Who will be the 2019 King of the Kromme

The St Francis Canals and adjoining Kromme River truly do lend themselves as a wonderful leisure and sporting facility. Our canals have become hugely popular with not only sunset cruises sipping a glass of wine but also for the energetic who plough up and down the canals in their canoes and paddle skis. And every Wednesday, winter and summer you will see those committed to their training regimes paddling madly to record the best possible times in the weekly time trials held by the St Francis Paddling Club.

Paddling has become a major sport in St Francis and attracts top class paddlers, including from around the country including a few world champions  for races in the recent past that have included both the Eastern Province and South African Canoeing championships.

The canals and river also play host to the Annual Pam Golding Properties King of the Kromme and is being held for the 14th consecutive year. This year the race is being held on Saturday  20th April and is set to start at 2:00pm from in front of Quaysyde Restaurant. With high tide at 4:30 on that day the organisers are hoping for perfect wind and tide conditions for an epic event..

The event is being held on Easter Saturday afternoon for the second year running rather than on Easter Monday as it was in the past. This should help attract an even bigger and better field and Richard Ardenne of Pam Golding  is hoping for a field of 100 paddlers or more..

2018 King of the Kromme Jasper Mocke 2nd from Left

Last year the event was won by Jasper Mocke a world renowned paddler with several international accolade on his CV. Other winners include Port Elizabeth’s Greg Louw who has won it twice, Luke McNish, Scott Johnson, Calvin Zeelie Jordan Zeelie Juan Maree (Cradock) and Dave Hamilton-Brown (Joburg) as well as paddling legend, Matt Bouman of Durban. Great things are expected of local paddler Phill Smith who we interviewed about his chances a few weeks back.

The 20km route is from Quaysyde restaurant, through the canals for 1km and then up the beautiful Kromme River for about 8km until the Geelhout tributary for a further 2km to the turn. This is a particularly special stretch, with indigenous bush right up to the banks, and the river becoming ever narrower, until it is only about 8m wide at the turn. Many St Francis residents have never been up the Geelhout, and paddlers cherish this once-a-year opportunity.

Then a race back the same way, against the tide! And a sprint finish at Quaysyde in front of hundreds of spectators, enjoying their refreshments.

It is a singles race, but doubles are very welcome (and there are also prizes for doubles). The main prizes are R2000 for the long course (20km) singles winner, R1000 for 2nd, R500 for third, and R500 for the first lady.

There is also a 12km short course, also with plenty of prizes.

There is the usual main lucky draw, a split-shaft Carbonology paddle valued at R2500, kindly sponsored by Carbonology.

The entry fee includes a sumptuous meal from Quaysyde and a St Francis Brewing Company Beach Blonde

It’s clear that the quality and size of the field is ever increasing.that day it promises to be an epic contest this year.