Miller's Taxi Conquers the Miller's Run!

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 08:29 | Written by 
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Vinnie Cicatello - the man behind the Miller's Run Taxi! Vinnie Cicatello - the man behind the Miller's Run Taxi! Credits: Michael MacLaughlin

"It was an adrenalin rush and I can't wait to do it again…" said Vinnie Cicatello. He'd just completed his first ever Miller's Run, in the back of a double surfski with Oscar Chalupsky.

Miller's Run

The Miller's Run is arguably the most famous downwind paddling route in the world - thanks to its phenomenal popularity and the reliability of the southeasterly winds that blow so regularly in summer in Cape Town.

It's a relatively short run - 11.7km (plus the 800m paddle out to the start) - but that means that it's doable even after work for much of the summer season.

It's often challenging: the wind frequently blows at 30kt or more and the sea state is often confused. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that some of the best downwind paddlers in the world (Sean Rice, Dawid Mocke, Jasper Mocke and more) come from the Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving, situated conveniently at the end of the Miller's Run! If you can paddle a fast Miller's Run on a big day, you can handle anything, anywhere in the world.

Miller's Run

Miller's Run Taxi

But the logistical challenge that every downwind paddler faces is that it's a one-way route. What do you do about transport? Enter the Miller's Run Taxi.

A few years ago two companies in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, came together: Dawid Mocke's Surfski School and the Cicatello's Green Cape Tours. Dawid needed to take groups of paddlers to do Miller's Runs and Vinnie had some spare time between tours.  Vinnie started driving for Dawid, but quickly saw the potential to expand beyond the Surfski School; there were many other paddlers who also wanted a lift to Miller's Point.

And so the Miller's Run Taxi was born…

Vinnie borrowed the Surfski School trailer - then had his own 12-ski trailer built. That trailer's now been modified to carry 16 surfskis and Vinnie often calls in other drivers to carry the extra paddlers…

The Miller's Run Taxi has become an institution over the last two years, both with local paddlers and international visitors.  Just ask the Italian "mafia" - here a few days ago - who were sitting quietly in the bus minding their own business (does this sound likely?) when Vinnie turned on the music - the Italian National Anthem boomed from the speakers and the Italians raised the roof...  Legendary!

A full load

A full load!

Paddling

But Vinnie had an extra interest in paddling: he has Becker Muscular Dystrophy. To combat the condition, it's vital that he exercises regularly, and he was instantly attracted to paddling (he's also into boxing, cycling and other weight/stretching exercises.)

He aims to paddle three times a week (when work allows) and regularly takes part in the Seadog racing series in Fish Hoek.

Miller's Run

The BMD is a challenge - but Vinnie's current paddling goal is do a Miller's Run in a single ski.

He's working steadily towards that goal, but when Nelo Surfskis CEO (and all-round surfski paddling legend) Oscar Chalupsky was in Cape Town recently, he offered to take Vinnie on a double to do a Miller's Run; Vinnie leaped at the opportunity…

Riding the runsOscar Chalupsky and Vinnie Cicatello - charging into Fish Hoek Bay

It was a "proper" Miller's Run day - 30kt of southeaster with some robust swell to catch.  

"It was definitely one of my highlights of paddling especially going past Roman Rock Lighthouse at speed," said Vinnie. "It was an adrenaline rush and I can't wait to do it again…"

Stoke

Post-Miller's Stoke!

WhatsApp...

Vinnie uses WhatsApp to run the Miller's Taxi side of business; times are usually announced a day or two in advance - and, obviously, depend on the weather.  "In summer I sometimes do 3 or even 4 runs," he says.  The taxi operates in winter too, when the prevailing wind swings from SE to NW.  

To get on the WhatsApp group, contact Vinnie at +27 83 500 5194


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