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Hind/Pole combo takes a Dusi backseat in 2014
- Updated: December 27, 2013
They are by far the most prolific K2 combination in the history of the Dusi Canoe marathon with a partnership that spans four decades, but Elly Hind and Graham Pole will be taking a rare break from the three day race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban this season.
Originally from Benoni but now close friends living on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, the duo hold the record for the most Dusis completed in a K2 ÔÇô 28 successful finishes ÔÇô eight more than their nearest rivals.
They have started 32 Dusi Canoe Marathons together and managed to finish 28 of them which is a remarkable feat in itself considering the two of them had no idea what to expect when they took part in their venture down the uMsunduzi River in 1972.
ÔÇ£It was really difficult when we first started out but we were young and full of life!ÔÇØ Pole said. ÔÇ£We have had our ups and downs through the years but our friendship has only grown since we did our first Dusi together.ÔÇØ
The two (pictured right) met on their first Dusi over 40 years ago and then became partners following their first escapade down the river. Pole remembers the early days of the Dusi and how the bond was created after spending days in the valley.
ÔÇ£The race used to run from Wednesday to Friday so we would come down and camp in the build up to the race which was where we got to know each other well and the race was all about enjoyment and getting to the finish!ÔÇØ he said.
When the two came together as a combination the boats were different and they would spend a lot more time on the river than the paddlers do these days and Hind recalls some arduous stretches on the river.
ÔÇ£We started before the dam was built and coming from Gauteng we really had very little idea of what was happening but we would fight it out and spend around 19 to 22 hours on the river which was a long time!
ÔÇ£I have always been the one at the front of the boat so maybe it had something to do with my driving but we got the finish eventually!ÔÇØ Hind mentioned in jest.
It was a mutual agreement that Hind would be in the front of the boat and that has never changed since they came together as a combination and the skills at the front of the boat were not seen as the reason for Hind getting the job.
ÔÇ£Elly always drove us, from our first race together to now,ÔÇØ Pole said. ÔÇ£He is shorter than I am so we always said that he should be in the front and that I will just sit in the back and provide the power!
ÔÇ£Being in the front of a canoe is just something that I have never done and I get a little nervous in the front so it was an easy decision for us. I have been sitting in the back for years and it isn’t going to change!ÔÇØ Pole mentioned defiantly.
ÔÇ£I liked to think that I pulled a little bit of rank to get the drivers spot,ÔÇØ Hind remarked light-heartedly. ÔÇ£No, it was mutual and we have just stayed like that ever since.ÔÇØ
The two of them completed their 28th Dusi Canoe Marathon in 2013 but it seems that the run is slowing as they have no plans to compete in the race in 2014 for a number of reasons but the partnership and friendship that the two have created has grown far beyond canoeing.
ÔÇ£We really are like brothers now and do a lot more together than just paddle, we play golf and are both based on the North Coast but I have moved up to Richards Bay so we don’t see as much of each other as we are used to,ÔÇØ Hind explained.