SA loses leading canoeing family to Australia

2008-12-28 00:00

South Africa is set to lose another top sportsman to Australia in the coming weeks.

Kevin White, three-time winner of the Hansa Powerade Dusi, and his wife Wendy, five-time winner of the Dusi, have “packed for Perth”.

White, who is busy doing the commemorative Dusi, was interviewed in the Valley of 1000 Hills early on Saturday. Nine paddlers in wood and canvas boats are making the annual pilgrimage from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in exactly the same boats as Dusi founder Ian Player used 58 years ago.

“I have done the Dusi many times, as well as the Stihl Non- Stop Dusi; the only one I have not done is this one. We leave for Perth next Friday, so I will not be here for the Dusi. That is why I decided to do this one, and although we have only made it about 20% of the way, it is one of the most exciting experiences of my life,” said White.

The commemorative Dusi takes place over four to five days and wherever the paddlers stop is the start for the next day.

Cameron Mackenzie, chairman of the Dusi organisers, is one of the nine participants. He describes this as the “true blue” Dusi.

“This is a wonderful way of seeing the Valley before the big Dusi (January 15, 16 and 17),” he said.

“This is exactly how Ian Player did it so many decades ago and it reminds me of the big responsibility that we have to look after, nurture and grow our fabulous event. After all, we are the custodians of the event and the four days helps us get back in touch with just what the Dusi really is.

“I am upset every time that I hear that somebody is leaving South Africa, and in this case losing Kevin and Wendy and their family is a big blow to the canoeing fraternity of South Africa. They have added an enormous amount and we wish them well on their way,” he said.

The commemorative Dusi started on Saturday from Alexander Park in Pietermaritzburg, the original start of the Dusi, and will end at Blue Lagoon in four or five days.

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