2016 FNB Dusi Canoe
Canvas Dusi sets 2016 Dusi fever in motion
Pietermaritzburg – The fourteenth edition of the unique Canvas Dusi
Canoe Marathon will start on Thursday 3 December, but, unusually, it will
not follow the entire original Dusi route due to the drought conditions
gripping the province.
Using boats made of wood and canvas replicating those used by the pioneers
of the race in the 1960s, a hardy group of paddling enthusiasts takes
advantage of the water release for the 50 Miler on the first weekend of
December every year to commemorate the pioneering spirit of the early Dusi
However the tight water restrictions in place to combat the drought have
meant that there will be no water flowing from Inanda dam, forcing the
adventurers to stop their trip at Inanda dam instead of the traditional
finish of the FNB Dusi at Blue Lagoon in Durban.
Twenty-two intrepid adventurers will set off from Camps Drift planning to
finish at Inanda Dam within four days and organiser Anton Venter, who has
done all thirteen Canvas Dusi’s, is as prepared as ever for the trip as he
has been in the past.
“We will be cutting this year’s canvas Dusi short and finishing at Inanda
Dam because of the fact that there is no water below the dam wall and
carrying the boats to Durban was not an option,” said Venter.
“It would be a case of carrying the boats all the way to Blue Lagoon and
paddling the short last stretch so we decided that we would end at Inanda
Despite the enforced change to the commemorative paddle, Venter said that a
record field of paddlers will be starting the Canvas Dusi on Thursday,
including the first females to take part.
“We have gathered the biggest field in the thirteen years of the Canvas Dusi
this year,” Venter said. “We have got a number of the usual guys back this
year and in what is a first for the adventure we have two ladies taking part
The new lady adventurers have been pushing to be included in the Canvas Dusi
and following the decision to allow them to take part the two women have
immersed themselves in the preparations ahead of the epic journey.
“We had a bit of pressure from the ladies and it was important that they
knew what had to go into the planning and preparation for the race but we
are happy that they have taken this on and are fully involved.
“We have to build the boats which takes a lot of time and effort and the
ladies have bought into the entire process,” a satisfied Venter mentioned.
Women were first allowed to take part in the FNB Dusi in 1981, in the
company of a male paddlers in the mixed doubles category. They were allowed
to race in singles in
For the paddlers of the canvas Dusi the trip is about taking in the Valley
of a Thousand Hills and making the most of the adventure – the element that
Venter looks forward to the most.
“Us older guys are a lot more laid back and take it very easy as we take in
the scenery as well as the bird life and enjoy the stops for lunch and all
“We do try and see if the river has changed and it does give us a chance to
learn the rapids and see if there have been any adjustments during the
winter,” he added.
The relaxed atmosphere of the journey is the cornerstone of the event as
Venter prepares to take on what would appear to be a low river however he is
not worried about the water level.
“The water level shouldn’t be an issue for us but if it does become an issue
then we will just do what we have to too help out whoever is struggling.
That is something that is very important to us.
“We originally paddled the canvas Dusi in these sort of conditions and then
we managed to piggy-back off the water release for the 50 Miler so that
helped us nicely but a lot of us are not too unfamiliar with the
conditions,” a relaxed Venter added.
The team will use the iconic Mfula Store in the valley as their base as they
look to get to Inanda Dam unscathed and with their canvas canoes in one
The FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from 18 to 20 February 2016. More
information can be found at www.dusi.co.za
Click to download the hi-res
FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon logo (Landscape) - GIF
FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon logo
(Portrait) - GIF
Like Hugh Raw (pictured) in 2014
the largest group ever, 22, of paddlers will tackle the 2015 Canvas Dusi
from Camps Drift to Inanda Dam starting on Thursday, 3 December.
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