Robyn Kime: Renaissance woman

At only 22 years of age Robyn Kime has won three editions of the Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon, and is well on her way to becoming one of SA's sporting greats.

To achieve so much in this sport one would assume that Robyn is a professional sportswoman, but she is surprisingly a full time student and is currently doing her masters in Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University.

We caught up with this wonder woman at home in Jonkershoek in the Western Cape.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and grew up in Pietermaritzburg, where my father worked in forestry and my mother gave swimming lessons. As a family we were very active and often went on mountain bike rides and hikes.

I was exposed to adventure sports in high school and that is where I started canoeing.


Do you have any pets?

We technically don’t have any pets of our own, but Humphrey and Coco the two dogs who live on our farm hang out at our cottage whenever we are home and take us for a walk around the farm every morning.

You are currently studying for you MSc in Civil Engineering. Why Civil Engineering, and what comes next?


At school I was good at Maths and Science so Engineering seemed a good choice of degree and Civil just sounded like the best option. 

I’d like to do some travelling as soon as I can after I’ve finished my masters, and after that settle into a nice job.

What do you do when you are not paddling?

Since moving to Jonkershoek at the beginning of this year I have done a lot of hiking and trail running in the mountains here - the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is 3km from our door and has almost endless beautiful trails. Recently I have also been enjoying quite a bit of yoga, rock-climbing and slack-lining (in my training reports I call them stretching, gym and core sessions).

When I feel less energetic I enjoy reading, trying odd arts and crafts, cooking and baking, taking photos, browsing the internet, identifying interesting birds, flowers, trees or bugs, playing board games or just relaxing with a cup of tea/coffee.

What books would we find on your bedside table?

It depends what I’ve been reading or looking at most recently. The bookshelf consists of a couple of textbooks, some magazines, a few novels, a number of nonfiction adventure stories, various field guides, and the odd cookbook.

What makes you paddle?


I love being on rivers. The rapids are exciting and the places we paddle through are often beautiful. More recently I also paddle for the racing and competition aspect, and to try make a little money out of it.

How has paddling helped you define yourself as a person?

Paddling is probably what defines me for most people, but for me it is just something that I love to do. It has definitely taught me many important lessons and has played a big role in shaping my life so far, but it’s just one aspect of my life.

How do you mentally prepare yourself for a highly competitive multi-day race?

I firstly make sure that I’m fully prepared logistically so everything is organised and I don’t stress about silly things going wrong. Then I go over the route in my mind; make sure I know where I have to go and how to shoot each rapids. And then I just relax and try to not think about the race too much.

How do you motivate yourself in a race if things are not going smoothly?

In river races things don’t generally go smoothly all of the time so after a hiccup all you can do is sort it out as best you can and then keep going. If everything always went smoothly it would be boring.

Which is your favourite race?


I love all the races for different reasons – and one of the things I love most about paddling is the variety between the different races so it’s difficult to pick a favourite. The Dusi is special for me because it’s a big thing in PMB and has an amazing atmosphere surrounding it. I also really enjoy the extra dynamic that the long portages introduce.


You have won the last three Dusi’s in a row. How are you training to ensure that you are ahead of the pack again this year?

I haven’t started training yet but will just do the same thing I’ve been doing for the past few years.

Why should people paddle?

If you like adventures and a bit of a challenge then paddling is an awesome sport. It takes a little while to initially get your balance but once you’ve got the basics it’s a lot of fun and you improve so quickly. The Dusi is a great adventure and challenge and I’d recommend it to everyone to do at least once in their lifetime.

How can people follow your racing progress?

I’m not very good at tweeting and blogging but I’m slowly working on it. I’m on Twitter @robynkime/@TeamBest4 and I have a blog address (robynkime.blogspot.com).

NEXT ON WOMEN24X

SA Sports Awards

2012-11-09 12:01
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