Corné Krige to paddle
2012 Hansa Fish for Eastern Cape children
Springbok rugby captain Corné Krige has thrown his weight behind the Hansa
Fish River Canoe Marathon’s annual support of local charities by pledging
his commitment to the race in an effort to raise funds for local
underprivileged school children.
Despite being better known for his efforts on the rugby field, having earned
39 caps in the green and gold, Krige is also a surfski enthusiast and is
looking forward to teaming up with longtime school friend and Cradock
resident Billy van Zyl and Hansa Fish race organiser Pieter Marais in a K3
(three-seater kayak) as the trio look to complete the 84km journey.
“It’s obviously very exciting,” said Krige. “I live very close to the sea in
Melkbosstrand in Cape Town so I have my own surfski but I use that mainly
for recreation and a bit of exercise so this is something very different to
anything I’m used to.”
“A couple of years ago I was invited to do the Breede and I really enjoyed
that but I’ve never done anything like this before and I certainly haven’t
sat in a boat for anywhere near five hours, which I’m told is how long we’re
aiming to take on the first day, at any one time so it’s definitely going to
“I’m busy preparing for next year’s ABSA Cape Epic so I’ve been spending all
my time training on the bike and none in the boat so I definitely haven’t
trained enough for it but hopefully I can sit in the middle of the K3 and
let the others pull me along,” he chuckled.
Having spent their time at Paarl Boys’ High School together Krige and van
Zyl have been good friends for some time so when van Zyl suggested the idea
and at the same they would be able to support children in need, a passion of
Krige’s, it didn’t take long for planning to commence.
“I’ve known Billy (van Zyl) for years and he has been trying to get me to do
Fish for a little while now,” explained Krige. “Then I was in PE a little
while ago when De Wet Barry went through a bad time with the loss of his
child and Billy was there to,” said Krige.
“Again he mentioned the Fish and I have a couple of friends who have done
the race a few times and really enjoyed it so I gave it some thought.”
“I’m always keen to try help out, especially with kids, so when Billy phoned
back a couple weeks later and explained the charity side of things and that
we’d be able to donate the money not only to one charity but to lots of
different charities, all involving children, I was very excited,” he added.
Besides their decades-old friendship, Krige and van Zyl have developed a
unique connection and understanding of one another in recent years after
both have had to overcome one of life’s most difficult traumas.
In 2009 Krige tragically lost both his four and one-year-old niece and
nephew in a freak accident on his sister-in-law’s farm in 2009 whilst van
Zyl himself had to deal with heartache and pain of losing a child of his own
when his young son heartbreakingly drowned in a swimming pool a few years
It is this understanding and bond that these two good friends share that is
the primary driving force behind their Hansa Fish initiative and their
passion to help other young children in need that they hope will rub off on
others they come into contact with.
For the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon, renowned for the work it does for
the small Eastern Cape town of Cradock, this is yet another example of the
remarkable impact the race has had on the region and again enforces just why
it is regarded as more than just a paddling race by so many.
“The ability to give back to the community is extremely important to us at
the Hansa Fish and to be able to get involved in what Billy (van Zyl) and
Corné (Krige) are out to achieve is very special for us,” said Marais.
“We place a huge emphasis on ensuring every cent raised, over and above the
costs of the race, goes back into the community and that can be seen by the
fact that we are able to support the Cradock Cansa Care Centre, SPCA and Old
Age Home all through the charity batch, the Round Table manages the bar,
local churches have food stalls during the event and schools are involved as
well,” he added.
With the cameras in hot pursuit and all eyes closely watching the trio’s
progress throughout the two day spectacle Marais is all to aware the heat
will be on, particularly for himself and van Zyl who are old hands on the
river, come 5 and 6 October.
“It has put quite a bit of pressure on Billy (van Zyl) and I to perform and
not to make any mistakes,” chuckled Marais. “It’s just fantastic to have a
personality as big as Corné (Krige) come take part in our event though.”
“Everyone involved in the race is really excited to have him with us and it
will be really fun to be able to do the race with such a good sportsman and
for such a good cause.”
The Hansa Fish takes place in Cradock on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 October
2012 and will decide the SA K1 River Championships.