Chloe Bunnett: Class of 1995

Old Oaks - Chloe Bunnett_1995  - Photo 1Chloe started paddling at Oakhill with Chris Storey in 1992 and got some experience in K1s, doing sprints and flat water racing and competing in big races, including the Fish River and Berg River Canoe Marathons. While still at school she represented South Africa at the Junior Worlds.

It was only in 2009 that she started competing in open water events in a surfski. She had moved to the UK in 2000 and missed being on the water, so when the opportunity came to paddle again she jumped at it, despite the cold temperatures of the Northern Hemisphere!

Five years later, in December 2014, Chloe won her biggest race ever, the Cape Point Challenge, one of the most prestigious sea races in the world and, at 52 km, one of the longest endurance surfski races and the longest one-day surfski event in the world.

Chloe has been back in Knysna for the past few months training for the 2015 EuroChallenge in Alicante, Spain, in the first weekend of May. Then she heads to Italy for another race in June.

In between races, her boat sponsor, Carbonology Sport has invited her to do a three-day clinic in Sweden (8-10 May), to encourage women to get involved in the sport of ocean paddling.

As sponsors, Carbonology ensure that she has a boat to use, wherever she is racing in the world. Local company Knysna Racing sponsors her paddles. She also gets fantastic support from her partner Peter Galsworthy who, she says, although not a paddler himself, is always 100% behind her, seconding her on her big races.

The international travelling to races means that Chloe needs to win races to pay for her trips with prize money. “Hopefully, the more races I win, the more sponsors I can attract,” she adds.

We asked Chloe what the difference is between racing on flat and open water. “The fitness levels and training schedules are the same,” says Chloe. “The difference is having to learn the skill of catching runs and reading the ocean. The sea is never flat, and you need to learn how to use that to your advantage.”

We wish her every success in her sporting career and her next big race!

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