The brother pairing of Alan and Andrew Houston will once again team up for the 2017 Fish River Canoe Marathon and as is their way they are not putting themselves under pressure at this year’s edition of the two-day race on 6 & 7 October.
The former Michaelhouse school boys managed to race to a seventh place finish in 2015 against a strong field and despite this year’s men’s field seeming like quite an open one they still feel that they are going to enjoy the race and appreciate time in a boat together.
“We paddled the Pre Fish together last weekend and despite it being our only paddle before Fish we clicked straight away,” younger brother Alan said.
“That is always a good sign. We would like to have had more time in the boat together but being so far apart, me in Stellenbosch and Andrew in Underberg, means that that is the way it goes.
“We haven’t actually spoken about a specific goal for Fish, we just want to have a good race and we’re both happy to be there.”
Alan will be in the front of the boat at the Fish this year, as he was in 2015, and the relationship between the two siblings in the boat is an amicable one.
“Andrew is convinced that the reason I drive is because I am lighter, but we both know the real reason,” Alan chuckled.
“We don’t fight, well we haven’t fought yet in the boat and that’s mainly due to the fact that we know each other so well and our bond is strong enough that we know what makes each other tick and where each other’s limits are.
“I think that that is one of the great advantages of paddling with a sibling but I also know some cases where that doesn’t quite work out so smoothly,” he added.
The Mooi River-raised pair put their names on the K2 paddling map when they finished fourth in the 2016 Dusi Canoe Marathon despite being in third going into the final stage.
All paddlers understand the importance of portaging on the Dusi and the Houston brothers are both strong runners, however Alan still believes that despite the shortness of the portages on the Fish there is still an opportunity to make up time on the runs.
“It is a bit of a disadvantage for us that there is so little running but with that said we still feel that if we run really hard it can be beneficial to us.
“The small portages are still important for us and we want to use them well.
“Although there isn’t too much running we still feel that we will be competitive as our consistent pace is one of our major strengths,” he emphasised.
The 2017 Fish River Canoe Marathon takes place from Grassridge Dam to Cradock Sports Complex on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 October.