New Millers Run Video

Sunday, 01 August 2010 21:29 | Written by 
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Downwind paddling is the ultimate in fun! Downwind paddling is the ultimate in fun! Credits:

Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting at my desk watching the live data from the weather station on Roman Rock lighthouse.  It’s 15m/s SE (30kt or thereabouts)...  I sneak out of the office early...

Southeaster in mid-winter?

That’s nuts – winter is northwester time – we should only get southeasters in summer!

But who’s complaining?  It’s there and the Millers Run is screaming “I’m here!  Come and play!”

My usual comrades in crime are all unavailable.  All that is, except for Jean Tresfon who agrees to drive over from his home in Constantia.  It’ll mean a late start – but conditions are SO good.

The Cameras

I’m using two GoPro Hero HD cameras.  The quality of the video footage is excellent – but they’re tricky devils to use.  They’re prone to fogging up (finally sorted by storing the cameras in an airtight container with desiccant sachets) and the fisheye wide angle lenses seem to act like water droplet magnets... I’ve yet to capture any decent downwind footage.  Could this be the day?

The boat

I’ve been playing with a demo EOS 665 – a long (6.6m) ski aimed at novice paddlers.  It’s extremely stable and seems to go quite well downwind but I’ve only had one go on a very mild reverse Millers.  I’ve been waiting for a chance to take it in proper downwind conditions – today’s the day.

The Run

Because it’s so late, we decide to take launch at the north ramp at Millers Point and do a so-called “Chicken Run”.  It misses out the sometimes challenging 800m paddle into the wind and waves to reach Bakoven Rock, the usual starting point for the Millers Run.  It’s an easier, safer launch.

We round the rocks and head out to sea in the shelter of Millers Point, turning downwind as we hit the wind and waves...

Jean Tresfon

Jean takes a drop

Conditions are superb.  There are sets of big swells coming into the bay and we launch down smooth, round rollers, linking from wave to wave... Will this be coming out on the video?

Jean takes a run, accelerates and disappears in an explosion of spray.  When it clears, he’s swimming beside his ski...  Not sure what happened but he’s back on in an instant and off we go again.



Coming into Fish Hoek I glance behind to see a white topped monster rearing up.  I feel the back of the ski rise like an elevator, the nose dips and I can’t restrain a whoop as we accelerate and spray flies everywhere...  As the foamie hits, I slowly lose control and slew sideways.  I brace hard and between my paddle and stability of the ski, we stay upright, turn back to the beach and ride the next foamie into the beach.




Brace, brace!

What a paddle!  How did the ski go?  Great fun.  It launches well onto the runs; it’s manoeuvrable; it doesn’t seem prone to broaching.  It’s definitely a brilliant camera platform!

The video

Some of the footage does come out and, to me at any rate and after severe editing, demonstrates what I love about this sport.

See what you think!  And if anyone asks you what’s different about surfski paddling – hopefully this may go a little way to help explain.

Midwinter Millers HD from Rob Mousley on Vimeo.

The Millers Run

This is my favourite paddle in Cape Town – for more on how and when to do it (and more video!), click here.

Millers Run Times

(My usual time for the 11.7km route is around 48-49 minutes.  My personal best is 45:54.  

Dawid Mocke is the current record holder - at 37:39.  His "average" runs are around 39-40mins; when he has a "good" run he'll go under 39mins - and he has three recorded runs under 38mins - an average speed of more than 18.5kph/11.5mph.)

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