Herve ‘Caveman’ deRauville – ‘just go as hard as you can’

Herve Caveman de Rauville:
Herve only started paddling in 1977 and he fell out of his boat. Then he fell out again. And again. In fact, doing slalom that year the race judges asked him if he could put his race number on the bottom of his boat so they knew who was floating past. This happened too often, so he invented a new paddling style: ‘Just go as hard as you can’, which led to less falling out and in his very first Umko that year finishing second single! Herve reckons he uses that same simple method to this day.


One year Herve took Hugh Morel down the river to take pictures.

At Staircase rapid they skirted the hole and stopped to do what they came for – just in time to see Anton Fouche drop into the hole and get chomped.

They watched as he circulated in the hole.

Herve said “We’d better save him!”

Hugh said “Jump in Herve!”

Herve said “No, YOU jump in!”

Hugh said “But Herve, you should jump in – you haven’t got that long to live!”


Patricia Stannard tells a Herve tale:

Patricia’s first Umko was in 2004. “Not sure why Herve ever agreed to do it with me as it was number 20 for him.  He muttered something about the fact that I’d done a few Fish Marathon’s being an acceptable qualifier. In the Hella Hella race (first time I’d seen the river) we decided to go LEFT of the pinnacle rock at No.5&6.  The holes in the middle of 5&6 are BIG … we swam, and it was dark for a long time down there.”

Herve lost his paddle – a conventional one – in the swim, and as Herve is a founder member of the Flat Paddle Society he was desperate. Spying a young lad on the bank with a paddle he pulled over and wheedled the paddle from him, handing Patricia hers back.

No ways she said and gave her wings to the umfaan, changing Herve’s summary confiscation into a fairer swop arrangement.

No ways said Herve, ever-parsimonious, the wings are worth two grand the flat paddle two rand, so he swopped back and paddled with the wings, grumbling all the way to Josephine’s.