By Quintin van Jaarsveld
One of the South Coast’s most respected and accomplished paddlers, Willie Kunz, was re-awarded KwaZulu-Natal colours at the weekend.
Kunz, who is coming off an impressive Dusi performance, which saw him secure a silver medal in the grand masters division, received the provincial honour for the fourth time.
He also achieved his KwaZulu-Natal grand masters colours last year and previously obtained his provincial sub masters and sub grand masters colours.
“I am stoked about receiving my colours again. It motivates me to keep pushing harder,” Kunz, the long-serving chairman of South Coast Canoe Club, told eHowzit.
The 62-year-old has a balanced approach to the sport consisting of equal parts passion and performance.
The calculated veteran starts his year by identifying certain championship or trials races to compete in and proceeds to train and focus on particular aspects of his gameplan for each specific event.
His decorated canoeing career started over 20 years ago.
He and his family moved down to Port Shepstone in 1984, the same year he completed his first Comrades Marathon in a time of seven hours 56 minutes.
He was soon introduced to paddling as a means of cross-fit training by fellow members of South Coast Striders Athletics Club and immediately fell in love with the sport.
“Some strider runners who were also paddlers, John New and Derek du Plessis, invited me to come and paddle on the river. I was hooked straight away and did my first Dusi in 1994,” Kunz recalled.
Explaining his love for the sport, Kunz said, “There’s just a certain thrill and an adrenalin rush being on the sea or going down rapids with your mates that is so special and staying fit to do so just suits my lifestyle.”