Nicky Irvine wants to make a difference on her milestone Fish

The upcoming Fish River Canoe Marathon will be a massive occasion for Nicky Irvine Floros as she sets out to become the first female paddler to complete 20 consecutive races, and she plans to use the milestone opportunity to raise R20 000 for The Cows charity drive.

The 34 year old biokineticist from Hilton was one of the first to grasp the opportunity when The Cows, normally involved in cycling, road running and swimming, decided to launch a Paddling Herd at the 2017 Fish.

“I first encountered The Cows while riding the 947 Cycle Challenge and was just amazed by their spirit ,” said Irvine.

“Then, when I read about The Cows forming a Herd for the Fish on the race website, there was no hesitation. This gave us a fantastic reason as a family to go to the Fish this year.

“Having a family of our own makes the work that CHOC does even more real, so getting involved in a fundraiser for CHOC was an easy decision to make,” she added.

Their two daughters, Lulu (4) and Georgia (2), are no strangers to the Fish, as they have been part of the race in a number of unusual ways.

“Both of them have already done a Fish because I paddled with both of them while I was pregnant!” said Irvine.

“We have made special Cow suit onesies for both of them and they will both be doing their duty with collection cans.”

Irvine did her first Fish as a 14 year old, paddling with Alice Rawlinson, and remembers the trip vividly.

“Alice’s dad Dave got us into this massive Accord, and we tripped quite a bit of the river. He banned us from shooting Keith’s Flyover, but we just bombed down the middle of all the other big rapids because we didn’t know any better.

“The race sponsors dished out these bright yellow hats. I recall our seconds saying we were so easy to spot on the river because of the bright hats and the loud chatter that was always going on in our boat!” says Irvine.

She tried hard to coax Rawlinson back from overseas to paddle with her on her milestone twentieth consecutive Fish, but she couldn’t make the trip, so she turned to her husband Nick with the plan for a special family trip.

“The response to our Cow Fish plans has been amazing. We have already raised R14 000 and we will keep it up hoping to try and get to R20 000 by the end of the year via our GivenGain account.

“What has amazed me is how aware everyone is of the work that CHOC does when you approach them, which makes getting donations so much easier.

Her husband Nick Floros, perhaps best known as the mountain bike trail builder for the Rio Olympic Games, the prospect is a little daunting.

“Gee, I wish I could have done a bit more training,” he said frankly. “I know it is going to hurt a bit but it will all be worthwhile,” he said.

Without entering into a debate on control issues, he conceded that he was sitting in the back seat of the boat to keep the peace.

“Nicks will be driving boat, because she thinks she is the better driver,” he ventured bravely. “Personally I think it is more about weight distribution than driving ability!”

Their boat of choice was repaired at the last minute, after having badly damaged the nose of their K2 in last year’s Fish.

“It was so bad that the whole nose had to come off a new nose was put on,” he said. “So we might take our time to get back to full confidence on things like Double Trouble,” he added.

Nicky says that the trip to Cradock will be special for their family.

“Time is short. We really want to make the most of the time we have together. If what we achieve over this year’s Fish will allow another person to enjoy another laugh with their family, then it will have been a good deed,” She concluded.

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