A number of Port Stephens paddlers recently took part in the 42nd running of the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic, a 111km overnight paddle from Windsor to Brooklyn.
In excess of 400 competitors participated in the event this year in a variety of different watercraft, including four paddlers from Port Stephens who took to the water in kayaks/canoes and skis.
Despite the appalling conditions, the Port’s ‘oarsome twosome’ Charly Wellard and Anne Moore broke the race record in the open women's long recreation class, with a time of 10hrs 53min.
Ms Wellard, an environmental education/coast and estuary officer with Port Stephens Council, said this year’s event saw some of the worst conditions experienced in the history of the race, with the contest being stopped 12km from the finish due to inclement conditions.
“Unfortunately, the terrible conditions meant that in excess of half the field did not finish,” she said.
“Paddlers battled through 50km/hr gusty winds, punching through hours of incoming tide, dodging moorings, boats and trees, whilst surfing down and punching into white cap waves in the dark.”
Also flying the flag for Port Stephens were Mark Bretag, from Raymond Terrace, along with Nelson Bay’s Guy Holloway and Tony Hearn. Bretag won his division in 12hrs 37min.
Mark and Anne have completed the last seven classics, while Guy and Charly notched up their second consecutive event.
The Hawkesbury classic has raised close to $4 million since it commenced in 1976 for Arrow, the Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation that gives hope to people suffering from diseases treatable by bone marrow and adult stem cell transplants.