Paddle Power

Our kayaking kings conquer the river Murray and raise cash for charity

What has two paddles, four feet, two heads and can travel more than 30 kilometres a day along the River Murray?

Why Two Wells resident Paul Schmelzkopf (pictured, right) and Lewiston youth, Rhys Dezsery, in their kayaks of course!

Earlier this year, the pair decided to join Novita’s Canoe 4 Kids challenge, and paddled from Mildura on the River Murray to Loxton, completing the 406-kilometre journey in two weeks.

Each man’s single, three-metre-long touring kayak was equipped with supplies and swags, with the pair camping on the banks of the Murray with the 10 or so other participants.

“It’s a past-time we do occasionally,” Paul remarked.

“And we thought, ‘why not do it for a good cause?’.”

Paddling for between 30 and 40 kilometres each day, sometimes into strong head winds, was not easy, but the duo helped raise $5000 for Novita Children’s Services, and also purchased four specialist wheelchairs as a result of their efforts.

An industrial designer at Boxbiz in Woodville North, 23-year-old Rhys said the trip was a two-fold opportunity to do something for others and at the same time reach a long-held personal goal.

“On a personal challenge, I’ve always wanted to do a decent kayak trip,” Rhys said.

“It was a mental game at points along the way, and it was also a physical challenge.

“Plus it was good bonding with Paul.”

Paul is the father of Rhys’ girlfriend, Danielle and for him, the trip was both challenging and rewarding.

“I was a bit concerned  I wouldn’t keep up with everybody,” Paul laughed.

“But I’m thinking I’ll do it again next year.”

Each day the pair paddled for up to eight hours as part of a larger group of about 10 participants.

Their journey was challenging, scenic, at times funny and all in the name of a terrific cause.

“We saw kangaroos, emus, goats, even snakes along the river bank,” Rhys commented. “I even saw a kangaroo swimming across a lagoon.

“That’s something I had never seen or heard of before.”

 “We got to understand it (river health) all a bit better,” Paul added.

Well done guys, not an easy feat by any means!

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