Justin Schaay wrote in with this report from the Dusi 2015 race. Traditionally a canoe race, there were a few SUPs competing this year. The course is dangerous–one competitor died. Schaay placed second behind Slater Trout. Corran Addison was third.
Hello! There’s hardly been for anything other than trying to recover and rest after a long day each day. Also trying get the body to function was challenging as it was super demanding.
I’m South African and grew up in this area and every year I would watch two major endurance sporting events: The Dusi Canoe Marathon and the Comrades Marathon, the later is a 56 mile running race. Each year I would marvel at the endurance of these athletes, all shapes and sizes out there pushing it. When I heard that last year they allowed 4 SUPs to enter the Dusi I wanted to give it a try. That is how it all started and unfortunately it was a bit of a late dession to do it but very rewarding and I feel very privileged to have been a part of it. There is a lot of history surrounding the event as it’s in it’s 64 th year. This year was dedicated to Dr. Ian Player who started it all.
I had a few scrapes, bruises and a deep cut to the ankle from the rocks and a couple of scratches and embedded thorns I picked up on the portages. Sadly the water quality in parts is very poor. The cut on my ankle started swelling up today and oozing so I went off to the hospital to get it checked out. The Dr. Heard the word Dusi and without hesitation put me on antibiotics.
It was an epic adventure and very tough on the body and gear, I’m very stoked to have made it to the end as that was my goal. Last year I did the Watertribe Everglades Challenge which is a 300 mile unsupported race in Florida from Tampa to Key Largo. I thought that was tough but this, even though shorter, was just so brutal due to the hectic pace and constant changes form rapids to portages then flat sections into head winds.
Dusi Canoe Marathon route
Pietermaritzburg – The 2015 Dusi Canoe Marathon is on our doorstep and participants of the 64th edition of the iconic three day paddling event from Pietermaritzburg to Durban will once again paddle the same channels and run the same paths as the race’s late founder Dr. Ian Player.
Paddlers get their 120km journey underway on Thursday 19 February at Natal Canoe Club’s headquarters at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg on the Msundusi River with the goal of reaching the estuary of the Mngeni River at Blue Lagoon in Durban on Saturday 21 February.
Thursday’s 42km opening stage gets starts with the early morning, atmospheric journey out of Pietermaritzburg with paddlers’ opening obstacles being Ernie Pearce Weir, YMCA Weir, Mussons Rapid and Taxi Rapid.
The day is however renowned for it’s various tough portages, the first of which is the Sewage Farm Hop at the Darvil Sewage Works before the testing Campbell’s Farm trot.
Most of the top paddlers will opt not to put their boat pack into the river at Campbell’s Bridge and instead will continue running with their boat through the Hole in the Wall portage.
More running at the Guinea Fowl and Geoff’s Road, Finger Neck as well as Cabbage Tree portages while some paddling obstacles such as The Maze and Mission Rapid eventually brings paddlers to the overnight stop at Dusi Bridge.
Friday’s stage two is the longest and toughest of the three as the 46km journey finishes with an 11km grind across Inanda Dam to Msinsi Resort.
Saddles 1 and 2 portages will get the blood pumping early on before the Msundusi River joins the Mngeni River with the increase in the volume of water sees paddlers presented with a more technical paddling challenge.
After reaching Marianni-Foley Causeway – the halfway point in the race – paddlers the charge up Nqumeni Hill to avoid the deadly Mamba Gorge before tackling the infamous ‘Big Three’ – Gumtree, Thombi and Hippo Rapids.
The sight of the second stage’s finish line at the end of the long, twisting and tiring flatwater stretch is a welcome one for all while the thought of the shortest 36km stage lying ahead on Saturday also brings great relief.
The final stretch into Durban offers paddlers some of the more exciting and enjoyable rapids in KwaZulu-Natal and after a brief 4km sprint across Inanda Dam, the cool waters of the Mngeni River await paddlers at the tricky Tops Needle Rapid.
Once safely through the first paddling challenge of the day, paddlers are faced with Side Chute and Umzinyathi Rapids before having to make a choice just above Little John Rapid of whether to continue paddling – and tackle some the toughest rapids of the race such as Island 1 and 2 as well as Five Fingers Rapids – or run over the never-ending and steepest portage of the three day journey, the infamous Burma Road.
Most elite paddlers choose to run these days and as they crest the notoriously grueling hill, they are greeted with their first glimpse of Durban.
Bouyed by the end drawing near, paddlers call on their reserve tank of energy supplies as they face up to the final few kilometers before the flat waters of Blue Lagoon.
The man-made Pumphouse Weir and Rapid present paddlers with the final major obstacle of the race before the last flatwater grind to the finish line at Blue Lagoon where family, friends and the resounding sense of achievement await.
The 64th edition of the Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 February 2015. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za