2015 Dusi most daunting yet for former winner Stott
Pietermaritzburg – The 2015 Dusi Canoe Marathon sees canoeing icon and former champion Ant Stott set to tackle one of the most daunting and pressured outings of his paddling career and yet the four time race winner won’t even be up against his regular fellow racing snakes.
The 64th edition of the iconic Pietermaritzburg to Durban paddling classic will instead see Stott out to overcome the challenge of navigating his 63 year-old mom, Beth, safely down the Msundusi and Mngeni Rivers from Camps Drift to Blue Lagoon.
While appearing to most as a more social and less scrutinised option than Stott’s previous Dusi efforts, the highly decorated star is all too aware of the dire consequences that await should he not perform his role of ‘mom protector’ fully throughout the three day adventure.
“There is huge pressure on me this time around!” laughs Stott. “My whole family is going to be watching closely and checking to see that my mom doesn’t suffer a single scratch or bruise throughout our three days in the boat together!”
Despite the added pressure of his eagle-eyed family though, Stott is relishing the opportunity to accompany one of his biggest supporters down the river this time around.
“I’ve always wanted to paddle with the people who supported me so incredibly during my paddling years such as my sponsors, friends and family and so I’m really looking forward to doing this year’s Dusi with my mom!” explains the Pope’s Canoe Centre/Matelec paddler excitedly.
“My parents were there for me throughout my paddling days, supporting me, and making sure I had equipment, so I thought this year I’d offer the opportunity to one of my folks to join me on the adventure.
“I’d actually initially asked my dad if he’d be my partner but when he injured himself bodysurfing in the shore break in December he suggested I asked my mom.
“After three days of tears, sleepless nights and much convincing that I’ll do all the work, she eventually said yes and I can’t wait to give it a go in a few weeks’ time!” he adds.
63 year-old Umtentweni resident Beth Stott comes into the race without any previous paddling experience however her son believes her hard work and growing passion for the sport – together with his experience, of course – will see them have a safe, enjoyable and hiccup-free three days together.
“My mom has never paddled before but we’ve have done quite a bit of training together since December and the more we’ve paddled and made it through the rapids, the more she’s enjoyed it and realised just what we’re capable of.
“My mom goes on a lot of walks with my dad and I’ll carry the boat on the portages so I’m sure she’ll be fine when it comes to getting herself over the portages.
“She’s also has been doing sit ups every morning and quite a lot of arm exercises but she is 63 so hopefully I’m strong enough that she doesn’t have to do too much work on the water either.
“I have actually also taken my preparations for this really seriously so hopefully I can try take as much responsibility off my mom as possible!” says Stott.
The recent TWK Agri Dash ‘n Crash race provided Beth with a good opportunity to get to grips with the first eight kilometres of the Dusi route however her vastly experienced son has his sights set much further downstream.
“Dash ‘n Crash gave my mom a good feel for race conditions and that I’m sure will also help come race day but understandably she is still pretty nervous.
“My goal though is to make sure I get her to Durban safely and that she can wear that medal around her neck with pride at the end of it all!”
The 64th edition of the Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 February 2015. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za