With the 52nd edition of the Breede River Canoe Marathon just days away, the race for the elite men’s title will now include the crew of classy Under 23 paddlers Alan Houston ad Stew Little, a total wildcard as they have never paddled in a K2 together before.
Houston’s original plan was to race with former Dusi winner Lance Kime, but adventure racing abroad ruled him out of the 2019 Breede. “That’s when I picked up the phone to Stew Little and he didn’t hesitate to commit to the Breede with me,” said Houston.
“Yes, we have never sat in a boat together, and he will get to Cape Town a day before the race, but I am sure that there won’t be any issues with this combination,” he said.
Houston pointed out that with a low river very likely their light combined weight may well be a significant factor in the race, but says he didn’t choose Little for his weight.
“When I raced the Berg I got a good look at the kind of guy he is on the water. Tough. Strong. Doesn’t let much get in his way. On the Berg I got to spend good time with him and we are good mates now, so asking him to jump into the K2 for Breede was actually quite easy,” said the Euro Steel/Gara athlete.
With Little doing his first Breede, Houston will take charge of the driving of the K2 from the front seat, leaving Little to concentrate on delivering the power from the back cockpit.
“We are like-minded paddlers and people, so I am really looking forward to testing this combination,” said Houston.
“I know he can cruise it on the river and I know he can cruise the after-party as well, so it should be a good weekend on the Breede!” he added.
With defending champions Stu MacLaren and Kenny Rice absent as they fly to the surfski world champs, the sharp end of this year’s Breede will have a markedly different look to it, leaving the door wide open for the crew that fires best on the day to join the list of canoeing luminaries that have won the Breede over the years.
Houston and his Varsity College team mate are keeping a close eye on the crew of Dom Notten and Anders Hart as a strong threat, with Clint Cook teaming up with Shaun Rubenstein in another threatening K2 boat.
The Louw brothers Ryan and Greg will be a formidable danger, as will Paarl rising star Bartho Visser who has been shrewdly signed up by Ernest Van Riet.