Meet our marathon paddler of the month for May, Saskia Hockly from South Africa!!

  1. How old you were when you started paddling.

I was 15 when I hopped into a boat (namely Surfski) for the first time and then a kayak in July 2019 when I joined the McSquad group.

  1. What was your first race when you started paddling

My first ever paddling race was the local Pirates Wall&Back surfski series that happens in October every year. I did it in a double with my dad and soon fell in love with the sport after that.

  1. How did you get into canoe marathon as a sport.

 I started out with paddling primarily to improve my surf ski skills for lifesaving. I then tried out a kayak for the first time and slowly started moving towards flatwater racing because I loved how the boats felt and the intensity of racing was so high!

  1. What do you enjoy most about kayaking as a sport?

The thing that I love most about kayaking is the camaraderie amongst the athletes on and off the water, despite being competition from all over the world. The vibe at competitions is always a happy and cheerful one. I also love how hard the sport itself actually is. The way it tests your body as well as your mind.

  1. What is the toughest part when travelling and racing abroad.

I think the toughest part for me is not having the comfort of my home or family with me. You are all alone when you travel abroad and it’s also super mentally challenging having to be 100% prepared all the time, especially for emergency situations.

  1. 6. Which race was your highlight race in your career so far.

My highlight race since I started competing has to be my final junior K1 year (2022) when we raced in Portugal. I was in a really difficult place during the race but I know I did everything right leading up to it so had to remind myself that I am more than capable of making it to the end. I was working 10x so hard as the other girls but I pushed through and that bronze means more to me than any race I’ve done.

  1. 7. What is your favourite place to paddle in the World.

I haven’t been to many places as yet but I think so far, I’d definitely love to go back to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands! That place was absolutely magnificent and the scenery was unreal.

  1. Who are your sporting heroes, and especially in marathon.

I definitely look up to my coach, Matt Bouman, and my training partner Michelle Burn as they’ve both achieved so much in their careers and being able to have the privilege of training and racing alongside both of them is unreal and I feel very very lucky!

Canoe Marathon