Sport sponsorship is a big part of our marketing, especially paddling, which we’ve been doing the last 13 years. St Francis Bay is a sporting mecca and this is good for tourism and property prices.

Richard Arderne, Area Principal St Francis Bay

The 13th annual holding of this popular paddling race on the St Francis Canals is on Sunday 22 July 2018.

Local ace Phil Smith and Mathew Tebutt from East London are the reigning champions of the Pam Golding Properties Winter Canal Doubles Challenge.

The pair finished last July in a time of 1:29:19, beating the winners of the previous two years, Greg Louw and Rob Walsh, by 10 secs. Hein Van Rooyen and Luke McNish were a further 6 secs back. Despite a low tide, race conditions were good and a field of 50 paddlers took part.

The long course race was fiercely contested by four boats over the full 20km. With no team being able to establish a secure lead and with the finish line fast approaching, it was Smith and Tebbutt who took the initiative over defending champions Louw and Welsh to make a break for the finish with 500 meters to go.  Rounding the penultimate corner of the course and heading straight into the teeth of both the wind and current, Smith and Tebbutt dug deep to power away from what was left of the diamond and secure a well-deserved maiden win. The last boat in the front bunch was Richard Von Wildemann & Clint Hempel. Jason Goedhals and Robert Lee won the sprint in the 2nd bunch, with the other three boats being Jason & Greg Aubin, Richard Arderne/Ricardo Ngcayisa, and Rob Sunter/Nielen Beyers.

Because the race is held on the sheltered canals, it will go ahead in any weather conditions, and compliments the other paddling races hosted by St Francis Paddling Club during the year, namely the Pam Golding Properties King of the Kromme, held at Easter each year, and numerous surfski races we hold on the sea, most notably the Investec Sporty Anderson Surfski Challenge, held each year on 28 December.

Canal residents are asked to encourage paddlers coming past their houses, and if on their boats, to give way to the racing paddlers. Lifejackets are not required, and beginners are welcome to enter the shorter 10km course. Even if they don’t finish, it might be the start of a long love affair with paddling!

It is a doubles race, with the prizes only for doubles, but singles are very welcome, as are K3’s. As usual, Carbonology, the PE-based surfski manufacturer have sponsored a lucky draw, a Carbonology split paddle and cover, with a retail value of R2500.

The main event is the 20km long course, with cash prizes for doubles as follows: 1st plus trophy, 2nd and 3rd. The balance of the prizes is a bottle of very fine Pam Golding wine for each paddler for both the 20km and 10km race in the following categories: 1st mixed double, 1st ladies double, 1st local double, 1st over 55’s double, 1st U18 double.

Prizes only for doubles, singles very welcome. There will also be a SUP race (5km) and Guppie race.

Lifejackets are optional. For more info contact Richard Arderne 083 284 0168.