Outriggers shine at regatta

COFFS Coast Outriggers have returned from the annual Hamilton Island Powerade Cup bringing home a swag of medals.

The 23rd annual regatta was again a melting pot of serious competition showcasing all the Australian greats and the hierarchy of international talent.

The regatta sports events including OC1 (one-man canoe) sprints and long distance races; OC2 (two-man canoe) marathons and OC6 (six-man canoe) sprints and marathons.

The main event however, is the 42km changes race which is held in the beautiful Whitsundays.

The course takes the paddlers from Hamilton Island, around Dent Island, down through the Dent passage and south around Pentecoste Island and back up around Fitzalan Island and finishing on Catseye Beach on Hamilton Island.

Honours for Coffs Coast paddlers included gold to Kellie Reinhold and Gail Mills-Thom on their OC2 in the 8km race while Shona Walker and Andrea Polkinghorne won gold also in the OC2 over the16km distance.

Medals to both the women and the men in the sprint and the marathon in the OC6's is a credit to a long season of a lot of hard work.

The best result of all though, was definitely the 42km changes race.

Our club competed in the mixed division this year and was out to prove to our competition that we were a force to be reckoned with.

After leaping out off the start line, the start crew quickly headed toward the front of the 60 canoes in the field.

By the first changeover, they were in the top 10 and racing with the men.

Some slick changes and a huge effort from all paddlers from the strokes at the front of the canoe, to the paddlers in the middle and of course the valiant efforts of the two steerers, saw Coffs Coast finish seventh boat over the line winning the mixed division some seven minutes ahead of the nearest competition.

They took 24 minutes off the record and hope to hold that record for some time.

Several other Coffs Coast Club members also competed for other clubs in the big race and Ron Walker's Barbarians took Gold in their division, Robyn Elks Gold in her division and Karyn O'Reilly Bronze in her race and Kim Smith assisting a newer crew to complete the race in brilliant fashion.

All-in-all a great result for our paddlers and more importantly reinforcing Coffs Coast Outriggers as a top Australian Canoe Club once again in the International Arena.

This has really completed the season of racing, although there is a mixed marathon being held on the Brisbane River on August 12.

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