Millers Run: Memories

Monday, 05 February 2007 10:31 | Written by  Paul Mauger
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Image[Editor: Paul Mauger sent us this great piece about the origins of the Millers Run - one of the perennial favourite downwind routes here in Cape Town, South Africa.  Paul now lives in Australia and runs the Currumbin Creek Surf Ski series on the East Coast]

There seems to be quite a bit of news and such surrounding the Millers Run at the moment, what with the Garmin Challenge, youngest paddler etc. It occurred to me that some of the more recent paddlers may be wondering who started the whole Millers Run thing. 

 

It was in the late 70's and early 80's that guys like the late Peter Creese, who went on to become Springbok Lifesaving Captain, Mike Stowe, Willie van Schoor, Garth Watters, and myself began meeting at Millers Point, at the present Northern Boat launch ramp, from where it was nice and calm when the strong south-easterly winds blew, and we'd head out, side-on to the wind and swell on a Gordons Bay heading, until we were in line with Fish Hoek Bay and Roman Rock lighthouse. Only then would we turn and run downwind.

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The Millers Run - Millers Point to Fish Hoek (showing the GPS track of a recent run)
 

My earliest memories were that Peter Creese was the undisputed "King", of Millers Runs. Even after coming back from a shoulder injury, he somehow always managed to hit the beach ahead of all pretenders. Garth Watters was always in there as well, as he was a Springbok canoeist at the time, and his ability to paddle up and over runs ahead of him were lengendary.

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Millers Point - detail

The paddles that we used were flat, some with hand-shaped wooden shafts with fibreglass blades, and others with fibreglass shafts and blades. Most skis were hand shaped from bubble foam, and laminated with epoxy resin. We mostly built our own skis, or in my case, bought hand-me downs from Peter Creese as he upgraded with new deigns every year, and I then had to shorten the leg wells to suit my short pins, which entailed stripping the fibreglass out of the wells, reshaping them and reglassing.

Check out what was one of the earliest Millers Run expeditions, circa 1980.  [Editor: Note the wooden paddle held by Peter Creese!  Note also the old VW combi with the beads hung around the rear view mirror!  And the "SADF" vest worn by Mike Stowe.]

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L to R: Willie van Schoor, the late Peter Creese, Paul Mauger and Mike Stowe (Photo: Paul Mauger)
 

I don't have memories of the times that we did 'the Run' in, but would put Peter's capabilities right up there with Oscar, Herman, Pete Cole and Paul Marais.

It was only in later years that we moved to the present launch site on the south boat ramp.

The Millers run is, and always will be a fantastic test of one's ability to handle the strongest of winds in some of the biggest seas in the world. Not for nothing is Cape Town called the 'Cape of Storms'.

Yep I sure miss them 'Runs'. Those were good years. No... they were 'great' years.


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