NEW CHALLENGE FOR ‘DOWNWIND DALE’ AFTER INCREDIBLE RECORD YEAR
It’s the purest joy in paddling.
Dropping down a run and flying downwind.
It’s a feeling we all chase, and one that we all love.
Although no one has ever gone to the lengths that Dale Robinson has to experience it.
Last year, he clocked 222 Miller’s Run downwinders – a record that’s believed to be unmatched anywhere in the world.
“It’s amazing,” he tells The Paddler. “You think you would be sick of it, but downwind paddling has almost become like walking for me.”
“I thought I was sick of it towards the end of the year so I slowed it down, then I looked at the wind and got such incredible FOMO I couldn’t resist.”
Living in Cape Town’s beachside suburb of Fish Hoek, one end of the iconic Miller’s Run, downwind paddling has always formed the cornerstone of Dale’s paddling routine.
But for a record that takes so much planning, it’s one that Dale never set out to achieve.
“I’m part of a paddling group called the ‘Miller’s Maniacs’ and every year they count their Miller’s.” Robinson says.
“So last year I started trying to count my Miller’s, but I wasn’t posting it in the group.
“I was kind of doing one a day, and then we decided to do 10 in one day, which was a record called ‘The Wilson’ in honour of Wayne ‘Wild Dog’ Wilson.
“It took us from sunrise to sunset and pushed me up to 35 Miller’s by the end of January and I thought, ‘You know what? I didn’t set out to do this… but why don’t we smash it?”
“The record before that was 126, so I thought let’s just crack 200 and see what we can do.”
The end result defied belief.
222 runs of the 11.7 kilometre Miller’s Run course, totaling a distance 2,597km.
Incredibly, Dale says only “2 or 3” of those were in unenjoyable conditions.
“They were proper downwinds,” he says. “It might not have been a cranking downwind, but I mean they were all around 20 knots.”
“I’ve spoken to paddlers from Europe who are only able to do two or three downwinders a month.
“The Millers Run is insane – it just keeps on giving. It’s ridiculous. We’re just so lucky here in Cape Town.”
Dale credits his friends, along with Vinnie from Miller’s Run Taxi, for their support in making the incredible accomplishment come to fruition.
“It’s a record that I think is going to be pretty difficult to beat because it took a lot of effort,” Robinson says.
“It really was like a full-time job.”
So much so, it’s why Dale won’t be chasing the record in 2022.
Instead, he has a new surfski challenge on his radar.
“I have a Zimbabwean friend named Admore who can’t swim, had never paddled and had never been in the ocean… but we are going to do the Freedom Paddle, the iconic race around Robben Island here in Cape Town.
“He’s not born of the sea so he’s a super brave guy… I’ve taken him on a few Miller’s Runs and even a few Sea Dog races.
“Some way or another we’re going to try and incorporate fundraising into it, so that’s going to be the next thing I’ll do.”
“Towards the end of the year, I’ll come up with some unique things to do in the Miller’s just to keep it fresh and fun… but I won’t be counting this year!”