Canoe titles return to Bay

PORT Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club are gearing up to host the NSW titles for the second year in a row.

PICTURESQUE: Paddlers competing in the short course of the 2016 state title at Shoal Bay. The state titles return to Port Stephens in April.

PICTURESQUE: Paddlers competing in the short course of the 2016 state title at Shoal Bay. The state titles return to Port Stephens in April.

More than 300 people are expected to turn out to the state title event, on par with last year's numbers, which will be held in Shoal Bay on April 1 and 2.

Dean McGuinness, vice president and coach of the Port Stephens club, said members had overwhelmingly positive feedback about last year's regatta.

"We use the natural landforms like the islands as race markers," he said.

"Other clubs really enjoy that. We don't need to go out and put markers out for the course.

"They all say they like coming here."

Competitors, who hail from Sydney's many outrigger clubs including Canberra, Wollongong, Mollymook and Port Macquarie, enjoyed optimal race weather last year.

Two videos from the races showing blue skies, water and fiere competition were uploaded to the Port Stephens club's Facebook page, which drew a rapid response from people across the world.

McGuinness said the club fielded many messages, some from as far as Brazil, about where in the world the footage was from.

"We are known for three things," he said.

"Our racing, our location and our parties."

The party, held the Saturday night after the competitive racing, is a themed social event. Saturday's racing will begin at Shoal Bay Beach at 8am.

Juniors are set to kick off the day with a 5 kilometre event.

Women and mixed complete a 16.5km course, men a 18km long course and men, women and mixed teams round out the day with a 12km short course.

Paddlers use the Heads and islands off Port Stephens as course markers.

Last year, the Port club's senior master mixed team (over 50’s) placed second and the master mixed (over 40’s) came in fourth.

McGuinness said the club was aiming to do just as good, or even better this year.

Sunday's novelty racing will begin at 8.30am.

The Port club is expected to host the event again in 2018.

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