Breede River Canoe Marathon Media Release
13 Sept 2017
Drought forces rules changes to Breede Marathon
Robertson - Organisers of the 2017 Breede River Canoe
Marathon have made a bold call on the format for the race this
weekend, as the river system continues to suffer under the
worsening drought in the Western Cape.
Despite rainfall on the weekend that pushed up the water level
in the Breede River to around 14 cumecs, the level dropped
dramatically and is currently around four cumecs, ruling out the
shallower top section of the Breede that is traditionally raced
on the first stage.
The race will be held over the section from Riggton Farm close
to Bonnievale to Kam’bati Resort, the usual second day of the
marathon, racing the same 33,5 kilometre stage on both Saturday
“This is a fall-back plan that has been used successfully in the
past when the river level has been low,” said race committee
head Russell Ikin. “We used it is 2015, and raced it at a
similar level earlier this season.
“Bearing in mind that we get mostly K2s but also a few K3 and a
few K1s, we are mindful that we need to be able to race the
whole race without risk of boat damage.
“There are a number of tributaries that enter the Breede below
Bonnievale which makes this easier to paddle in low river
conditions. There is a little rain forecast for late in the
week, but as the rain needs three days to get into the main
Breede system, it won’t have any bearing on the race,” he added.
The pre-Breede race from Riggton Farm to Bonnievale was raced in
similar conditions a few weeks ago, and while paddlers had to
portage through the Waterfall rapid, the rest of the river was
With a number of international paddlers travelling to the Cape
for the race after the recent World Marathon Champs in
Pietermaritzburg the race organisers are determined to offer as
much of the traditional Breede experience, both on and off the
water, on the occasion of the race’s 50th anniversary.
“The drought has asked a lot of us, both as residents in the
region now facing level 5 water restrictions, and as paddlers.
The Berg marathon was the second lowest ever, and despite better
rains in the build-up to the Breede, the marathon will be a low
one this year.
“What I know we can count on is that the paddlers that have
entered the race will come to the start with the usual positive
attitude that we enjoy at the Breede every year.
“The drought is what it is. The paddling community understands
that and has shown remarkable enthusiasm. I know they will bring
their positive adventure spirit to the race this year,” he
The race has seen a good entry of over 100 boats, including 4
K3s and 18 K1s, with the balance of the field being K2s that
traditionally support this event well.
The 2017 Breede River Canoe Marathon takes place from Bonnievale to Swellendam on
16 and 17 September. More
information can be found at
(click to download
Click HERE to download
Canoe Marathon - Horizontal on white (JPeg)
Low river levels have
forced the organisers of the 50th anniversary edition of the
Breede River Canoe Marathon to run the race over the lower
sections of the Breede River.
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