Paddling for Smiles' Kohler in the wars AGAIN

Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:07 | Written by  Murray Williams
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By day 5 Kohler had already taken a battering By day 5 Kohler had already taken a battering

Richard Kohler, attempting to circumnavigate the SA coastline for charity, has been hammered for the third time by the unforgiving KwaZulu-Natal conditions.

Paddling for Smiles

Richard Kohler, from Cape Town, South Africa, left Ponta do Ouro in Mozambique a week ago to begin his 2600km Paddling for Smiles challenge to the Namibian border – a first for a solo paddler if he succeeds.

His aim is to raise enough funds for 200 operations for children with cleft palates and lips.

Zululand Paddlers

The Zululand paddlers squad - raised R3,000 for Paddling for Smiles

Strike 1 – Shark Hit

He was paddling his second surfski after the first had been destroyed near Sodwana Bay on Wednesday. An animal – Kohler did not see it, but believes it was a shark – crashed into the surfski, smashing the rudder into the hull.

Strike 2 – Smashing Surf

Yesterday, launching near the Jolly Rubina wreck south of the Lake St Lucia estuary, Kohler was faced with powerful shorebreak. He was knocked off his feet by waves several times, before managing to mount his surfski.

As he did so, he was hit by a 2m-high wave face, which “tossed me around like a ragdoll, and my ski like a tooth pick”.

Once the wave passed, Kohler was left in the water with two halves to his 6.4m craft, being tossed by the notoriously powerful KZN surf.

A new craft from Durban was delivered to the beach within hours and Kohler set off at midday for a 47km paddle to Richard’s Bay harbour.

By the weekend Kohler had paddled 265km over six days, landing at aMatikulu after another 70km haul.

“I’m very sore,” he said. “It’s just fatigue – not dreadful pain, just frustrating pain that gnaws at you.”

In the news

One thing's for sure - all the challenges have kept the project in the news...

Strike 3 – Smashed by surf again

This morning, Tuesday 13th, the surf was up again.  Kohler was thrown off his ski, remounted and reached the backline where a huge set smashed into him, knocking him off and injuring his back.  He’s currently being checked out by the medics and his status will be updated on the expedition’s facebook page later today.

Asked how he was handling the challenge emotionally, he said: “I’m okay, but I sometimes struggle to get my head around the pain.”

Miles for Smiles

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