Watuni Canoe Club makes a splash!
Not many university campuses in South Africa can boast with canoeing as a competitive sporting code, but at the North-West University’s Vaal Triangle Campus (NWU Vaal), the sport is going from strength to strength.
With the majestic Vaal River adjacent to the campus grounds, the NWU Vaal offers an ideal opportunity for avid canoeists – be it for beginners or more experienced paddlers, to actively participate in the sport.
Known as the Watuni Canoe Club (WCC), the club recently embarked on a campaign to revive students ‘interest in and awareness of this adrenalin-pumping sport.
Mr Kobus Filmalter, the club’s Canoeing Coordinator on campus, says apart from their hopes of securing new club members, they also aim to educate the campus community about the sport in general. He says most people see canoeing as a risky sport to partake in and henceforth shy away from trying it, but Filmalter insists that once you fully understand and appreciate the sport you will come to love it.
“Yes, canoeing is tough and it takes some time (about a month or so) to familiarise one with all its ins and outs but it is also fascinating at the same time. We at the WCC don’t compromise when it comes to safety – every beginner goes through the water proficiency training and testing programme to ensure that should anything happen while you are busy paddling, you know what to do” he says.
He adds that the club boasts with several canoeing experts - with years of experience on many of SA's most breath-taking rivers, on standby to help any novice in getting started.
“From club canoes, paddles and lifejackets, advice on safety techniques, to stories of competitions won and competitions lost in the years gone by, the WCC has everything you need to get you into a canoe and ultimately into the water, adds Filmalter.
More about the club
The Watuni Canoe Club is a registered sporting body at the NWU Vaal and represents one of the competitive sporting codes. The club is furthermore a member of the Gauteng Canoe Union (GCU) which is affiliated to Canoeing South Africa (CSA).
With a proud history spanning more than three decades, the club has competed in all major river races on the South African canoeing calendar and frequently represents the Vaal Triangle at prestige competitions such as the South African Canoe Marathon Championships; the Duzi Canoe Marathon and the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon. The club is also a proud winner of the South African K2 River Marathon Championship.
According to Filmalter, WCC seeks to provide students, staff and members of the Vaal Triangle community with an opportunity to celebrate the tradition of canoe paddling. He also says that through canoe paddling the club hopes to promote ownership – in the sense of better understanding and environmental awareness, of the Vaal River eco system.
What is next for the Club?
In September, the club will prove their mettle during the World Marathon Championships to be showcased - for the first time, in South Africa. The Gauteng province will play host to this event.
Shortly after the championship, during October, the club heads to the Eastern Cape where they will be defending their title at the SA K2 River Marathon.
Any member of the campus community who wants to join the club can do so by contacting the following people: Kobus Filmalter on 082 619 1083 or Jan Leonard on 083 680 5952. Alternatively visit the canoe club house on Mondays at 16:30 and Thursdays at 17:00.
For more information on the club, visit: http://www.watunicanoe.co.za/ or join their Facebook group: Watuni Canoe Club