Cape Town - Marathon legends Hank McGregor and Renata Csay head an impressive field of competitors from around the globe for an event, which will also include U23 and junior world titles.
Almost 350 athletes from more than 30 countries will compete in the 2018 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships beginning this week in Vila de Prado, Portugal.
Racing will include kayak, canoe and double canoe and kayak events over distances ranging from 11.8 kilometres for the women's junior C1, to 29.8 kilometres for the men's K1 and K2.
Both South Africa's McGregor and Hungary's Csay, dominant marathon figures for more than a decade, are stepping back their programs this year, both opting to miss the K1 event to focus on K2.
It leaves the field open for a new generation of paddlers, with Hungary, South Africa, Great Britain, Portugal and Spain expected to lead the way.
Jose Ramalho, a one-time silver and three-time bronze medal winner, will carry the hopes of the host nation in the men's K1, while teammate Nuno Barros will be looking to repeat his world title performance of 2010 in the men's C1.
The Cavado River in Prado was the scene of the 2013 European Championships, and also hosted a World Cup in 2016.