Last Friday one of the hardest paddling races on the planet took place, the Unlimited Non-Stop Duzi is not only brutal on the body but also on paddling equipment, so it was great for us at Orka Paddles to have so many of the top guys choose Orka when doing this race. Eric Zondi (1st Orka Inner),Nhlanhla Cele (2nd Orka Flex), Kwanda Mhalope & Richard Cele (3rd, Both Orka Flex), Mark Mulder (4th,1st K1 Orka Super Flex). Well done to all who made it to Durban Non-Stop.

Michael Mbanjwa and Eric Zondi beat the heat to take The Unlimited No-Stop Dusi title


Durban - Michael Mbanjwa and Eric Zondi overcame low rivers and the searing February heat to win The Unlimited Non-Stop Dusi canoe ultra marathon on Friday, giving Mbanjwa his fourth victory in the gruelling 120km one-day event and Zondi his second win in succession.

The pre-race favourites put in a powerful performance and hardly put a foot wrong all day en route to a comfortable win of over thirteen minutes.

"The pace was hard at the start and Thomas (Ngidi) and Nlanhla (Cele) were looking strong. But we ran very well and our paddling was really powerful today. Eric was incredibly strong behind me and its so good to be at the top of the podium!" said an visibly satisfied Mbanjwa.

"It was always a dream of mine to win with Bunjee and to have done that today is unbelievable. I'm really happy to be in this position along side him right now," added Zondi.

Defending champ Thomas Ngidi and his partner Nhlanhla Cele very did well early on and stayed with Mbanjwa and Zondi until Mission Rapid. However a slight error from Ngidi shortly afterwards opened the door for the leaders who took full advantage of this rare opportunity and put some invaluable distance between themselves and the rest of the field.


"It was a lot harder than 2010. There was a lot less water and it was very hot so after putting so much in to trying to catch Bunjee and Eric we just had nothing left at the end," explained an exhausted Ngidi.

"Its going to be a challenge trying to beat these two in the future but we will try our best. You never say never," he added.

It was one, two, three for the Change A Life academy after Nhlanhla's brother Richard Cele and Kwanda Mhlophe crossed the line in third place a further six minutes back.


"To see how the guys have grown in recent times and the to have produce the results they did today is just fantastic. Michael and Eric are a young combination and they have a bright future ahead of them and I'm very proud of all our guys and what they achieved today!" said Change A Life coach Martin Dreyer.

Despite the race traditionally being a K2 event Mark Mulder showed tremendous grit and determination as he was the first across the line in a K1 and finished in a highly commendable fourth place overall.


"The heat was insane out there today and I've never paddled a river that was so low which. I had aimed to try beat Hank's K1 time but given the conditions I'm super chuffed with how things went and to finish fourth overall is just fantastic!" said Mulder.

Mulder wasn't the only K1 to shine as the ladies race was also claimed by a single. Former winner and current holder of the ladies K1 record Hilary Pitchford took the lead early on in the race and didn't look back all day.

Race conditions got tougher and tougher as the day went on and this unfortunately had its effect on some of field.

The Unlimited Non-stop Dusi took place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg and Blue Lagoon in Durban.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
THE UNLIMITED NON-STOP DUSI
Overall
1.Michael Mbanjwa/Eric Zondi 8:52:22
2.Thomas Ngidi/Nhlanhla Cele 9:05:40
3.Kwanda Mhlope/Richard Cele 9:12:03
4.Mark Mulder (1st K1) 9:29:08
5.
Shaun Biggs/Derek Stutterheim 9:35:41