Port Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club will look to repeat its success at the 2017 state titles when it hosts the prestigious event next weekend.
The Shoal Bay-based club will for a third year host the Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association’s NSW Zone OC6 State Titles, with the action to take place on March 24 and 25.
Last year’s 360 competitors were faced with challenging conditions but spirits remained high.
The same number of paddlers, hailing from Sydney's many outrigger clubs plus Newcastle, Canberra, Wollongong, Mollymook and Port Macquarie, are expected to travel to the Port for the titles again this year.
The Port Stephens club also fields competitive teams in last year’s titles. From a field of 20 canoes in the short course, the Port club’s master mixed team came in third over the line but won its category.
The master women’s team paddled for the first time as a crew during the titles and brought home silver while the master mixed crew, paddling in the long course, finished a respectable fourth.
Juniors and novices will kick off at 7.45am on Saturday, March 24 with a 5km event.
Women and mixed crews will follow with a 16.5km course and men a 18km long course.
Men, women and mixed teams round out the day with a 12km short course. Paddling will pick back up at 7.45am on Sunday.
From April 2017
Challenging conditions thrown up by the Port’s elements was not enough to dampen the spirits of 360 paddlers who took part in the 2017 outrigger canoe NSW State Titles.
Port Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club hosted the state titles in Shoal Bay between April 1 and 2.
“It was a complete success,” Dean McGuinness, vice president and coach for Port Stephens Outrigger Canoe Club, said.
“It was well attended and even with the weather, which threw up very challenging conditions, everyone was wrapped with the location.”
The Port club gained a first place win in the short course.
From a field of 20 canoes, the Port club’s master mixed team – Tony Compton, Kelly Forbes, Dave Lonie, Leonie Mihajlowits, McGuinness and his wife Lynne – came in third over the line but won its category.
Special recognition went to Forbes who is in her first year of racing.
The Port’s master women’s team paddled for the first time as a crew during the titles, and brought home silver.
The club’s master mixed crew, paddling in the long course, finished a respectable fourth.
The long course, with 21 canoes vying for a title, was 16.5km of gloomy weather, choppy conditions and 3 metre swell.
Port Stephens also fielded a team in the open mixed short course on Saturday and in the outrigger canoe two-person event (OC2) on Sunday.
The OC2 team came in second.
The club’s Kerrie Binns clocked up more than 40km during the weekend by participating in three races.
Binns is set to compete in the world masters in New Zealand in two weeks.
She will be joined by fellow Port Stephens paddlers Tracey Spicer, Rachel Brown and Aaron Binns.
Port Stephens Marine Rescue, on hand to assist paddlers during the weekend of racing, praised the competitors.
“We were really impressed by the determination of all the competitors – gutsy people,” the unit said.
It is the second year the state titles have been held in Port Stephens.
“Each and every one of the paddlers from junior and novice to the experienced paddlers that competed in the events shone through every challenge they were dealt with,” the Port club posted on its Facebook page.