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Ahhhh Pete hands me a two page essay on his drak experience for me to type out and then just as I’m nearing the end of it he fiddles with the washing machine and all is LOST! So for the second time here is Pete’s’ report on his Drak in a Surf Ski:


Having decided to do the Drak Challenge canoe race (South Africa’s’ 3rd biggest canoe race) as we would be up there for the Sani2C mountain bike race and not having been in a canoe for 6 months I was a little apprehensive as the river had been running very full for the last week.

I then received a call from Dawid Moke asking if I wanted to do it in a Surf Ski which had been made with a river construction and an over slung rudder (same as used in river canoes). I jumped at the opportunity. We arrived late on Friday night in the Underberg to hear that the river had dropped significantly and well, on Saturday arriving at the start I was surprised to see just how much it had dropped! After watching A batch scrape through the first section I was not that confident that the ski would hold up. B batch started with a le marn start where you run with your boat to the water then get in and go. I took this very slowly as I did not want to get in the way through the very shallow first bit so started right at the back and was surprised at hoe easily I got over this section. The longer waterline and the flatter bottom of the ski allowed me to easily get over in areas where I would have battled in a canoe. Further down the river narrows a lot and there are lots of rocks and tight turns to negotiate which I was amazed at how the Surf ski handled. The big rapid for day one is Black Murry which I stopped and watched a few boats go through and then shot fine and headed off to the finish. Loosing concentration and hitting a rock side on and splitting the back seem which then started to leak! This was not so bad but I had to stop and empty and realized that to drain the boat through the back bung hole was going to take forever!  But did get going again! And finished before I had to empty again!

Comments from Day One: The boat was great to paddle, turned well; the hull was super strong no holes and fantastic to be able to just jump on top, no emptying, no splash cover, no admin!

It does need a pump in the front footwells as there are no scuppers on the river layup and a pump into the hull incase of a small hole, so as to keep the boat dry until it can be repaired. The boat needs a hatch for quick emptying and the rudder recessed like a canoe. Other than those easy to change things it was perfect!


I patched the back seem overnight between thunderstorms, which were hopefully filling the river and arrived at the start of Day 2. A much longer day, with less rocks but awesome rapids. To my joy the river was up by almost a meter and looking great. Day Two went like a dream. Shot Taylor weir no problem (was a bit worried about the skis’ length) down the Underberg fish Shute and through the gorge having a blast. I stopped and looked at Glen Haven rapid (the big one for day 2) and then shot it no problem down the middle and headed off to the finish!

What a great day! 38km 2hrs 30something, no swims, awesome water and a race I will be back fore next year again in a ski and hopefully in a special Surf ski batch.

So there you have it Petes' feed back ! Better late than never! Shot