ANDRE HAWARDEN – SHARE THE
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE.
(For back ground information regarding Andre go to
Seasoned Dusi paddler Andre Hawarden proves a regular column on
training for The Dusi.
The Fish is behind us
The Dusi - Why?
You Want Me ToDo What?
THE FISH IS BEHIND US, SO LET’S
GET TO THE REAL DUSI TRAINING.
The Dusi is a completely unique event and needs a totally different
approach to training. I suggest that specific Dusi training be
combined with your existing training program.
Let’s break it down what needs to be added.
River skills – this race needs a more complete set of skills,
because no matter what happens in the race you will be doing
something different to what you do on the water, in a “normal” canoe
You will get into situations that you don’t normally encounter…
little things like someone touches your tail* as you go for a
take-out and you need to draw yourself sideways to the bank to get
out. Your rudder bends or gets broken, so you have to paddle 15ks**
without it. You suddenly realise that you are on the left of the
pinnacle at Thombi and you have to make a radical break to the
right***. The list goes on and on. I have never had a smooth Dusi.
In 35 races there has always been the surprise package that
stretched my skills.
Specific Training – there are places and situations in the Dusi that
the usual training regimes just don’t prepare you for.
I believe that the usual training systems don’t include enough work
on the stress caused by the cross over from the portage to paddling
and then paddle to portage.
Training should be integrated, with portage, paddling and river
skills happening in the same session.
What I suggest is that you have a specific “Dusi” session at least 3
times a week. That, of course means running with your boat. Find a
few different take out and put in points with varying degrees of
difficulty, there are few places in the Dusi where the take out is
straight forward. Use these to access the minimum of a 2/3k run,
(longer if you can) preferably up and down a hill. At the Blue
Lagoon Buttery Road worked perfectly for me.
Include a few skills exercises at the turns and take outs. Mark out
a course and do all the usual monitoring every time you do it.
For example, set out a route that gives you a paddle in accordance
with your usual training schedule and add in a portage at the middle
of it, to give the paddle run paddle scenario. To work on skills
build challenges at the turns in to the session. Try these: stop, do
a reverse turn using your rudder only and paddle away in the other
direction. At the take out stop 2 meters from the bank and draw
yourself to the side. Every 2 weeks do the session with no rudder.
Every session must be recorded and monitored. That’s why we have all
the wonderful hi-tech equipment! Keep track of time and HR relative
to distance and where you are on the circuit so that you can see
what your HR does on a hard portage, and how quickly you recover
when you hit the water. I’d be very interested in that because after
a hard run you can’t afford to rest when you start paddling, (Cross
over fitness) because you will lose time building up speed.
I know this all sounds crazy and not so cool but it will pay off in
A word of advice to WP paddlers, you can’t run with a boat in the
South Easter so use a substitute, a pole, a section of an old boat,
a piece of pipe bent into shape, but run with a weight on your
I’m not going into specifics of distances, times, intensities, there
many great coaches out there who you are working with, but try these
in addition to what you are doing with your coach.
If you are on your own and need more detail please get in touch with
me and I will post specific training schedules on the Dusi site. I
know that some of us are chronologically challenged and don’t feel
comfortable working with others on the water so give me a shout, I
know exactly where you are coming from!
If anyone wants more info regarding the Dusi please don’t hesitate
to contact me on 083 459 9318 or
*1978 Dusi tail got turned on Commercial road weir (500m from
start.) ended up wrapped in rapid below. 2 ½ hours later carried on
to finish race.
** 1972 Moved into the lead of singles after Cabbage Tree and rudder
pin hand fallen out on portage. Lost about 10 minutes, back to 3rd
didn’t finish race, shocking Dusi guts 2nd night.
*** 1998 Paddling 30th with Henri van de Merwe, made the right of
panicle but fell out in stopper huge swim, lost boat, found it again