• Paddling for Smiles gets underway for noble causeRichard Kohler will paddle a “smile” around the coast of South Africa, from the Orange River mouth to Kosi Bay on the Mozambique border
  • In aid of the Cipla Miles for Smiles Foundation, Kohler aims to change the lives of 200 children forever
  • His efforts by sea will be supported on land by a Land Rover Defender 130 Double Cab

Land Rover Sea

Cape Town adventurer Richard Kohler has embarked on a second attempt to circumnavigate South Africa’s 2 600km coastline by sea in a solo paddle craft. The aptly named Paddling for Smiles feat aims to raise funds in support of corrective facial surgery for children born with cleft lips or palates.

Kohler’s single-handed attempt at paddling a smile around SA’s coast has never been attempted before – other than his initial attempt in December last year, fraught by a shark attack and ultimately demised by a burglary of all the team’s equipment.

While Kohler won’t be supported out at sea, where he will spend most of his time paddling between 40km and 80km a day, his team will have a rivaling challenge on land to support him. With some of the toughest terrain along SA’s varied coastline, it’s a good thing they will have a Land Rover Defender 130 Double Cab to assist them.

The specially-equipped Land Rover will be driven by Kohler’s logistics manager, carrying food and water, tented accommodation, and electronic equipment including cameras, radios, GPS sets and laptops.

Land Rover South Africa

“The Defender is the perfect vehicle for our special mission,” said Kohler. “SA’s coastline is as tough on land as it is out at sea, and Land Rover has brought massive support by dedicating this excellent vehicle to our cause.”

Kohler will start his long paddle southwards at the Orange River mouth, the threat of sunburn, sunstroke, hidden off-shore reefs and sharks always present.

“I’ll be constantly driven by the motto that ‘it’s not about us, it’s about the kids’,” says Kohler, faced with many days to come of aches and pains, hard times, and incredible scenery and adventure. “It will be tough, but we’re aiming to help 200 children have life-changing operations and we hope we’ll be able to succeed all the way this time.”

The Paddling for Smiles adventure expects to reach Saldanha by early November and Cape Town by 10 November, before heading east up the Southern Cape Coast, and then north-east up to Durban, ending at Kosi Bay on the Mozambican border.