Excellence in all categories as water sports thrive at Lake Florida

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Florida Lake remains a hotbed of water activity, producing several top performers.

Affiliated with the various water sports governing bodies, the Florida Lake Canoe Club (FLCC) is located on the shores of one of the premier water training and participation venues. For all ages, paddlers, skiers, swimmers and rowers have the freedom to grow, prepare and challenge for the greatest aquatic prizes South Africa has to offer.

Earlier in the year, on February 19 and 20, the people of Roodepoort showed incredible tenacity as they took on the Dusi Canoe Marathon. The grueling race is known to take its toll on man and boat, with several canoes breaking before the spirits of their pilots. FLCC paddler Tristan Trican and partner Shelley carried their broken boat but unfortunately despite repairs the boat sank in a dam on day three en route to the finish line.

Chanelle Fraser in the Green Life Jacket. Photo: provided.

Sean Jones, who completed his 18th Dusi with lifelong friend Kevin Atkinson, was another couple who got knocked out in a broken canoe after his nose broke on the first day but soldiered on. Day two didn’t go to plan either as they collided with another pair in the famous ‘Washing Machine’ section of the rapids. This accident broke their canoe in two but they were determined to reach the finish of the last 35 kilometers before the 5:00 p.m. cut-off. Unable to repair the ship, they were forced to retreat but crossed the line on foot anyway, a feat worth any medal.

Surf skiing is a sport usually associated with the crashing waves of the beach; however, using a speedboat to generate waves on a lake, the Dabulamanzi Canoe Club pioneered the world’s only high altitude Surf Ski Challenge. Rising to the challenge, Chantelle Fraser of FLCC had her first appearance in the Emmantia Dam surf ski race on March 3, finishing in a time of one hour 13 minutes.

Surf-ski challenge at the Emmantia dam. Photo: provided.

Florida Elementary School’s Chane Steyn has been selected to represent the Gauteng Canoe Union at the SA Sprint Championships in Cape Town, April 23-25. On her first big trip away from home, Charne shrugged it off to put on a series of finishes.

A long-distance specialist, Chane’s best result was sixth in the 1,000m in seven minutes and 23 seconds. The Florida Yacht Club and the Canoe Club merged about a decade ago and while Yachting members sail on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Canoe Club holds time trials on Wednesday evenings at 5:30 p.m.

The next big event at the lake will be round three of the Gauteng Canoe Marathon Championships on Sunday 15th May.

Chane Steyn at the Gauteng Schools Championships. Photo: provided.
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