The 14th annual Pam Golding Properties Canals Winter Challenge, hosted by St Francis Paddling Club, will be held this year on Sunday 21 July 2019. The start is at 10am, with registration from 9am at Quaysyde, Sea Glades Drive. No online entries, just enter on the day. Lifejackets are not compulsory. Beginners and non-members and visitors are welcome.

The course is the regular St Francis 5km time trial route, through the sheltered picturesque canals, with an outgoing tide, making for a fast straight down the old main canal, but some hard paddling into the tide from the small boat harbour to the Cove. The 10km route is two laps, and the 20km main race, is four laps. There are no portages! Canal owners will be warned, but paddlers need to keep a look out for boats.

It’s once again a doubles race, either 10km and 20km, with R3000 in cash prizes for the first three places in the long course, and lots of other prizes: ladies, mixed, over 59’s, juniors, first local (and first over 59 local male estate agent). Singles are very welcome, but there are no singles prizes. There will also be guppy races. 10am start at Quaysyde. Sumptuous lunch included in R150 entry fee. Big thanks to Carbonology for once again supplying one of their fantastic split paddles (valued at R2500) as a lucky draw.

The winners over the past four years were: Rob Welsh and Greg Louw (2015 and 2016), Matthew Tebbutt and Phil Smith (2017), and Ricky Talevi and Grant Ahlschlager (2018). Who will it be this year. Local Phil Smith must be a favourite, being fit as always, and he might team up with another fit (and not so young) local Stephan Vorster, who will be very hard to beat.

See you on the podium?