Amanzimtoti Canoe Club was founded in 1990 when approximately 10 keen watermen got together and decided to paddle in the Amanzimtoti River. The competitiveness grew amongst the now paddlers which led to a weekly time trial initiated by the late Terry Grotte. In 1992 the clubs doubled in size to 20 members allowing Amanzimtoti Canoe Club to become affiliated to the KwaZulu Natal Canoe Union.
In 1998, the club had grown significantly to a record 43 members and it was them time to establish a clubhouse that didn’t resemble a boot of a car and a cooler box. The club now resembling a club thanks to Marvin and Roy Palframan in the shape of 2 containers and deck, allowed for regular paddlers to store boats and paddle daily. It was at this point that Mike Chiazzari, one of SA’s top canoeing coaches combined his natural talent and passion to develop a number of dedicated and committed paddlers to KZN and SA colours. Many Toti Club paddlers excelled in the sport even though most of the times they were up against the lager more established clubs in KZN, Russell Sadler, Mike, Dean and Brent Chiazarri, Tiffany Kruger, Jenna Ward, Kerry Segal, Brett Hadiaris, Oliver Burn, Quinton Rutherford, Gary Albers to name a few. In 2007, Mprojects, Marty and Ricky Lodetti came on board and sponsored us with a clubhouse second to none.
A thriving club well positioned on the Toti river exceeded 100 members for many years, until the unfortunate regular sewerage spills created a significant health risk to the paddlers. The impact on the club was immense as paddlers began to drift further north into healthier water to resume their passion leaving Toti canoe club with less than half its members and essential little to no development in the youth.
The great part of about the Toti canoe club is the massive heart and determination of paddling community that are always willing to fight for survival.
The Toti Canoe Club went through a rebranding and social upliftment program with the objective to get the club back to where it was and provide suitable facilities and craft for the next generation to be able to take advantage of. The rebranding process began modernizing our logo and encompassing all water sport activates (SUP, Surfski and canoe) and thus becoming Toti Water Sports Cub. As part of the development process, we saw the need to exposure our sport to the general public by hosting a number of open days. With having to beg borrow and steal craft, we enjoyed in the region of 30 new paddlers each open day. We were pleased to have Mark Barber and Brent Chiazarri step in as coaches allowing for a great structure in order to build from. Parallel to this process, we required a “fresher” river, to which to our delight we found in the shape of the Illovo River. A pub with no beer is the same use as canoe club without a river and within 2 months of using the Illovo River, the footfall was evident. A huge thanks to Umsinsi adventures, Namely Stuart Henderson, Lynton Roberts and Ken Lombard for being in a position to allocate us a portion of their business park to house containers until such a time as we can permanently relocate our clubhouse.
As in all nonprofit clubs, we rely hugely on the annual subs to carry us through the year as well as any profit obtained from the one race we host on an annual basis, The Sam Wyer Memorial, 5 beaches. This is one of the longest standing races on the KZN coast that starts at Umkomaas and finishes at Toti Main beach whilst mandatory short portage on each beach.
The journey to making the Toti Water sports club the club of choice continues daily with an encouraging number of guppys joining the club. We currently have 23 kids (6 – 14) which is certainly one of the largest groups of up and coming stars in the country. Our aim is to support them as such as we can and exposure them to suitable gear, coaching and events. With this said, we are pleased to welcome back Mike Chiazarri back into the coaching mix, side by side with his son and head coach at Toti, Brent. We intend to introduce Gary Ablers as an additional coach in the immediate future to ensure we maintain progression in our coaching system as paddlers progress.
Join us on Facebook and twitter or better still come and join us on the Illovo River any day of the week. It is here that you will still run into paddling household names like Stan Whiting, Solly Segal, Gavin Smith and Gordon Bateman. We have craft available for anyone wanting to give the sport a go without having to initially invest their hard earned shekels.
Where is the club situated
The club is now situated at 1 Deep Tank Road, lower Illovo, at the Illovo Industrial Park
When are your time trials
Every Wednesday from 17:30 in summer and 17:00 in winter. Saturday training sessions and help and communicated through our What’s app group.
Contact: Ross Fountain 066 221 6403 for all info