As per our previous Chairman “Richard Arderne“:
With safe, sheltered paddling in the canals, long river paddles available up the Kromme (navigable for 14km), and the usually calm sea in the Bay, St Francis is a paddler’s mecca. On top of this are the world-class downwinds to JBay and Oyster Bay for the more adventurous. When I moved permanently to St Francis in 2005, Pete King and a few others paddled regularly on the canals in winter and on the sea in summer. Earlier, Gavin and Nigel Harvey started Christmas surfski races in the early 1990’s.
I thought we should have races during the year and in May 2006 we organised a surfski race, our first mid-year race in the ‘new’ era. It was a great success in huge conditions! In 2007 we started the Easter ‘King of the Kromme’, and the Canals Winter Challenge, now two long term fixtures on the calendar. There were also various other less regular races, eg Downwinds to JBay.
In 2010 new permanent residents Chris Opperman and MJ Potgieter insisted that we form a club, and St Francis Paddling Club was born! At about the same time, various other local paddlers joined.
Besides our Wednesday canal time trials, there is paddling on Mondays, for some in the sea (usually the sheltered 10km route to Shark Point and back), and for others on the canals, as well as other days. Downwinds to JBay and Oyster bay have become much more regular. We now hold about eight races a year, usually with more than 50 paddlers, up to about 100 for the two races held over the Christmas-New Year period.
Our time trial every Wednesday evening at 5.30pm, once or twice around the 5km route in the St Francis canals, is sheltered even in the worst weather. The spreadsheet of times, updated and emailed to our members – It contains a record of each paddlers attendance for the year to date and all PB’s (short and long, single, double and K3), and all records.
We are very grateful for the assistance of the NSRI, the Canal Owners Association, and the ECCU for their financial support.
See you on the water!