The local paddle power club. A cheap way to have fun on the water.
Check their Paddling Through History festival and their web site
The club was based at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, at the end of The Esplanade, but has now moved to Cannonvale and welcomes new members or social paddlers. All you have to do is check on the bulletin board when members are paddling and show up. At the time of writing (November 1999) there is a social paddle every Sunday around 10 a.m., with some serious training as well around 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. There are often enough social paddlers for an early morning paddle on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. This tends to be around 5:45 a.m. during summer, and somewhat later during winter.
You need to sign up so the club can maintain insurance cover, and can take at least three paddles (so it is ideal for visitors) before deciding whether you want to become a member. Members pay $35 a season, and this is mostly for the insurance cover.
At the moment the club has five 42 foot Hawaiian style outrigger canoes, each holding six paddlers, plus in November it obtained a 22 person Chinese dragon boat.
There are no age limits - paddlers as young as 9 attend regularly, while some of us are in our 50s, 60, and even older. As with any water sport, you do however need to be able to swim.
There are sometimes competitive events against other clubs, with many different divisions including juniors, open men and women, masters (aged 35 and up), and senior masters (45 plus). The racing season starts in January.
In November 1999, the club took delivery of the first Dragon Boat to reach North Queensland.
Outrigger Whitsunday had a Wai Puhi race in November 1999, with entrants arriving from Rockhampton and Cairns. The 16 kilometre race along the coast from Shute Harbour to Airlie Beach. The race was held in light winds, with touches of rain.
The first kayak across the line won by just 38 seconds with a time of 1:23:50, paddled by Alex Bortoli and Kerrin Andrews closely followed by Leanne Henebery and Neil Kennedy, all in double kayaks. Local Darryl Thorogood paddling a single outrigger crossed the line in 1:19:55, a mere ten seconds ahead of Capricorn Coast paddler Greg Jones with Mick Barsby of Rockhampton third. Alison Green won the women's race in 1:34. There were 28 paddlers in the race.
Photo of the club boats by Warren Gamack of Tropix photographics.
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