do
another Berg year after year,” said Van Deventer, who now works
for the Berg River Irrigation Board.
“I told him that it is my yearly medical check-up. Every time I
complete another Berg I know that I am still physically OK.
“On the mental side I suppose one should do another test but we
leave that topic for another day!” he quipped.
Van Deventer has been a hearty supporter of the new team format
adopted by the Berg and co-opted fellow Great Grand Master Lood
Rabie as his team mate for the 2018 race.
The duo raced the recent Orange River Marathon, and while many
paddlers are adopting a wait-and-see approach given the four
year long drought that has ravaged the region, Van Deventer has
his sights firmly set on the race.
“My Berg team mate Lood Rabie and I have just done the Orange
River Descent and we both agreed that there is nothing else that
gives you as big a thrill as a fast moving full river.
“The Orange was flowing at 650 cumecs (cubic metres per second).
We wished we could just divert a small fraction of that big
water down to the Berg!” said Van Deventer.
“The Berg has now been low for three drought-stricken years in a
row. In the past hundred years we never had three dry years in a
row so we are confident that 2018 will be a normal year again.
“Never mind what the weather prophets predict, statistically it
should be a normal year again.
“So far in 2018 we had much more of the normal Western Cape
weather patterns, with lots of south-easterly wind storms in
summer and rain during Easter weekend.
“Global warming gets blamed for our lower rainfall over the past
three years. I don’t agree with this theory because warmer
temperatures may just as well cause more evaporation from the
oceans which will lead to more moist air in the atmosphere which
could cause even higher rainfall.
“My gut feeling says we will get normal rainfall this winter
with good water levels and Lood and I are looking forward to an
exciting Berg 2018,” said Van Deventer.
“I will try to get to at least 50 Bergs and thereafter I will
consider stopping if I feel that the old body is taking too much
punishment,” explains Van Deventer. “But 50 Bergs will allow me
to rest in peace!”
Normal entries are now being taken online at
until Wednesday 27 June after which a R250 late entry penalty
The Berg River Canoe marathon
starts in Paarl on 11 July and ends at Velddrif on 14 July. More
information can be found at
(click to download
Click HERE to download
Berg River Canoe Marathon
Horizontal on white - JPeg
Grysbaard. The evergreen Giel van
Deventer will be lining up his 49th Berg in July. "50 Bergs will allow me to rest in peace,"
said Van Deventer.
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