Olivier Feuillette – two-times winner of the Land Rover Waterfront Rush and an extreme kayaker who calls himself ‘The French Housewife’ (apparently he stays at home to train while his wife, Janis, goes out to work) – could struggle to make it a hat-trick this year.
“He’s a world-class athlete, but this Rush has attracted a stronger field than ever before,” said Mark Collins, race director for event organisers Magnetic South.
Mr. Collins announced that Dan Hugo, a young South African multi-sport athlete who’s star is rising in events like the international Xterra Global Tour, will take part in the Rush this year. He’ll join the reigning Land Rover G4 world champion – South Africa’s Martin ‘The Duke’ Dreyer – and last year’s most powerful female contender, Anastacia Capetanakis, in trying to knock The Housewife off his perch (men and women compete equally in the event, with scoring weighted on a Gender-Based Adjustment for Time – G-BAT – system).
“Actually that could well happen,” said Mr. Collins. “Spectators at last year’s event will remember David Shilton tearing Johnnie Heatlie off the climbing wall in the semi-finals – an action that’s totally legal in terms of the race rules.
“But despite falling 10 metres into the water below, Johnnie managed to keep his wits about him and still managed to beat David up the wall to qualify to meet Oli in the final.”
The Rush is open to anyone who’s moderately fit, can handle a kayak and enjoys adventure – but, unlike all other adventure races, it’s an explosive short-course event rather than a long, technical one. This also makes it ideal for spectators.
“In fact it’s probably the biggest spectator event at the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival,” said Mr. Collins. “Most of the others are designed primarily for participants, but the Rush really makes exciting watching.”
Dan Hugo said that, for him, “It’ll be a first racing such a short adventure and I know little of the demand it’ll have. All of which concerns me only half as much as that initial plunge in the kayak: I’m not the bravest soul and having seen the drop-off, I’m more hesitant about the start than about the difference between this as a 10-minute race against the 2-hour racing I usually do.
“I’ll be there focused on smiling and enjoying the out-of-the ordinary opportunity. I’ve been racing abroad for the past two months, and being in Knysna will be a time of pleasure and not pressure. But I’m handicapped by a competitive nature and anything with a stopwatch ticking will see me going as hard as I can.
“Knysna is one of my favourite spots in South Africa, and I’ve gone up there to train numerous times. Any experience there would be a good one I reckon – including the Rush.”
The Land Rover Waterfront Rush begins with time trials this Friday and Saturday, 11 and 12 July, with knock-out finals on Sunday, 13 July. Pre-enter on line at
or on the day at the Waterfront, Knysna.
Entrance is free for spectators.