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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Outrigger Whitsunday hosts regatta

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OUTRIGGER Whitsunday hosted clubs from all over Queensland for its annual regatta.

Competitors from Mooloolaba to Cairns took advantage of the Labor Day long weekend to come and paddle in the beautiful waters of the Whitsundays.

The first event of the weekend kicked off on Saturday, with 22 OC6 canoes participating in the inaugural Va’a Moana Hoe event, from Shute Harbour to the lagoon, in Airlie Beach.

Paddlers were not disappointed with the weather conditions that day with a SE wind at 20 knots assisting the teams with a great downwind race.

Teams could combine to make a mixed crew or remain all male or all female in this event.

The first canoes over the line completed the course in just over 1 hour 21 minutes with Mission Beach taking out the overall 1st place, local club Shute Harbour 4th, and Outrigger Whitsundays mixed crew just 20 minutes behind the front runners. 

For the first time, two sailing outrigger canoes took part and sailed over the line at the rear of the fleet. Presentations were held on the beach for all place getters.

While the Shute Harbour race was being run, AOCRA NQ Zone presented a junior clinic with 40 juniors taking the opportunity to learn more about outrigger paddling, at the Outrigger Whitsunday home base, Shingley Beach.

All canoes were well used and skills were updated. For some of the junior paddlers, competition for the first time was to be the next day.

Outrigger Whitsunday paddlers Dean and Cody Lassau must have listened well to the coaches on that day because both boys paddled extremely well, with Dean placing 1st in the OC2 4km event.

Sunday’s racing commenced at 6.45am and the crews completed two laps of a 4km course, giving spectators and officials an ideal opportunity to cheer on their club.

The club’s novice team – made up of paddlers in their first two years of paddling – competed in this event and took out 2nd place in their division.

Next up, the fast-paced 500m sprints did not disappoint the spectators.

Junior presentations were held on the beach while the seniors kept racing.

Airlie Beach Lions Club, key supporters of the regatta, were represented by Betty and Sue and they assisted race director Terry Kemp with the medals presentation.

Finishing off the day’s program, OC2 and OC1 paddlers were tested by the strengthening winds in the 4km and 2km courses, some of the junior paddlers blown off the start line and using their skills to line up again.

Support boats were stretched out among the field of the final event of the day-OC1 Mens, with 40 paddlers starting in a three-wave start.

Outrigger Whitsunday event organisers thank local businesses for sponsorship of events, in particular, Tassal for its support of Saturday’s marathon and key supporters Lions Club Airlie Beach, along with other local businesses for Sunday’s regatta.

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