Abby looks to paddle her way to Drak history | SASCOC - SASCOC

Abby looks to paddle her way to Drak history

Abby Adie will be back to defend her title in the N3TC Drak Challenge on 18-19 January, and in the process aims to become the first female paddler to win the coveted crown four times.

Eager to repeat her 2010, 2011 and 2013 feats, Adie is also relishing the opportunity to return to the region she thoroughly enjoys and is looking forward to yet another competitive women’s race.

ÔÇ£It was great being back on the uMzimkhulu River for the KZN Mixed Doubles recently,ÔÇØ said Adie, pictured right.

ÔÇ£The river was pretty low so it was quite a grind and we scrapped and bumped our way down, especially with me paddling with my brother whose a little heavier than if I was paddling with another girl, but we had lots of fun nonetheless.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I’m really looking forward to Drak and I’m hoping to try get up there and spend some time on the river beforehand too.

ÔÇ£It would be great to get up there after Christmas to do some training and its always great to be able to paddle on some clean water!ÔÇØ she added.

Aside from the Drak being an impeccably organised, fun event, the river itself is what Adie enjoys the most about the annual Underberg excursion.

ÔÇ£I always enjoy myself up there so much,ÔÇØ she described. ÔÇ£The technical rapids are great and the unpredictable nature of the river, which this year’s flood showed once more, adds a real element of the unknown to the race.ÔÇØ

The unpredictable nature of the river and never knowing what water level to expect due to the race starting so close to the river’s source, has Adie unsure of just who is likely to be a possible fellow title contender next year.

ÔÇ£Robyn (Kime) is always a big factor and having not seen her paddling for a while no one really knows just how strong she is at the moment.

ÔÇ£If it’s low then Hilary (Pitchford) will be deadly through the technical stuff.

ÔÇ£Then, of course, there’s Michelle Burn who won KZN Mixed Doubles with her husband Ollie recently and is just so consistent on that river. With her surfski background she is super strong, especially on the flat sections, and could well be up there as well.ÔÇØ

Looking further abroad and Adie’s 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon partner, Anna Adamov├í of the Czech Republic, arrives the week before the race and is likely to bravely take part in a K1 despite having never tackled the stretch of river on her own competitively before.

Adie’s primary international threat comes in the shape of two-time race winner Abbey (nee’ Meidema) Ulansky though.

Currently living in Canada, having moved there with her husband Chad several years ago, the former ‘Dusi Queen’ will return to South Africa just days before the race and will be eager to take advantage of each and every opportunity to get in some much-needed practise on KZN’s rivers ahead of her and paddling partner Robyn Kime’s 2014 Dusi assault.

Picture: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media