Robertson — With the heavily congested canoeing calendar having a knock-on effect on many major races, there will be a new name on the winners' trophy at the Breede River Canoe Marathon on September 7 and 8 and the Cradock-raised brother Ryan and Greg Louw are well poised to pounce on that opportunity.
Defending champs Stu MacLaren and Kenny Rice will be part of the big contingent of South African paddlers flying out to France for the Surfski World Championships, and many of the regular K2 combinations have been fractured by similar commitments.
For the Louw brothers, who now live on opposite ends of the country, the assault on the Breede podium forms part of a bigger picture plan as they prepare for the SA K2 Champs at the upcoming Hansa Fish Marathon just three weeks later.
The Breede also gives them an ideal opportunity to erase their recent nightmare at the Sella Descent in Spain, where their challenge ended before the race had even started.
"As we got into the boat to warm up, the pedal broke on our K2," said Ryan Louw. "Basically we flew around the world to get a tan in Spain," he added.
"The base training is still there and we want to be ready for the Fish, so we will give it a proper go at the Breede."
Ryan now holds down a job in the IT sector in Cape Town while Greg works in a finance firm in Port Elizabeth. The brothers, who cut their teeth on the Fish River as youngsters growing up in Cradock, are fortunate that their combination is one that clicks as soon as they get back in a boat together.
"Greg will probably fly in on the Friday night and we will get into the boat before the start. There might be a few things to work out but we know each other so well that we can just jump into the boat and the magic comes back," said Ryan Louw.
"We have no idea who's who in the race this year, but maybe that's a good thing," he said. "We are here to give it a good tonk."
He raced the pre-Breede Eilandia race with his training partner Willem Erasmus on the weekend, where Gavin White took the overall spoils with Ernest Van Riet. That ominous K2 combo won't be a Breede threat as Van Riet has committed to paddle the Breede with ace Paarl junior Bartho Visser.
The typically unflappable Louw brothers are having nothing of the hype and will race the race as they see it in front of them.
"There was a stage in our lives when paddling was everything, but now there are mouths to feed and bills to be paid," said Ryan Louw. "It is the paddling that keeps us sane now!"
Normal entries close at midnight on Friday, August 23.