River Canoe Marathon
Embargo : None
Louw & Birkett back to defend Fish crown
Cradock - Having romped to an impressive K2 title in 2015, Andy Birkett
and Greg Louw will return to Cradock for the 2017 Fish River Canoe
Marathon eyeing another shot at taking home the title from 6-7 October.
The laid back pair of KwaZulu-Natal's Birkett and Cradock's own Louw
formed a strong partnership during the 2015 season that saw them race
the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships together and then race at the
Fish where they beat the strong K2 duo of Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocké
for the title.
Birkett has been in fine form this year winning the N3TC Drak Challenge
in January, the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon in February and then grabbing a
silver and a bronze at the recent World Marathon Championships in his
home town of Pietermaritzburg.
For Merrell/Knysna Racing’s Louw, who isn't a full-time professional,
getting in the training can be difficult however he knows that stretch
of river so well that he just makes sure that he is fit enough to
"I am a financial planner these days so I definitely don't have as much
time to train as I used to but I try and get in at least one paddle a
day," he said.
"Although I don't paddle as much as I would like I still get in some
good weekend training sessions which sort of makes up for the lost time.
"Andy (Birkett) is probably one of the fittest people that I know so
there is never a doubt that he is going to be in tip-top shape when we
get on the water."
The 2015 champions have a strong bond as a combination and their
friendship off the water is something that enhances their relationship
on the water.
"We have done so much paddling together that we don't really need to do
too much preparation.
"It would obviously be better if we could train in the build-up but we
live so far away from each other that we will just have to make sure the
boat is set up correctly and that not too much has changed in two
years!" Louw added.
Having hosted the recent ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, South
Africa has become the preferred post-Worlds holiday destination for a
number of the international paddlers, meaning the international entry
might be slightly higher.
Louw has seen a number of internationals at the Fish in the past but he
believes that this year might be a bit different.
“The international guys in the past have come short quite badly on the
Fish due to the big water.
“There are a number of international guys entered for this year’s race
but the difference is that a number of them have entered with
experienced South African paddlers.
“They always posed a threat but I think this year they are going to be a
real threat to us!
“With these strong pairs we can normally narrow it down to about ten
boats that can dominate the race,” a circumspect Louw mentioned.
Despite the fast nature of the race and the pressure on maintaining
concentration throughout, Louw does see the importance of making sure
you don’t empty the tank too early on both days.
“The race at the front is always so quick and close so you have to make
sure that you don’t make any mistakes because one small mistake can cost
you the race.
“With that said, it is equally important that you make sure you conserve
yourself because those last ten kilometres can really dish out the hurt
if you have gone too hard, too early!” he added.
The 2017 Fish River Canoe Marathon takes place from Grassridge Dam to
Cradock Sports Complex on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 October. More information
can be found at
Event: 2017 Fish River Canoe
Championships: 2017 South Africa K2 Marathon Championships
Date: 6 & 7 October 2017
Venue: Cradock, Eastern Cape
Stages: Day One - Grassridge Dam to below Knutsford Bridge (48km)
Day Two -
Below Knutsford Bridge to Cradock Sports Complex (36km)
Social Media: #Fish2017
download the hi-resolution pic
Fish River Canoe
Marathon 2017 Logo - JPeg
With the 2015 title under their
belts, Merrell/Knysna Racing's Greg Louw (front) and Euro Steel's Andy
Birkett (back) will be back to defend their Fish River Canoe Marathon
title on 6-7 October.
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