The Treble team has been challenged during a pandemic that has caused unprecedented disruption in the Sports and Entertainment space. This year has provided nothing “normal” and so with a great shining light, Treble is looking forward to the 2020 edition of the Prescient Freedom Paddle – one of the first events taking place in Cape Town since the introduction of the hard lockdown in late-March.
South Africa’s top paddlers will race for line honours and the prestige of finishing a 27km paddle around Robben Island. Previously set for Freedom Day on the 27th April this year, the race was put on hold until a green light to go ahead was granted. The current date, along with all the compliance requirements, is the day the paddlers will celebrate their freedom by circumnavigating the iconic island.
Among the top contenders in the Doubles (or S2) category will be Hank McGregor (Euro Steel) and Josh Fenn (19), who is proving to be a top ocean paddler. Exposed to the ocean and paddling from a young age, thanks to a family deeply involved in the sport, Fenn is the perfect fit to the legendary McGregor – an 11 times World Marathon Paddler, winner of the previous Freedom Paddle race and winner of the famous Molokai Crossing in Hawaii.
McGregor partnered with another talent youngster at the recent SA Marathon Championships, Hamish Lovemore, where they took the K2 title, while Lovemore took the K1 title, showing that there is a changing of the guard. McGregor offers an incredible amount of experience and brilliance, so any combination with him would be a potential winner. The Cape crew of Kenny Rice (Euro Steel), a winner of the Cape Point Challenge, and Nic Notten will be looking to claim the title for a local crew and keep the major Surfski titles in the Western Province.
Rice had a breakthrough year in 2019, winning four World Cup Surfski events and was looking forward to a stellar 2020 until the global pandemic put paid to those aspirations. Regroup and rebuild has been the order of the day for many contenders for honours on the world stage. Given a lack of competitions this year, there is much unknown about the current form of the athletes. It does mean that the Prescient Freedom Paddle will mean so much more to these athletes than the title. It will indicate where each athlete is physically and mentally as they finally return to racing.
The top Ladies crew will have a similar pairing of youth and experience with Jenna Ward and Saskia Hockly (16), a young talent with great potential. Ward is no stranger to the open ocean or racing on the world stage, being a World Marathon Championships silver medalist and holding multiple Surfski titles. The two have combined to create an exciting partnership, which has seen the two gel quickly. Hockly will benefit from the massive experience that Ward will share as she drives them home on the 27km trip around Robben Island.
There will be many rivalries and competitions amongst the field as many will be vying for the right to claim a personal best or fastest time around the Island. Despite all the challenges this year, the event is proving to be a relief for many, and the outcome is eagerly anticipated.
It is with thanks to the partners of the event; Prescient, Euro Steel, City of Cape Town, Dunlop, Coca Cola Peninsula Beverages, Devil’s Peak, Mocke Paddling, Department of Culture and Sport (Western Cape Government), Carbonology Sport and Brian’s Kayaks that the 2020 Prescient Freedom Paddle will indeed be a great success.
For more event information please go to www.freedompaddle.co.za
We have appointed Event Plan and Medics in Motion to assist with the entire event compliance and safety plan. CSA’s Covid-19 protocols have been provided and we have engaged with the City Health and Safety Officer and National Health Department to ensure the event is complaint. The events application has been accepted for consideration by the City of Cape Town and we await approval. We are being guided by the National Government and National Health Department Covid-19 regulations throughout the process and all measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of all participants and crew. At this time, we are confident that the event will go ahead as planned, however final confirmation can only be determined closer to the event in line with National Governments adjusted risk assessment protocols.