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RIPH in South Africa ?


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Hydrospeed South Africa

South Africans generally have a keen awareness and appreciation of the importance of Nature, and outdoor activities, in both shaping and enriching our lives. Accordingly, there is a vast array of leisure and sports activities pursued by young and old in a country which has a coastline bursting with sea-life, national parks, bush-veld, vegetation ranging from lush tropical forests to sparse desert tufts, wildlife and awesome rivers meandering through the countries many hills and valleys.

The country’s best-known river is the Orange River. Drawing its name from the water’s colour, it forms the epicenter of commercial Whitewater activity in South Africa. The country mostly lies in a summer rainfall region with the southern most tip, the Western Cape, being the only recipient of winter rainfall. Many of the country’s rivers depend on sustained rainfall to create enough volume for white water activities. The most common white water sports are Rafting and Kayaking, with the most recent addition being Hydrospeeding.

Though one of the best-known Hydrospeeders in the world is the South African Mike Horn, the sport is virtually unknown in this country. The erstwhile South African Outdoor and Adventure Magazine - OUTTHERE carried a number of articles on Mike’s exploits and it was through a quote of his in one of these articles, that I was personally challenged to take up the sport. He was noted to have said (paraphrased)
’I have a wetsuit, which anyone can buy, a helmet that can easily be acquired, some swim fins and a Hydrospeed, which is simple to obtain. The only difference is that I go.’

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It is unlikely, and perhaps fortunate, that Hydrospeeding will not become a mainstream sport in South Africa. I am convinced however that there are many people in this country who have both the "go for it" attitude and the desire to enjoy nature on it’s terms, which is required in Hydrospeeding. Accordingly, as we swim more rivers around the country, increase exposure to the sport and continually improve our skills, I believe that we can see a significant increase in participants in this sport.

Another ingredient for success, and increased participation of the sport in South Africa, is the inclusion of this country on the traveling itinerary of international Hydrospeeders. Not only will the country captivate the travelers’ hearts, but also provide local exponents of the sport the opportunity to learn from them and to exchange ideas around its development.

Until we swim together,

Charl en surf sur le Nil

Charl van Rensburg
Hydrospeed South Africa
Cape Town

Tel: 082 786 3086

Write to Charl : Charl van Rensburg