12-time Molokai Surfski Challenge Champion, Oscar Chalupsky, will return to the Fish River Canoe Marathon in 2023 to team up with brother Herman and Andy Leith in their K3 for the two-day event.
The 2011 K3 winners have been a formidable outfit in the three-man canoe at the Klein Karoo classic over the years and will team up again this year with an eye on being as competitive as a team of middle-aged talented former champions can be.
Oscar’s battle with multiple myeloma has inspired many and the 60-year-old continues to fight against his incurable illness. Despite his ailment, Chalupsky continues to paddle and motivate as he looks for a fifteenth Fish finish in 2023.
“I am going to paddle the Breede a few weeks before the Fish so I can get some time in the arms and then be ready to go for the Fish,” Chalupsky said.
“We want to be as competitive as we can be and be as good as we can be. Over the years we’ve developed into a pretty good team with Herman at the front, Andy in the middle and me at the back of the boat.
“It’s going to be a bit different this year because we are going to paddle a sit-on-top K3 which will be an interesting change.”
Chalupsky has written a book about his battle with cancer and despite influencing many with his fight, he uses the paddling community and the Fish for support.
“There is a special camaraderie in the paddling community and I have a lot of special mates that are always there to support me and have my back.
“The people that you see at the Fish are incredibly supportive and they want me to carry on fighting this fight. It’s important for me to have these people and I appreciate the time I get with them when I’m in Cradock.”
As an international ambassador for paddling, Chalupsky is an advocate for the Fish and enjoys his time at the race.
“The Fish is so well organised and well supported and I tell people overseas that if they want to do a race in South Africa they must paddle the Fish.
“It has clean water and the whole community gets involved in the event which makes it a unique paddling experience.
“It’s a lot of fun meeting up with people at the Cradock Canoe Club and being two days makes it different to races in that you can meet up with people on Friday and Saturday to catch up,” he added.
Using the Fish as part of the bigger picture is the plan for a number of paddlers and Chalupsky is using the race for a few reasons.
“Training for the Fish means that I have to stay healthy and that forms part of the bigger goal to be fit for the Surfski World Championships in Australia at the end of the year.
“I’ll lose around 20kg in my training for Fish and it forms part of the bigger picture for me,” Chalupsky mentioned.