2016 FNB Dusi Canoe
Houston brothers hunt rare sibling feat at 2016 FNB Dusi
Pietermaritzburg - Tackling the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon with a family member
is a special experience for most, aiming to achieve the feat Houston
brothers Alan and Andrew have set themselves of challenging for 2016's
Under-23 Men's crown and claiming top five place overall is as rare an
opportunity as there can be.
The USN duo - 19 and 23 years-old respectively - set aside various other
offers from talented competitors to take on the 120km race from
Pietermaritzburg to Durban together, something they are looking forward to
"Alan had said he was keen to do Dusi with me a while back and then I had a
few other offers too but in the end I decided paddling with Alan would be
the easiest option as far as training goes, etc. and I'm really looking
forward to racing with him!" explained older brother Andrew.
"Alan won the Under-18 title at Dusi this year and was lying twelfth overall
until Pumphouse (Rapid and Weir) which just goes to show what a talented
paddler and runner he is.
"Also, when you race with someone it often becomes a bit like a job and when
the race is over so is the partnership.
"Racing with my brother will be a massive bonding experience for us though
and will be really special!" he added.
While the natural understanding of one another expected of a siblings'
pairing may be an advantage for the Houstons, the likelihood of a squabble
between partners occurring would also seem greater.
For the Houstons though, a strong relationship off the water has already led
to a positive partnership on it.
"Most of the time we get along really well; if we'd been twins it may have
been different!" laughed Andrew.
"One of the keys is accepting when you're wrong and I think that is
something we both are able to do quite well and I'm sure that will help us
in the boat come Dusi."
The brothers may enjoy a strong bond however Andrew does admit that
accepting that the option of Alan sitting in the front of the boat was not
the easiest thing to do.
“A lot of pride had to be swallowed!
“Eventually I had to try convince him that he was in the front not because
he is a better driver than me, but because he was lighter than me and with
him sitting in the front I could then be the powerhouse in the back!”
Despite the potential joy of winning the Under 23 category in 2016, a top
five finish in such a competitive year would be the pair’s ideal.
"We've spoken about our goals and we'd definitely like to be in the top ten
at least and a top five would be awesome!
"It's my last year in Under-23 and Alan's first so trying to win Under-23s
is definitely something that has crossed our minds and if we could do that
it would be great but a top five overall would still be the ultimate!
"Also, if we're able to get ourselves into the top five then we would
probably stand a pretty good chance of being first Under-23 anyway,"
While the young pair’s rapid rise through the paddling ranks over the past
twelve months will see them go into the 2016 FNB Dusi with a strong chance
of achieving their goal, one of the strongest K2 fields in the recent
history of the three day race will make their task that much tougher.
“It was competitive two years ago when I was paddling with Ivan (Kruger) but
not that competitive; the gaps between boats were quite big.
“A lot of stars – like Ant Stott and Len Jenkins – have made a comeback
since then though and this field will be really, really strong!”
The FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift, Pietermaritzburg
to Blue Lagoon, Durban from 18-20 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
Brothers Alan (front) and Andrew
(back) Houston hope to challenge for a top five position overall and the U23
Men's title at the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe marathon in February.
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