The 2018 edition of the Canvas Dusi got underway on Friday from Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg as 18 hardy paddlers recreate the famous canvas and wooden boat journey undertaken by the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon pioneers over 65 years ago.
The late Dr Ian Player sparked the idea of a race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban along the Msundusi and Mgeni Rivers while in Italy during World War II and in December 1951 the first formal Dusi Canoe Marathon happened with Player being the only boat of eight to finish, in six days and eight hours.
The 18 brave souls that will take on the feat in 2018 will plan on completing the event in four days and will have the benefit of a water release from Henley Dam which coincides with the annual StaminaGro 50 Miler – which takes place on Saturday.
Every year a group of experienced paddlers take on the Dusi route from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in homemade boats made of wood and canvas staying overnight in the Valley of a Thousand Hills on their way to the ocean.
The four day trip will see paddlers spend the first night at Geoff’s Road, the second night at the famous Mfula Store, the third night will be at the Inanda Dam wall and then it is the final stretch to Durban from there.
This year will mark the 15th year of the Canvas Dusi.