In amongst the big field of K2s that will be taking to the water for the annual Breede River Canoe Marathon on 7 and 8 September will be a low key crew of seasoned paddlers Hubby Sandberg and JT Basson, who will start with a staggering 62 Breede medals between them.
The grey-haired masters have much in common having both been competitive racers in their day, and both have bounced back from heart problems to be able to continue their passion for paddling.
“The Breede is two days of clean paddling, great company in a beautiful valley, and we can go tasting great wine afterwards,” said Sandberg.
The duo have one of those special partnerships that doesn’t require much training together, and they are able to set up the K2 and get going at the start of the race.
“With me living on my farm in Knysna and JT living in Paarl, we don’t get to train together, but we can just jump into the boat and go.
“We talk about the good old days, and with both of us having heart problems, we joke about which of us is going to make it to the finish!” he quipped.
Sandberg admitted that since the days of hard racing are past, he is thoroughly enjoying social paddling on the Breede Marathon.
“Apart from the fact that it is so conveniently situated to where I live, this race is just such a great weekend away that I come back every year,” said Sandberg.
Sandberg, who started his racing in KwaZulu-Natal before moving to the Eastern Cape where he started Knysna Racing Kayaks, has now done more Breede than any other race on the calendar.
He is however, happy to assume the junior status in their K2 as Basson has done a few more Breede than he has.
“I have stopped counting a long time ago, but I have done thirty-odd Breedes, and JT has done a few more than I have,” he admitted.
Basson and Sandberg will find themselves in good company, and behind the elite racers contesting the WCCU K2 and CSA K3 titles, the majority of the field is content to soak up the sights and sounds of the two days of paddling through the breath-taking valley between Robertson and Swellendam.