Dusi Marathon Training | Riot Stand Up Paddle Boards
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Dusi Marathon Training

I’ve been training hard for a race in South Africa called the Dusi Marathon.

The Dusi is a 120km race over three days that goes from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in Kwazulu South Africa on the uMzimdusi and uMgeni rivers. It’s about 30% flat water paddling (in oppressive 100F weather with 100% humidity), 30% class 2-3 whitewater and 30% running over mountains with your board (kayak) on your shoulder.

An experienced sup paddler with minimal whitewater experience could still do the race as all the main whitewater sections have options to portage around, or paddle the rapids. It varies depending on water levels which is faster anyway and the winner each year is not necessarily a runner vs a paddler. This means an experienced racer who ocean sups would have a chance against seasoned river paddlers (as long as he’s a runner too).

There are four of us doing the event. Myself, and local paddlers Dean Bottcher Jon Ivins and Brendon Germain. Dean, Jon and Brendon are experienced Dusi kayakers, but have minimal sup experience outside sup surfing (though they have now done a few “Dusi” qualifying races). Dean has some whitewater sup experience (he is in the iAfrica film). But they know the river and the race well, and the tactics to use: how to pace yourself, where the hard sections are and to conserve energy for them, the lines through the rapids and so on

I have the most sup experience, and I have been training hard, with split times now which are on a par with some of the kayaks. However, while I know the day3 section of the uMgeni river fairly well, the first two days I have not done before. I hope to run them prior to the race to get an idea but the subtleties of the lines and tactics I will not know. It makes for a level playing field.

I have a special 510cm board made from a new material called AeroliteX which uses Innegra fiber. It’s like Kevlar on steroids. This will stop the board getting smashed to pieces in the rapids. The board is fast and tippy for the arduous flat water sections of the race. Special harnesses are needed too for the long tough portages because a SUP can’t be shoulder carried like a kayak.

Here are some photos of my board, and of the guys in South Africa training for the race.

The race itself is Feb 13-15..

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