AOCRA North Queensland Zone regatta a ripper
NEAR perfect conditions welcomed paddlers in the AOCRA North Queensland Zone regatta at the weekend.
The biggest outrigger regatta in the history of North Queensland fielded competitors from Innisfail, Rockhampton, Townsville, the Capricorn Coast, Gladstone, Mackay and the Sunshine Coast.
This year's feature event was a 20km paddle from Shute Harbour to Boathaven Beach.
Host club Outrigger Whitsunday had three OC6 crews compete in the event.
The Outrigger open men's crew came in second behind the Coconuts from Innisfail, just beating off a strong challenge from the Townsville-based Coral Sea Outrigger Canoe Club.
In seventh place and third in their division was the open women's crew who finished only 13 minutes behind the race winner.
Treasurer of Outrigger Whitsunday Gina Bellinger said the race, which could not be held at last year's zone regatta, was a big draw card for competitors.
"We had some nice little down-wind bumps to ride which was good as it is usually lovely and flat,” she said.
"It was nice to have few little waves to surf, it makes it a lot more fun.
"We could only run the event because we had the two days to race, normally we can't do that because crews don't get in until the night before and we race all day and then they need to leave early to get home after an eight hour drive,” she said.
In the OC6 4km event, a mixed Outrigger Whitsunday crew took a convincing win from Mackay based Malanuka Outriggers.
Training for the sprint world titles to be held in Tahiti in July paid off for the Outrigger Whitsunday OC 6 open men who took the win in the 500 metre sprint.
The open women crossed the line in second place behind the OC6 crew from Mission Beach in the same event.
While the adults were out on the water padding on Saturday the children took part in Junior development camp.
"They did a big session on the history of outrigging and how to rig canoes,” Bellinger said.
Coming up on the May 19 is the Australian Outrigging Canoe Association national titles.