ON THE WATER: Members of the Coffs Coast Dragon Boat Club in action.
ON THE WATER: Members of the Coffs Coast Dragon Boat Club in action.

Coffs Coast Dragon Boat Club tackling the mighty Murray

IT TAKES three hours and nine minutes to drive from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill in Victoria.

However, in a paddle craft, following the twists and turns of the mighty Murray River the same trip of 404 kilometres will take some five days.

For the 17 paddlers from the Coffs Coast Dragon Boat Club this is a challenge they can't wait to take on as they head off to Victoria's mighty Murray country for the start of the race on November 18.

The local Coffs Coast group will be only the second dragon boat to compete in the race in its 51 year history and be part of 450 registered paddlers for this year's event.

The 20-strong local crew includes three support members and will paddle in the club's own smaller 10s boat instead of the usual larger dragon boat which holds 20 paddlers.

They will complete the course as a relay race with two teams paddling two or four legs each day, aiming at eight paddlers each leg paddling up to 50 kilometres per day for five days.

Originally started in 1969 to raise money for the Red Cross, the event is now known as the Massive Murray Paddle. The amazing five-day adventure is one of the world's longest paddling races and the longest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

In the past two years alone the event has raised over $541,707 and over 3000 volunteer hours for local charities and community service programs.

"It'll be tough but amazing," Coffs Coast organiser Helen Palmer said.

"We will be seeing the mighty Murray from the best vantage spot - the water.

"We will stay in caravan parks along the Murray. The whole race supports the communities along the way. We are raising money towards our own club house and boat storage shed, a goal the club has been working on for many years."

The Massive Murray Paddle uses the phrase 'Connecting people, river and country' as the event is a platform for assisting those in need, generating business for the towns along its route and educating people on the history of the Murray River.

For more information about the Coffs Coast Dragon Boat club - www.coffscoastdbc.com.au



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