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Twenty years ago, the Dusi K2 years used to have almost 1000 boats finishing (977 in 2002, 969 in 2004, and 970 in 2006) but with the steady decline in participation ever since, only 207 boats finished this year. The Dusi may not attract the same sort of numbers it used to, but it remains as iconic as ever and all who went will tell you what a fantastic event it still is. Well done to Andy Birkett and Matt Fenn on taking the win ahead of local favourites Mtolo and Khwela by over 6 minutes. Andy is now just one win away from equaling the Popes incredible record of 15 Dusi titles.

This year we only had 37 Dabs and SCARC paddlers in 26 boats representing us at the Dusi, but all who went were well pleased that they did. Best in the results were Siseko and Banetse who came 4th overall; then Brad Boulle and Emma who came 2nd in the mixed doubles and a very creditable 22nd overall. In the Dabs dicing, Rob and Ryan had a stormer of a first day coming in some 7 minutes ahead of Jack and Luke, but Dusi is a 3-day race which is seldom won on day one. Alex and MJ had a fantastic day 2 and with that they then took the club honours finishing up in 17th place, followed by Jack and Luke in 18th and then Rob and Ryan in 19th place. In amongst the mix we also had some Dabs imports with Kelvin coming out from the land of sand to paddle with Ian Wilson who has been studying horses and other old fillies in America. Then we also had some Dusi die hards who just can’t stay away, guys like Kevin and Daryn, John and Chad. Troy Clark and Neil Barrow were the only Dabs boys in singles – Neil only decided to enter the day before, and then got his moneys worth by staying out in the valley longer than most – perhaps because last minute entries are very expensive. Karen was our only lady representative, she paddled with an older KZN guy who knows the river well, but well-done to Karen on her first Dusi! Kevin and Raoul were last home for us and just squeaked into the top 200. Well done to both; Kevin is a seasoned Dusi Rat with over 30 finishes to his name while Raoul has finally got to 10. Raoul has been very busy of late tackling all sorts of epic long-distance events, from Devizes to Westminster to PE2EL to Dusi – but it has been pointed out that each of these events was a bit shorter than previous years, and Raoul was the only common denominator, Raoul? Beyond the river, there were a lot of cooldrinks consumed by the Dabs lads at the afterparty (and Karen, and supporters and seconds.) Our boys showed the KZN crowd that they don’t need shirts or sobriety to dance; that they can party harder than anyone, even after a tough three days in and around the valley of 1000 hills.

If you have never done a Dusi, then you really should plan to, and if you have but have stayed away, then make a plan to go back – it’s still the Comrades of river paddling, not just geographically, but because it’s an epic event and an amazing experience. Importantly, since the start was moved to Bishopstowe, it seems that the dreaded Dusi guts is no longer the threat was – so no more excuses!

This Saturday we are having a ‘Dabs Open Day’ to try and recruit new members, towards hopefully turning the tide and starting to rebuild paddling and river racing. Please encourage and help all the new people you see. Go Dabs!