Millers Run: Youngest Paddler?

Thursday, 01 February 2007 14:45 | Written by 
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Image The "Millers Run", a downwind route between Millers Point and Fish Hoek in Cape Town can be pretty daunting when the southeaster is up and False Bay is full of breaking waves.

But Duncan Buchanan, a 14 year old visitor from Auckland, New Zealand, was keen to give it a go.

"He got quieter and quieter as we got close to Millers Point," said his dad Fraser.  But he was all business as we set about preparing for the run.  He was to paddle on a double with Damian Feuilherade, a Capetonian and experienced Millers Run contender.

...he was all business

Conditions were almost perfect - the wind was blowing steadily at around 30kts and the swells were around 2-3m.  The sea near the launch ramp was fairly calm, but immediately outside the sheltered bay the usual steep swells gave Duncan his first taste of Cape-style paddling.

Heading out...

Around Bakoven Rock, the start of the 13km downwind section, and they were off.  "The surfing down the waves was OK," Duncan explained, "but overall it was quite overwhelming as everything was foreign - the boat, paddling in a double and the paddle.

"Not being able to see where we were going, sitting at the back, was very hard - not being able to anticipate or see why Damian was changing direction/ doing some things."

...soon got the hang of the runs

In spite of his initial bewilderment, he soon got the hang of it and they were catching plenty of runs. 

Duncan exclaimed, "The swells were huge! When I looked down to where Damian was and we were surfing down the swells, the size was bigger than I have ever seen or experienced. Sometimes Damian disappeared into the water and I didn't know if he and the front half of the ski were gone!  When the water swamped us, up to my neck, it was pretty terrifying, not knowing if we would surface again."

Surfing in to Fish Hoek

When they finally reached Fish Hoek some 55mins later, Duncan looked a little shell-shocked.  "In Auckland you worry about your style," he said, "but on a Millers run it's about staying up and making it."

Damian however said, "he was brilliant - and what an experience!  There are plenty of paddlers in Cape Town who have never done the run."

Rob, Damo, Duncan & Rob

Duncan is back in Auckland where he paddles K1 in a Junior Squad for North Shore and SurfClub for Mairangi Bay SLSC.  "We have almost no swells and an average wind of 5kts.... a bit different".

Good effort! 

See also: Garmin Millers Run Challenge

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