Port Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club to host Australian Outrigger Canoe Association state titles April 2-3

CHUFFED: Port Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club president Jim Papadopoulos and vice president Dean McGuinness at Shoal Bay for training ahead of the state titles. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
CHUFFED: Port Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club president Jim Papadopoulos and vice president Dean McGuinness at Shoal Bay for training ahead of the state titles. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

MORE than 200 paddlers from across NSW are expected to descend on Shoal Bay this weekend when Port Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club hosts the sport’s state regatta.

The club, marking 20 years in 2016, is due to host the Australian Outrigger Canoe Association’s annual state titles across two full days, April 2 and 3.

It will be the third time in 20 years the club, one of the largest in NSW, has hosted the regatta.

“Many clubs like to come here,” the club’s vice president, Dean McGuinness, said.

“It’s easy to get to from Sydney and the paddling is scenic.

“People really enjoy that aspect.”

Paddlers expected to attend the state titles, which will be based at Shoal Bay, will hail from up to 15 clubs from Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, the Central coast, Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra.

Club president Jim Papadopoulos said the main races will be held on Saturday.

A long course race of 18 to 21 kilometres will leave from Shoal Bay boat ramp and will go around the islands outside the heads.

Paddlers will go out through the heads and around Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands, including Little Rock and back.

The short course is a 12km event from Shoal Bay and around Boondelbah Island.

The first race, at 8.30am, will be the mixed women’s team. The final race will be held at men’s short course at at 2.15pm.

Sunday is reserved for juniors and novices, and also involves a novelty race sponsored by the Shoal Bay Country Club.

The race involves paddling and running up to The Gun emplacements at Tomaree Head whilst the other paddlers continue on a 8km course inside the heads.

The Port Stephens club takes part in nine regattas each year.

The club had a lot of success in this year’s Pasha Dasha Regatta in Newcastle, with its mixed masters team winning both the 8km short and 12km long course.

At the following Sydney Harbour Challenge, the club’s senior masters and masters placed sixth in their respective categories.

Port Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club is planning to enter the senior masters in the long course of the state titles and masters in the short course.

Following the state titles, the nationals will be held in Mooloolaba in May.

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