The Fish River marathon first took place in 1982 with 77 competitors. It was the brainchild of Cape paddler Dave Alexander and a local Department of Water Affairs engineer, Knut Olav "KO" Bang. By 2000 competitor numbers had grown to a record 1564, placing the race among the world's five biggest canoe marathons. The K-3, developed in South Africa, is a recent addition to the canoe sprint kayak class which previously consisted of the K1, K2 and K4. The K3 is particularly well suited to the Fish River with a relatively rock-free river bed and easily negotiable weirs. Demonstrating this in 2009, Matt Bouman, Herman Chalupsky and Andrew Birkett paddled their K3 to a 5h 9m finish, coming in just outside the top 10 overall. The 2011 overall winners were Hank McGregor/Grant van der Walt with a time of 4:40.38 for the 2-day event.