July is wintertime in the Southern hemisphere and the dry season in South Africa. Low rivers have been indicated as a primary cause of Yakker’s Weep – a psychosomatic condition occurring among river kayakers when surrounded by low rivers. It can lead to abdominal tension, symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease and eventually suicide by drowning in a tub. Fortunately through extensive research science found a cure. All subjects responded well to exposure to ocean waves, while strapped into a kayak!
Thus it came to be that on 19 July 2014 creekers and river play boaters descended on Durban to lay siege to the ocean in the annual Kayak Freestyle champs organised by Nino Cloete. More than thirty kayakers congregated at Dairy Beach to compete.
Gnarly swell predictions fizzled and the competitors had to strut their stuff in little more than ankle snappers. But this did not deter them.
In order to prevent aggressive outbursts among the patients, the treatment sessions was organized into heats. But the patients felt that the small waves did not have quite the desired effect and reverted to close proximity surfing, dropping in on each other in a style that would result in a brawl among the mere mortals that play in waves on flat planks. For kayakers however, this simply added to the excitement while judges and spectators dropped their jaws in amazement at the tenacity of the kayakers competing for the best wave!
The session was a great success thanks to sponsors Fluid Kayaks and Thule, and Nino’s guru organising skills.