Dusi Bridge – On an absolute scorcher of a day the Dusi Canoe Marathon dished out its fair share of drama as one of the top contenders broke their boat early in the race but the drama unfolded further down the field as a broken rib, a few broken boats and a bunch of foreigners all made their way to the finish at Dusi Bridge after Day one of the gruelling three-day adventure from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
In the heat of the Valley of a Thousand Hills the already difficult task of making the trip to Dusi Bridge was made even more difficult for paddling partners Jay Jenkins and Ian Oliver when Jenkins received a blow from a tailing boat in the ribs which apparently has led to a fracture of his ribs.
“There is always quite a lot of congestion at Mussons Weir,” said a painful Jenkins. “There were some guys swimming at the bottom when we went down and as we got down guys came behind us and I caught the nose of the boat in the ribs and I knew from then that there was something really wrong.”
Jenkins and Oliver made it to the finish with Jenkin’s being assisted from the boat and unable to carry the boat out of the water but getting to the finish of day one was an achievement in itself after paddling a further 33 kilometres with broken ribs.
Breakages are a common occurrence in river paddling and today saw one of the title contending crews see their chances of a top podium spot slip away when Lance Kime and Thulani Mbanjwa broke their boat at the Witness Weir in Pietermaritzburg.
For the rest of the field boat breakages are far more frequent and Duncan James and Andrew Molver found out at N3 Highway rapid where they hit a log on the way down and copped a blow from a following boat causing damage to their front cockpit.
“It was a pretty long day out there on the river!” James said. “After we broke it got pretty tough for us in the heat but we glad we managed to get here in the end!”
James was very philosophical and understood who was responsible for their mishap but was quick to point out that tomorrow is another day and they will be back out there having as much fun as they possibly could.
“We will have a look at the damage and get our repairs done this evening and get back out there tomorrow for what should be another great day of racing!
“I will take full responsibility for what happened out there and it’s great that Andrew (Molver) is so understanding!” he said jokingly.
Traditionally the Dusi does not cater very well to K3’s but out of the few brave tripods that have decided to paddle in the race this year the trio of Lean Pretorius, Kevin Kubheka and Marius Mellet came up trumps on day one.
“We scraped quite a lot coming down today but that’s what we expected,” Pretorius said. “We had a few seat issues and the portages were tough but we are glad that we managed to get to the finish in such a big boat with such little preparation.”
The three have been training together for a while and Pretorius and Mellet had entered into the Dusi this year in a K2 but at the last minute decided to change their minds.
“This was a very late decision I must say! Paddling a K2 would have been a lot easier but it has been a lot of fun and we are pretty glad that we decided to go with the K3,” Mellet added happily.
The man who has completed the most Dusi Canoe Marathon’s completed his 40th consecutive day one of the Dusi and Graeme “Gudgie” Dixon echoed the sentiments of a lot of paddlers when asked about the heat.
“I have done a lot of these races and today was very, very hot! It was seriously out their which made the portages difficult and myself and Sarah (daughter) decided that we were just going to walk them and try and reserve ourselves for tomorrow which is going to be tough.
“It is always great to see the finish line!” a relieved Dixon said.
National radio and sports personality Sias du Plessis was another man chuffed to see the finish line but was grateful to partner Deon Bruss for getting him through his third day one of his short Dusi career.
“On the portages it felt doubly hot I won’t lie!” Du Plessis mentioned. “Out of the three that I have done this has to be by far the hottest I have experienced but I’ve really got to thank Deon for being an absolute legend again – despite some dodgy driving,” Du Plessis said tongue firmly in cheek.
Bruss called on all of his knowledge of the river when the pair got to the Devil’s Cauldron as they snuck down a side shoot that Bruss hadn’t used in 10 years.
“Deon really showed his age when we got to the Devil’s Cauldron and took a little sneak after there was quite a bit of traffic but when you have done this race so often you learn these things,” Du Plessis concluded.
All photos Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – 2014 DUSI CANOE MARATHON
1.Robyn Kime/Abbey Ulansky 3:02.01
2.Abby Adie/Anna Adamova 3:02.30
3.Tamika Haw/Bianca Haw (U23) 3:16.16
4.Jen Theron/Jane Swarbreck 3:22.23
5.Hilary Bruss/Alex Adie 3:23.16
6.Carmen Donald/Debbie Germiquet 3:29.57
7.Susan Carter-Brown/Kelly Howe 3:35.24
8.Jordan Peek/Brittany Petersen (U23) 3:38.17
9.Jenna Ward/Kerry Segal (U23) 3:39.09
10.Camilla Pennefather/Cana Peek (U18) 3:39.58
Under 23 Women
1.Tamika Haw/Bianca Haw 3:16.16
2. Jordan Peek/Brittany Petersen 3:38.17
3.Jenna Ward/Kerry Segal 3:39.09
1.Camilla Pennefather/Cana Peek 3:39.58
2.Sarah Harries/Julia Trodd 3:50.28
3.Saxon Kirton/Emily Stapylton-Smith 4:37.02
1.Andy Birkett/Sbonelo Zondi 2:33.30
2.Hank McGregor/Jasper Mocké 2:39.03
3.Cam Schoeman/Jakub Adam (CZE) 2:47.07
4.Kwanda Mhlophe/Zonele Nzuza 2:48.20
5.Simon van Gysen/Craig Turton 2:49.55
6.Damon Stamp/Mthobisi Cele (U18) 2:52.13
7.David Wood/Kelvin Trautman 2:53.25
8.Siseko Ntondini/Piers Cruickshanks 2:53.49
9.Loveday Zondi/Thando Ngamlana 2:53.50
10.Jacques Theron/shaun Griffin 2:53.59
11.Lucas Mthalane/Mmeli Cele 2:54.23
12.Shaun Biggs/Wayne Thompson 2:56.01
13.Andrew Houston/Ivan Kruger (U23) 2:57.04
14.Mhlonishwa Hlongwane/Nqobile Makhanya (U23) 2:57.17
15.Mark Michell/Trenton Lamble 2:57.18
16.Roland Smith/Thomas Ngidi 2:58.26
17.Lance Kime/Thulani Mbanjwa 2:59.14
18.David Chaplin/Mark Mulder 2:59.22
19.Skhumbuso Ngidi/Nkosikayise Cele 3:00.16
20.Carl Folscher/Ben Biggs 3:00.19
Under 23 Men
1. Andrew Houston/Ivan Kruger 2:57.04
2.Mhlonishwa Hlongwane/Nqobile Makhanya 2:57.17
3.Owen Gandar/Matthew Dean 3:01.26
1.Damon Stamp/Mthobisi Cele 2:52.13
2.Bryan le Roux/Ryno van der Westhuyzen 3:14.45
3.Patrick Dillon/Alan Houston 3:15.08