Canoeists impress in Hawaiian race
THE six-hour trek tested every last piece of endurance and will power that the local girls had but they came through it.
Outriggers canoeists Andrea Polkinghorne, Gail Mills-Thom and Kellie Reinhold travelled to Hawaii as part of the very first Australian Outrigging team to tackle the famed Na Wahine O Ke Kai which sees paddlers race from Molokai Island to Oahu Island.
The 72 kilometre journey is a tough ask but the Coffs Coast trio and their teammates managed to finish the race in a creditable fifth position.
The Aussies actually turned a few heads early in the race as they were leading the race and the favoured Hawaiian crews for the first hour of the race.
Conditions on the day of the race brought both good news and bad news for the Coffs Harbour trio.
The good news was that the warm Hawaiian water provided a pleasant change to the 18 degree temperatures the girls had trained in for six months.
The bad news was a full swell which meant the race took much longer than the record time that was hoped for.
The girls’ local coach Mike Mills-Thom played a large role in supporting and training the girls which helped get them to the race in peak condition and able to work through the swell.
Fifth place in a field made up of approximately 900 women was a good start for an Aussie team competing together for the first time.
While the Na Wahine O Ke Kai is the finale to the Hawaiian season, the girls have flown back home to the start of the Australian season and have their eyes set on further goals.