After making waves in its debut season last year, the Euro Steel McGregor Paddle Series is set to spread its wings in 2017, starting with a brand new event at Emmarentia Dam in Johannesburg on Saturday morning, starting at 8am.
“Everyone is invited, even if you are not a registered paddler and getting started in the sport,” said series founder and multiple marathon canoeing world champion Hank McGregor, who has offered to paddle the time trial in a K2 with a young beginner.
“We will be focussing on doubles at Emmarentia, so that is a chance for experienced paddlers to offer a chance to a novice paddler to get their first taste of canoeing.”
The ‘dices’ are run in easily managed distances of 4 kilometres or 8 kilometres, and offers R10 000 in prize money across all ages, categories and levels of canoeing experience.
“Expect lots of spot prizes and fun incentives, for the novices and Guppies as well as the elite racers,” said McGregor.
“Many people have seen the awesome movie ‘Beyond The River’, and are now keen to try paddling themselves. Saturday morning could be the first strokes in a long and successful paddling career,” said the eight time world champion.
After starting the series at Bluer Lagoon last year, McGregor and his wife Pippa have decided to take it to Emmarentia and Camps Drift in it’s second season, and are expecting a solid turnout of local paddlers of all abilities and a few out-of-town names as well.
Several members of the MacSquad training group based at Blue Lagoon will be making the trip to Gauteng for the Saturday morning dice.
London Olympics medallist Bridgitte Hartley has also added her name to the entry, and stressed that the series, was all about giving eager youngsters a first taste of paddling rather than being a competitive club time trial.
“I am really looking forward to taking part in many of the McGregor series events this year,” said Hartley.
“I think the hype from last year will be remembered,” she added. “The youngsters get to race and connect with their local heroes and beginners can do the short course without feeling too intimidated by the fast fit top racers.”