This years’ river season has been pretty dismal for those of us living in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The season started early, and strong, but then died down quickly – just like the previous year. I think we only had about two or three rainy days in the whole of July, none of which were enough to paddle on, and August wasn’t much better, with September so far producing nothing noteworthy. This is the reason I haven’t posted too much thus far. And also, my left shoulder was acting up a bit so I missed out a few sessions in order to get some needed rest. Feels better though now all we need is some damn rain to finish off the season in style.

Luckily we did manage to get a few great sessions in, one of them being this Witte run with fellow team Fluid paddler Craig Rivett, which turned out to be a bit of a sketchy run due to a minor technical problem. But apart from almost going left at a rapid some of us call ‘Go Right or Die’ and apart from close action at Pilkington and apart from more action in the infamous rapid below Pilkington and apart from a swim, (or more correctly, technical exit) it was an excellent day out :-) More or less. Ok, ok, so it wasn’t that good, at least for me.

Witte_17_June_2011_004_E1 copy

Sunrise from my house, that morning. The Witte is 65km from my house :-) Witte_17_June_2011_012_E1 copy

The rapid some people call ‘Go Right or Die’. The pocket left of centre drains through a few siphons – stay away. Witte_17_June_2011_014_E1 copyThe pass. Farrah drove shuttle for us! Thanks!!!


Me (Adrian Tregoning) gearing up. Got some awesome dry pants from PeakUK this year. 100% dry – super pants!!! Photo by Farrah Higgs.

CR02 CR03 Launching in at the start :) Photos by Craig Rivett.

Witte_17_June_2011_027_E1 copy

The ‘rock’ forming a hole. Fun level for sure. Very lucky to get this level with sunshine. Sunny days are usually a lot lower.  Witte_17_June_2011_036_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_037_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_040_E1 copy

Craig ‘The Riv’ Rivett on a random rapid on the top half, using his large Fluid Detox.  Witte_17_June_2011_054_E1 copyMe in the large Solo, which will soon be replaced when I get my Bazooka, Fluid’s new creek boat. Photos by Craig Rivett.

Witte_17_June_2011_064_E1_CR copy

Craig getting ready for the narrow slot drop rapid.  Witte_17_June_2011_067_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_068_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_069_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_070_E1 copyCraig Rivett through the slot drop, this is still on the top half.

CR04 Me heading through the same rapid.

CR05 CR06 CR07 CR08I went slowly through the left line of Pilkington Falls and got swallowed by the curtain, good times! Great photos – by Craig Rivett.

Witte_17_June_2011_076_E1 copy

Craig about to enter the 30m slide. Note the background – typical of this truly magical river.  Witte_17_June_2011_079_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_080_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_083_E1 copy

Craig Rivett down the 30m slide. Ant Hoard calls this rapid ‘the-fastest-rapid-in-the-world.’ It is fun and fast. Excellent fun! Witte_17_June_2011_099_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_101_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_102_E1 copyWitte_17_June_2011_104_E1 copyMe on the same slide. Photos by Craig Rivett.

Indeed, the swim was mine and definitely pretty retarded. Talking too much in an eddy while explaining something to Craig, I drifted to the end of the tiny pool and suddenly was about to head backwards down a place I thought was too tight for a kayak to pass through with a big undercut on the right wall. Turns out I could have gone through but it’s not a great place to go, not at all. I held onto the boulders which make up the river bed but they came loose and I pulled the deck, climbing out immediately. I lost my paddle and my Pelican 1300 case (which was between my legs – yes I know very dangerous) and climbed out super fast, not even getting my head wet, and holding onto the boat. Craig had swiftly jumped out of his boat to assist me but then jumped back in (to my desperate pleas to get my camera!) to seek out my precious camera and paddle which were floating downstream. The level that day was good, around 12cm over the rock – the river was in no mood to stop for my gear. Craig saved the day, catching up to the camera, and by chance found the paddle too! I was stoked. The paddle was thrown back to me as I was stuck in the middle of the river and with a sketchy balancing act I climbed back into my boat and continued on.

Double Drop was interesting. Craig had a relatively poor boof, with survival into the second drop, going deep, flipping over. I then made his line look great. My boof was even less – what was I doing? Then I went deep in the middle part and from the photos it looks like I’m freewheeling the second drop, which I then landed into sideways. Miracle time again as I flushed very quickly and with a quick roll I was back.

Witte_17_June_2011_112_E1 copy
Craig scouting Double Drop. The foreground is just a monster siphon – be aware at higher levels if using the eddy above it…  Witte_17_June_2011_120_E1 copy

Craig, entry to DD. Witte_17_June_2011_122_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_123_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_124_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_125_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_126_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_127_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_130_E1 copyCraig Rivett down Double Drop.

Witte_17_June_2011_133_E1_CR copy Witte_17_June_2011_135_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_138_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_139_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_140_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_141_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_142_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_143_E1 copyMe, also through Double Drop. Umm, Adrian, what are you doing?! :) Photos by Craig Rivett.

CR09Me on the Two Teacups. Excellent rapid this one, to which I have loads of respect for since last year October :) Photo by Craig Rivett.

Witte_17_June_2011_145_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_148_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_149_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_150_E1 copy

Craig Rivett on the top two drops of Two Teacups. Witte_17_June_2011_153_E1 copy

And heading down the slide of Teacups. Witte_17_June_2011_160_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_161_E1 copy

Through the bottom hole. Witte_17_June_2011_165_E1 copy Witte_17_June_2011_166_E1 copyAnd a little bit of wall action. I seemed to have sent my bad luck to Craig at around this point!


From Two Teacups down things improved for me and the bad luck was transferred to Craig as he banged his right shoulder and grated his hand on the undercut side at the end of the rapid. From there on he seemed to have less of a good time while things improved for me. Such is life. Eventually our adventure of muppeteering was over and with some bad scares and a very sore left shoulder I was glad to be off to be perfectly honest… Time heals most wounds - things are much improved now and it’s happy days again ;-) Rotor cuff exercises are also the order of the day and I can feel a huge improvement already, hitting the surf twice already in my Element, no problems. Hmmm, thinking of buying a large composite Element too, purely for riding waves, the medium still rocks at freestyle, even if I don’t! Take it easy, paddle safe!

Some of Craig’s photos were used, check out his website, click below:


White Fluid Name deep etched with white inside copy_250






Photography by: Adrian Tregoning. Unless otherwise stated.
Words by: Adrian Tregoning.