Quintin van Jaarsveld
Willie Kunz added another accolade to his decorated career when he was awarded his KwaZulu-Natal canoeing colours at Marine Surf Lifesaving Club in Durban on Friday evening.
It hasn’t been all plain paddling for the long-serving chairman and co-founder of South Coast Canoe Club over the past 12 months, with Poly Amalgia Rhumatica weighing him down and keeping him out of the water for some time.
He nevertheless continued his paddling prowess when he did compete, producing excellent results in both the Drak and Dusi as well as winning age-group bronze in the KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Marathon Championships.
This saw him earn his KwaZulu-Natal colours once again in the grand masters category (60-65), having previously achieved the honour in the same age division as well as in the sub masters and sub grand masters divisions.
“I am super happy at being awarded colours again as it is both rewarding and encouraging for all the hours training,” Kunz told eHowzit.
At 64, Kunz is as passionate as ever and arguably the most driven he’s been in his career, which spans over two decades, as he’s preparing for his maiden World Canoe Marathon Championships.
The global showpiece will take place from 4-6 September in Pietermaritzburg, where Kunz will compete in the great grand masters category.
Friday’s event ceremony was rewarding in more ways than one, Kunz said. “Hank McGregor gave a speech on some of his World Cup experiences, which has motivated me even more to give my best.”
Kunz is hard at training for his world championships debut and will use the provincial (5-6 August) and national championships (a week later) to fine-tune his preparation.
“I am training hard, five days a week, with most days consisting of a double session with either a paddle, gym at home or a run. I generally take Fridays off for a long paddle on Saturday, somewhere between 18-23kms, and then I take Sunday off to recover from the paddle.”
Speaking of his love for the sport, Kunz said, “I enjoy the peacefulness of the river and being with mates who also enjoy the outdoors. At the moment, it is just Rudi Bense and I who are training and I must give him a big heads up for coming to train with me. He has no immediate goal at the moment but is sharing the hard work in the early dark and chilly evenings.”
To assist the local legend with sponsorship for the world championships, contact him on 082 411 2965.