tough guy

Sibonelo Khwela

As you dream you go a distance.

Sbonelo Zondi performs in Durban, South Africa on January 29th, 2015
© Kelvin Trautman/ Red Bull Content Pool

Hi, my name is Sibonelo Khwela. My discipline is paddling. My friends call me tough guy. I was born on 26 April 1988 in South Africa.

Bio

The three-day Dusi Canoe Marathon is arguably the world’s greatest kayaking ultra. It's run along the Msunduzi and Mgeni Rivers between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa over a total distance of 120km.

The race attracts between 1,600 and 2,000 paddlers each year and 2014 saw Sibonelo Khwela claim his maiden victory, racing in a K2 with four-time champ, Andy Birkett.

The pair’s dominant display of 7 hours, 43 minutes (combined time over the three days) came on the back of some 770km of running in training and around 1,600km paddled in training.

Therein lies the added difficulty of the Dusi, with its various technical (and lengthy) portages it is almost as much a running race as it is a paddle marathon.

Khwela, who has risen out of Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy to being one of the ‘Fantastic Four’ – the top four marathon paddlers in South Africa – excels at both.

*Sibonelo is still known in some quarters as Sbonelo 'Eric' Zondi, a family name that he has dropped in favour of aligning himself with the Khwela side of his family.*

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Career Highlights

  1. 2015
    1. 3rd Place: Place: Dusi Canoe Marathon (K1)

      South Africa

  2. 2014
    1. 1st Place: Dusi Canoe Marathon (K2)

      South Africa

    2. 1st Place: Unlimited Non Stop Dusi (K2)

      South Africa

  3. 2013
    1. 1st Place: Unlimited Non Stop Dusi (K2)

      South Africa

  4. 2012
    1. 3rd Place: Dusi Canoe Marathon (K2)

      South Africa

  5. 2011
    1. 1st Place: Unlimited Non Stop Dusi (K2)

      South Africa

  6. 2010
    1. 3rd Place: Dusi Canoe Marathon (K2)

      South Africa

    2. 1st Place: Unlimited Non Stop Dusi (K2)

      South Africa