Paarl – As entries pour in for the Bamboo Warehouse Push And Pull Paddle from 9 to 11 August, Sea Point based Stand Up Paddleboard enthusiast Jean Mortlock has had her entry confirmed and is encouraging other women to enter and use the event to celebrate Women’s Day on the first day of the race.
Stand Up Paddleboarding, or SUPing as it is known, continues to gain popularity, and the craft originally designed for sea paddling are now appearing at most major river marathons.
But that’s not the main reason why the Sea Point resident Mortlock has joined the big field that will gather at Val De Vie for the start of the 15km first stage on Women’s Day.
“This race is trying to do something completely different. It is a great lifestyle event and looks like a jol,” said the 35 year old advertising exec who has only been SUPing since the beginning of the year.
“The distances are do-able and there is an awesome balance between the sport and the social side which will guarantee great camaraderie and vibe,” she added.
She is hoping that more women take up the opportunity before the limited race entries sells out.
“Both in canoeing and SUP there are plenty of girls really enjoying the sport, and with this race on the Women’s Day long weekend I really hope we see a surge in women entering,” she added.
Mortlock has taken her new sport seriously and is targeting a long-distance SUP race in the Netherlands as her next major challenge, but a shoulder injury has hampered her preparations.
“I will be coming into the Push and Pull a little short of training and no river SUP experience but we are going to get onto rivers over the next few weekends,” she said, hoping that they get similar water conditions that the Berg River Canoe Marathon had last week.
“That looked like such fun!” she enthused. “Standing on the bridge watching the paddlers, all you saw is that everyone was smiling, chatting and enjoying themselves,” she said.
Mortlock who was born in East Griqualand, raised on a farm in the Lowveld and moved to Cape Town ten years ago, is working on some adventurous plans for the long 36 kilometre second stage.
“Sjoe, we will have to leave at sunrise,” she mused. “I might have to do some portaging as well so I will be the one wearing veldskoens,” she added.
Organisers are experiencing a deluge of entries this week as normal entries close at 10pm on Thursday 18 July.
More information can be found at www.pushandpullpaddle.co.za