Sella and Spain – August 2012

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2012 by antstott

For the first time since winning world champs together in 2008 Cam Schoeman and I decided to jump in a boat together once more. The objective – to go and race against most of the worlds top marathon paddlers in Spain. After a few months of extremely intense training we flew over to Europe see what we could achieve.

To watch the start and the first 12min of the 2012 Sella click here. The actual start is at about 2 min 30 sec into the video.

Trip Summary: Rio Mino K2 -1st, International K4 Ribbadesella -2nd, Aviles International K4 -2nd, Sella Descent -5th (35 sec behind winners), Villaviciosa K2 -7th.


Dusi 2012

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2012 by antstott

This year I saw The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon from a totally different perspective. Normally I am up in the front with my heart rate through the roof and trying to win the race. Side lined by an Achilles injury this season and unable to run I decided to do race purely for enjoyment purposes. The 100 km’s of paddling was done at a leisurely pace and the 20 km’s of portaging was all walked from start to finish.

The focus of this years race for me was to help create awareness for ‘The Unlimited Child’ charity. This is a great initiative that has learned that unless children between the ages of 0-6 years old are exposed to effective stimulation, their potential in life is stunted, forever. By providing training, educational toys and ongoing support, they enable caregivers in underprivileged crèches to give children the stimulation they need to achieve their potential.
I teamed up for this years race with the amazing Bonang Matebha who is a very well known TV personality. Bonang hosts the music show ‘LIVE’ on SABC 1 on Friday evenings. She was also the first black lady to be on the cover of FHM magazine and was voted as one of the top 10 sexiest woman by the same magazine. We started off in the charity batch on day one in what was called ‘The Ginger Army’. The team was lead by a real ginger in the form of 5fm sports reader Sias Du Plessis and joined Expresso host Liezel vd Westhuizen, Deon Bruss and Greg Van Heerden. The whole batch of 120 paddlers all started with big ,orange, afro wigs and was quite a spectacle to behold!

Bonang took to the challenge well and considering that she had not done too much preparation for the Dusi she did brilliantly to make it through the toughest first stage if the race.

Sadly Bonang suffered a bad asma attack on the morning of day 2 and was unable to start the second stage. At the last second race sponsor and CEO of ‘The Unlimited’ Steph Bester stepped in and took Bonang’s place in the back of my boat. Also a first time paddler Steph did really well to keep it together and drag himself through the final 2 days of Dusi. I think it was great that the race sponsor got to see the race through the eyes of the paddlers giving them a far better idea and clearer perspective of what the Dusi Canoe Marathon is all about.

This years Dusi helped create great awareness for my sponsors, Matelec, PeptoSport, New Balance and Knysna Racing Paddles as well as for my new business Bamboo Warehouse. We received brilliant coverage in the media getting exposure on the front page of newspapers as well as good TV time. Bamboo Warehouse also had it’s branding on many of the top crews where there was an incentive paid out for the first boat bearing Bamboo Warehouse stickers to cross the line in Durban. This prize went to Cape Town’s Jasper Mocke who was partnered by KZN’s Craig Turton.

Hank K1 World Champion while we get a DNF…

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2011 by antstott

I very impressive race on Saturday saw Hank McGregor win the mens K1 world title. Shaun Rubenstein raced a great race to come in 4th, very close behind. Today Mike Mbanjwa and Eric Zondi had a brilliant K2 race to finish 10th in the World!

This morning saw the racing of the mens K2 marathon where Graeme Solomon and I got to test ourselves. With the extreme heat and humidity the plan was to stay out of the ‘red’ zone as much as possible. Wise words from Shaun Ruby advised us not to let our heart rates get too high early on as it will a struggle to get them back down in the heat. After watching the K1 race the day before we saw how the guys were struggling in the last few laps.
After a decent start we were comfortably on the back of the front bunch of about 7 boats just trying to stay out of trouble. When there were some hard burns towards the end of the 1st lap we decided not to kill ourselves to stay with the group as we would under normal circumstances. We kept calm and controlled, settling into a 2nd group of 4 boats sitting not too far behind the front group watching them as they jostled for positions. At the 2nd portage we were 24sec off the leaders when we saw one of the top Spanish crews in the front swerve off the course with a broken rudder. The Hungarian boat dropped off the front leaving only 3 boats on the front group. Our chasing group then shuffled into a new group of 4, things were looking great.
Our bunch started to get pretty close to the leaders but we decided it was not ideal just yet to catch the leaders as it would result in a bunch of 7 boats too early on. We would keep calm and slowly over the course of the race work our way up to the leaders hoping for some of the other boats in our group to tire slightly so as to pose less of a threat at the end. Just before the 3rd portage I noticed the rudder was not working too well so asked Graeme to take a look at it at the put-in of the 3rd portage. After a quick look he said it was fine and we pushed on. A kilometer and a half later after we rounded one of the turns and then needed to straighten out again the boat just kept turning, way off track… I had no control of the rudder yet again! Can you believe it! 2 years in a row the same problem!! Unheard of!!!
Just at the point were all was setting up perfectly, we were both still feeling so fresh, saving our bodies for the second half of the race. We paddled to the bank got out and could not find the cause of the steering problem… We tried once more to get going again but I could not control the boat no matter how hard I tried… We went to the bank again, this time we opened the rudder cap at the back and looked inside the boat, the steering system had once again pulled off the sides of the boat leaving the rudder useless. With no way to even continue as the boat could not even go in a straight line… We were sadly forced to withdraw… Heart breaking stuff as my whole reason for training so hard and coming back to worlds this year was to make up for our misfortune of last years worlds…

Our attempt at World Champs race coverage

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2011 by antstott

Live Streaming possibility? I got a mail from the organizers this morning saying that they are still working on the live streaming and it could be up on the official site by the time we start. Hold thumbs!

Due to the serious lack of any form of race coverage it seems we will be forced to follow the race on Twitter.

Maybe I will even ask Shaun to log onto my Twitter account @AntStott to give K2 race updates which will then also come up on the right margin of this blog , if not then you will just need to follow @ShaunRuby.

I have kindly asked Shaun to give twitter updates for our race which starts at 5am SA time on Sunday morning also using @ShaunRuby on twitter.

If you are not on twitter you can go onto Shaun’s website, if you scroll down sightly you will see the tweets popping up on the left hand side just below the calendar. Unfortunately this does not seem to be working on Shaun”s site…
You will also eventually have some luck on the ICF latest news page.

Shaun’s website twitter seems to be a bit unreliable… But this should work- If you don’t have twitter you will need to go to Sign yourself up, and then once registered do a search in the twitter search bar for @ShaunRuby  and then click on follow him.

Singapore World Champs update

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2011 by antstott

The South African masters have piled on the medals over their past 2 days of racing showing us just how it’s done. Click here to see the ICF report on how the masters have done or you can check for updates on the ICF facebook page. Basically the coverage of this years event seems to be pretty poor and it will be difficult for anyone for to follow the senior races live… Maybe we can organize some sms updates sent out via the guys who run the SA Kayak e-mails or on twitter through @Kayakmedia? I am sure that can come together, but sorry guys, no live streaming this year…

Our new K2 (Nelo Quattro) is perfectly set up and feeling race ready. We did a very hard session in the heat today with the other SA K2 crew of Mike Mbanjwa/Eric Zondi who seem to going well and I predict a good result from them as I feel they will do well in the heat. Our K2 is still feeling solid. We got a glimpse of the top Spanish crews today, current World champs Bouzan/Fuiza, and multiple world champion Mercahn with his new partner. There are a few other potent crews here so the race is going to be insane! The heat will surely play a factor but I am not quite sure how just yet, it’s difficult to picture the race not being fast off the start? I predict the pace will be really fast but then you will get some crews paying the price later on and dropping off the pace. another major factor is the thunder storms which we have had every afternoon… After 9 deaths in Singapore from lightening just this years the organizers have been pulling us off the water to safety every time one passes by. If this happens during the race things could get interesting… no result or pace car/boat after the re-start like in F1 racing?

World Champs – Singapore

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2011 by antstott

This is just a quick little update to tell you all that the SA team arrived in Singapore safely. All of our athletes are ready to give it their all in the realistic hope if bringing home some medals.
Graeme and I are racing in the new Nelo Quattro which really seems to be suiting us better than any other boat we have paddled! For those who are a little nervous about our steering breaking again, not to worry! Nelo has come up with a fantastic very safe system which is bound to be problem free.
The course is spectacular, the water is a bit lumpy from a few of the tourist boats but our K2 still seems to be slicing through the water without ever missing a stroke.
I must say that it is very hot and humid here and some of the Europeans seem to be struggling a bit, as for the Durban guys, we are loving the heat!
The masters start with their racing tomorrow. Shaun and Hank race their K1 race on Saturday at 3pm (11am SA time). Our race is at 11am (5am SA time) on Sunday.
At this stage I am not sure of how we can keep you updated on racing but hope to figure a way as the week progresses. The pathetic official race website is here. The most informative thing I can find so far is here.
Below is a picture of the city bowl we are racing in along with the jetty for the end of the portage.

Link to the Singapore weather forecast by Windguru.


Breede River Marathon

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2011 by antstott

Expecting low rivers it was great to see some of the Breede Rivers tributaries carrying good water the afternoon before the race.
For the start of day 1 near Robertson the river was flowing at a medium-low level but a lot fuller than what we had for the warm up race 2 weeks earlier. Off the line there were 4 boats away forming  the front bunch which ended up sprinting it out for the stage. Graeme and I had a strong finish holding off the challengers of King/Schloms, Bohm/Glass, Rabie/Birkette.

On day 2 the river was up by half a meter and as the front 4 boats went off in elapsed time we knew we were in for an exciting day. With about 600m to go all 4 boats were still together. Rabie/Birkette with the pull, us on the left wave, King/Schloms on the right wave and Bohm/Glass on the diamond.
The afternoon after day one we had come down and spent over an hour checking out the channels before the finish. On a low river only the left channel is open but this is a much slower route than the straighter right hand channel used on a fuller river.

Approaching the finish and with the river being nice and full it was clear that all 4 boats would choose the faster right hand channel. As we paddled closer to the entrance of the right hand channel something really strange happened… The boat on the right started yelling “GO LEFT!”. Surprised we looked around but the yelling continued but now getting a lot more desperate! At the last possible moment all 4 boats cut almost 90 degrees across  the river towards the left hand channel. As we committed to the slower left channel the boat that had been shouting for us to go left cut back across the river to the faster right hand channel. But for the 2 stronger boats it was too late to turn and we had to take the longer route.
As the 2 channels rejoined 400m before the finish line my heart sunk as I saw the other 2 boats now with a 60m lead…

The results were as follows: 1st King/Schloms, 2nd Bohm/Glass, 3rd Stott/Solomon, 4th Rabie/Birkette. Slightly unexpected and a little disappointing…

Pre race press
During race press
Post race press

More Racing

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2011 by antstott

Robertson – Bonnivale (Breede River)
2 weekends ago I flew down to the Cape to do some training in the K2 with Graeme. On the Saturday we raced in one of the Breede marathon warm up races. With the river being extremely low the much lighter crew of Pierre-Andre Rabie and the other Andrew Birkette seemed to have the better of us through the shallow sections. Fortunately the finish was in a deep pool which allowed Graeme and I to put the hammer down to sneak past them in the sprint to take the win.

Camps Drift Night Race (Pietermaritzburg)
Last Thursday evening was a very special occasion as Cam and I decided to jump in the boat again for the first time in 3yrs. The last time we paddled together was when we crossed the line for the world title in the Czech Republic in 2008.
It was great fun to be racing with Cam again but we had our work cut out for us by the well tested combination oh Hank and Grant who took the first hot-spot prize. The 2nd hot-spot prize was at the end of a portage so Cam and I made sure we took that one! In the end it was Hank and Grant who with a very strong sprint took the race win.
For Cam and I that old feeling in the boat is still there but we definitely need a few sessions in the boat, and maybe in daylight to bring it to the surface again!

 Dam2Dam 2 day river adventure
Over the weekend I did a new race on a section of river I have never seen before. Day 1 was from albert Falls weir down to Cumberland farm and day 2 from there to Nagle Dam.
The concept is that you have to race as a pair, so either in a K2 or as two K1’s making it fairly tactical but a lot of fun!
I teamed up with Shaun Griffen in K1’s. Shaun is a master in the tricky stuff making him the obvious choice for a race filled with A grade rapids all being negotiated blindly.
The first 18km of Day 1 was pretty straight forward allowing the K2’s the advantage but coming into the final 10km of awesome and technical rapids the K1 teams started closing the gap. At the overnight stop it was Mbanjwa/Zondi (K2) in the lead with Birkette/Mulder (K1’s) about 2min back in 2nd. Then there were 2 more K2’s followed by myself and Shaun (K1’s) in 5th.
Day 2 saw us off into the unknown on a section of river that promised to be packed with non-stop action and adventure! Within a few kilometers we had already caught and overtaken two of the K2’s, our choice of paddling K1’s was starting to pay off! After about 45min we came past Mbanjwa/Zondi (K2) who started the day in the lead and 4 and a half min ahead of us. Now all that was left out front was the K1 pairing of Birkette/Mulder and this was how things stayed until the finish.
Paddling through one of the most beautiful, untouched, remote valleys that I have ever seen, down some of the best rapids that I have ever encountered, this is a race that will be marked in my calendar as a ‘must do’ every single year! Thank you to DUCT and the Lembethe Canoe club for opening my eyes to to one of the best rivers in the country and it’s literally right on our doorstep!

SA Marathon champs, Singapore bound!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2011 by antstott

After last years disastrous world champs in Spain Graeme Solomon and I decided to put all of our energy into being selected for the national marathon team in the K2. The SA champs was raced in bitterly cold conditions on Shongweni dam just outside Durban. It was not long before we were down to a front group of 4 boats which stayed that way for the entire race. There was always pretty good action for the spectators as the bunch came into and out of the portages. At the final portage Cam and Brandon had some admin allowing the other 3 boats to fight it out for the colour of their medals over the final kilometer. Hank and Grant took the win with Graeme and I 2nd and Mike Mbajwa/Eric Zondi in 3rd.
With 2 boats selected per race, per country this meant that Graeme and I secured a spot in the national team to race in the World Championships in Singapore at the end of October.

Flat water marathon season

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2011 by antstott

Still a bit sad that I had to miss this years racing in Spain there was at least some kind of consolation. This year for the first time the province of KZN had a 4 race flat water marathon series. With SA champs and trials being on the same course it was perfect race practice for the big event.
In the first of the 4 warm-up events I won the singles.
The 2nd race was hotly contested with myself, Cam, Len and Brandon VdV making up the front bunch. In the end it was the determined Cam Schoeman taking the sprint with me in 2nd, followed by Brandon and Len.
Race 3 with most of the top guys in K2’s I had an easy win.
For the final race of the series Graeme Solomon flew up from Cape Town to join me in the K2. After an extremely physical race with more than enough barging and contact in the portage are, as well as its fair share of unnecessary drama, it was Cam and Brandon who snuck past us in the final seconds to take the win.