Post by Mark Lewin
I have had a diary entry on www.customkayaks.co.za called the Marks Diary. With the new blog I will be posting this on the website and blog untill they are linked. Here is this months edition of news of paddling and shop talk. Hope you enjoy.
BUSIEST PERIOD – The past 3 months has been the most concentrated and busiest in our existence. We have almost completed the Summer surfski series in Durban with record entries, big surf and record results on our craft in all the categories. The Dusi Canoe Marathon moving to February has bunched together the Drak Challenge, the Dusi Marathon and the non Stop Dusi all into a 6 week period around February. The Lifesaving season has also run its course with the Central Natal and Natal Champs being held in huge surf, and again incredible performances on our craft.
DURBAN SUMMER SERIES – Our BULLET single surfski has really hit the podium with some impact during this series, which has seen entries of up to 270 paddlers in big surf, small surf and flat conditions. Mark Mulder better known for his river capabilities will probably finish third on the podium overall on his BULLET. Brandon van der Walt, last years top junior, on a BULLET, beating his older brother Grant for the first time. Both leading male and female juniors are on BULLET single ski’s and Jenna Ward (junior), is likely to have her best season ever and will probably be on the podium in the top three overall in the series, which will be a first for a junior girl. There have been wins in the double ski section on our APEX 2 double ski for the Nesbit brothers, with APEX 2 paddlers on the podium regularly throughout the series in a number of the categories.
RIVER SEASON – Mark Mulder once again, posted a top 10 gold medal in the Dusi Canoe river Marathon on his LEGEND XL K1 and could possibly have done even better if the running legs of the race did not play so much of a big part in the outcome. This was evident in the Non Stop Dusi 2 weeks later where he finished 4th overall. 1st K1, and only beaten by 3 double K1 combinations. An amazing performance. The LEGEND and LEGEND XL remains one of the most top performing K1’s in South Africa despite a few new models being launched by other manufacturers, which have not appeared to have made that much impact on the results.
LIFESAVING COMPETITION – Our TITAN single surfski still dominates the start line and the podium, at the major competitions, and I have used this season to develop a new TITAN 2 single surfski. An adjustable model with a new shape will be on the water at next weeks S.A. Lifesaving Champs in Cape Town. The new shape has focused on the ability for the top paddlers to leg drive during the paddle stroke and better run off displacement of “splash” down the decks in the surf. The new deck shape allows for very strong structural support, making the ski more bullet proof than it already is. The cockpit has been tilted slight forward allowing for a more aggressive posture while paddling. It has also resulted in the ski being a bit more stable for novices. The Natal senior and junior lifesaving double ski titles were won on APEX 2.
BACK UP SERVICE – In the past, the concentration of our Summer season has been made up of 4 months of river racing from October to January, Surfski from Mid January to the end of March and Lifesaving from mid January to March, with only two weeks of an overlap of all three disciplines only in the second half of January for two weeks.
This year with the Dusi Canoe Marathon moving to mid February, all three disciplines were jammed into a 2 month period making it very difficult to keep up with repairs and service to all our products. I think that this affects us more because we have craft in all three paddling disciplines. During this period we have also managed to keep up with export orders and develop a new lifesaving spec ski. It has therefore been difficult for me to keep the Website up to date.
OTHER STUFF – With the help of Barry Lewin, we now have a Facebook and twitter profile, for more spontaneous results and articles. The website will get an upgrade soon connecting these various media. I have been off the water for almost 4 months recovering from some superficial surgery to remove scar tissue from my back caused by years of paddling in uncomfortable cockpits that we used before I started to design my own. It also does not help that I have a 6’10” boney frame. I am back on the water again looking forward to our Winter series, which I think is going to break all records this year, if the sales of our HORIZON single ski to new paddlers is anything to go by.
I am also off to Cape Town next week to the S.A. National Lifesaving Champs with a 30 strong Marine lifesaving Club Team, that this season is made up of more than half the Team from the Development squad that I coach. I am so proud of these guy’s. Some of them have never left Durban before. This season we can expect to see some of these guys in teams that will make finals.
See you on the water