Adventure Sport

Rush ends with a splash

2011-07-11 14:37
Waterfront Rush (File)
Knysna - Olivier Feuilette took this year’s Hansa Waterfront Rush from Martin Fraser McKenzie in a blistering 5:17 – but the numbers tell only half the story.

GALLERY: Waterfront Rush

By tradition, the Rush forms one of the highlights of the final day of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival - and this year Knysna served up perfect, balmy winter weather for the occasion.

“The short, explosive nature of the event makes it a great spectator sport, and, with the Navy’s concert  band creating an incredible atmosphere,  the vibe at the Waterfront was electric – all of which contributed to the athletes posting frighteningly fast times,” said Race Director Mark Collins of event organisers Magnetic South.

Unlike most multisport events – which generally take place in remote areas that aren’t usually accessible to the viewing public - the Waterfront Rush takes place within the confines of a limited area of the Waterfront at the Knysna Quays. It requires competitors to show their skills at kayaking and climbing - and on a very unusual obstacle course that included ‘running’ on the water in Africa’s only Hydrobroncs (which look a little like inflatable hamster wheels).

Of course, the Rush isn’t a one day affair – 94 hopefuls (18 women and 76 men) took part in the heats on the two days leading up to the elimination rounds, with 74 people posting qualifying times. In the end, Steven Webber, Ryan Louw, Olivier Feuilette, Tanya Weyers, Gabriel van Wyk, Arnold Venter, Martin Fraser McKenzie and Cameron Taylor met in the semi-finals.

“It may seem strange to see men and women competing on the same leader board, but thanks to our G-Bat system (gender-based adjustment for time), everyone has an equal chance of taking the R10 000 first prize,” said Collins.

This year saw the introduction of a photographic competition for spectators.  “The Hansa Waterfront Rush is a superbly photogenic event,” said Collins, “and we’re looking for the shots that’ll capture its essence.”

In the end, of course, it comes down to experience, and with local man Martin Fraser McKenzie up against the father of the play-boat and retired professional paddler, Olivier Feuilette, it was always going to be an explosive affair.

“This makes it four years in a row that Ollie’s taken the crown, and I think we can now safely call him the King of the Rush – he’s a class act who’s impossible to beat!” said Collins.


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