Slater Trout has just completed – and won – one of the craziest paddle races on the planet. The Dusi Canoe Marathon in South Africa sees competitors race down river for up to six hours a day, through wild country and wild waters, for three days straight.
The Dusi is one of the world’s toughest and most prestigious canoe races. Over 1,000 competitors raced this year, mainly on canoes and kayaks, however there have been more and more brave souls attempting it standing up in recent years. I believe Corran Addison – of Imagine/CorranSUP/crazy river adventures fame – was one of the pioneers of SUP at the Dusi and was again competing in 2015.
This year Slater joined the SUP challenge and survived endless whitewater, wipeouts on the big rapids, crazy portages up and down jungle hills, an unexpected stretch of prone paddling, even some very tight fitting shorts. And he not only survived, he won, breaking the previous SUP race record by over an hour to set a new time of 14 hours, 19 minutes and 12 seconds down the 120km (75 mile) course.
And just in case it wasn’t already already perfectly that this race is no walk in the park: Highlighting just how crazy/serious the challenge is, one of the kayak competitors – Heine Jordaan – lost his life in the rapids on day two. It’s that serious.
Slater himself had a pretty bad tumble at one point. On the second day he copped an absolute beating on one of the rapids, breaking a paddle, bouncing back and forth off the rocks and having to prone paddle for six miles til he reached his support crew at the next portage.
Sounds like a ridiculously grueling journey but also an incredible adventure. And as always, Slater has been chronicling his adventure on Instagram.
The Boardworks/Infinity superstar is now relaxing & enjoying some safari time before heading back to the States. But when he gets home it’s straight into training for the Carolina Cup and then the ISA Worlds in Mexico, where once he again he’ll be representing Team USA.
Here’s Slater’s stage-by-stage recap of the Dusi and below are some amazing pics of the event in general.
More coverage on the Dusi Canoe Marathon Facebook page. I’m trying to get final SUP division results, however the official site lists all the stand up paddlers in the K1 kayak class for some reason (perhaps they didn’t think anyone would ever be crazy enough to do this race standing up…), so I’ll see if we can round something up.
“Day one of the marathon is complete! I can say it was one if the hardest things I have ever done mentally & physically. It started out at 6am this morning. On the second big rapid of the race I snapped my paddle in half, falling and swimming the entire rapid bouncing off of boulders the whole way down.
I had to paddle on my stomach using my hands for 6 miles until I got to the first portage section of the day (running). I met my support at the top of the first hill and my mom had my spare paddle waiting for me along with my nutrition. The first portage was 3.5 miles up and down muddy hills through the jungle.
The temp was in the mid 90’s. After 30 miles of paddling and portaging, I finished day one with the win and new record time in Men’s SUP 5:01:42. Day two is supposed to be even longer and more grueling. Thanks for the support everyone! More updates after tomorrows race.”
“Really happy to have day two finished. Today was the longest day with the most technical whitewater yet. It also had the steepest hill run of the race. I felt strong all day and ended up winning, advancing my lead going into the final stage tomorrow.
I had to dig deep after paddling 20 miles of white water and finishing the race with an 8 mile up wind lake paddle. Really excited for tomorrow, while trying to take this thing home. Hopefully I can hang on to my lead and be the first American to win the Dusi.
Unfortunately the hardest part of the day was loosing one of our own. On the largest rapid of the race, a canoe paddler drowned and lost his life. This river is unforgiving, my prayers are with him and his family. I hope all the athletes can stay safe for the last day tomorrow.”
“I don’t even know where to start. Thank you to everyone who has been following my journey and supporting me along the way. I’m proud to say I just won the 2015 Dusi Stand Up Paddle Marathon. After 3 days & 120km of paddling / running from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, it’s finally over. I finished the race holding my lead and breaking the previous record by over an hour with my overall time of 14:19:12. Becoming the first American to win this event in S.U.P.
The Dusi has been one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a lot about myself in this race. Congratulations to all of the competitors, over 1,000 paddlers in all different categories raced this year. Thank you to @boardworkssurfsup for the board that got me down this river safely. Thank you to all of the South African locals for the support and help along the way. And most importantly thank you to my mom, she was my seconder (race support) during the whole event, following the race meeting me at each check point and nutrition change along the way. Couldn’t have done it with out her.
And last i’m stoked to get out of these ballerina tights and get onto the game reserve tomorrow. Safari time // #TeamUSA”
And here are the official event photos… more on Facebook.