'Oarsome' crews here

THOUSANDS of competitors and spectators will pack Park Beach this Saturday and Sunday with Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club hosting their Raine and Horne 35th Interstate Surfcraft Carnival.

As a double points score round of the Australian Surf Rowers premiership series, the carnival is the blue ribbon event of local aquatic sport and attracts the cream of competitors from around the nation.

Club president Tony Mutkins said more than 140 crews were expected to compete.

"The Coffs club is particularly pleased to have five crews engaged," he said.

"Starting with two Masters crews, we’ll have Under 19 men, open women and reserve men to fly the local flag."

Heavy nominations have been received from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and at least 14 crews are expected from Sydney Metropolitan area.

After checking in from 6.30am on Saturday, the craft events will commence with the spectacular ski marathon at 8am.

Individual events will use a round robin format ensuring at least three paddles for all competitors.

All heats will be held on day one with the final of the Masters boat race the highlight.

On Sunday, the tension will ratchet up from the start of the finals series, leading up to the major drawcard of the Open Surf Boat races for men and women with $3000 prize money for each.

"The whole community is welcome to attend," Mutkins added. "Please be aware there are competitors in the area, respect the beach and be mindful of water safety."

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