TOP PADDLE: OC6 paddlers claim the win at the Takapuna Beach Cup event in New Zealand at the weekend.
TOP PADDLE: OC6 paddlers claim the win at the Takapuna Beach Cup event in New Zealand at the weekend.

OUTRIGGER: Whitsunday local Renee Martin-Bell has won New Zealand's Massimo Cup with a new outrigging team.

Mrs Martin-Bell and her husband Mark Bell travelled to New Zealand on the weekend for the Takapuna Cup competition.

International paddlers from across the globe attended the three-day event.

"It attracted paddlers from Hong Kong, Australia, Hawaii, Samoa and New Zealand,” Mrs Martin-Bell said.

"It's an iconic event on the outrigger calendar for competitors, one you want to tick off of your bucket list.”

Mrs Martin-Bell competed in the five kilometre race which she said was measured to actually be a six kilometre race.

Her team finished first in a time of 32 minutes.

They also went on to claim line honours in 35km Iron Race, finishing in three hours and 35 minutes, winning them the Massimo Cup.

The first five kilometre race was on Friday and acted as somewhat of a training round for the newly acquainted team, with the main event the Iron Race on Saturday.

"You don't have many expectations when you're up against such talent,” Mrs Martin-Bell said. "My crew just clicked.”

After the success of the team Mrs Martin-Bell said they were striving to compete in the Sydney Harbour Challenge together in 2019.

She is also hoping that next year her Whitsunday outrigging team will be able to make the trip across the ditch to compete at Takapuna.

"I'd never met the people I'd paddled with in person,” she said. "We met online.

"Two members were from Samoa and the other three from New Zealand.

"We were the first mixed team across the line.

"We beat people much younger than us,” she said. "We keep that until next year and can defend the title next year if we choose.

"Mark and I wanted to attend the event, but people from our club were training for the Tahiti competition coming up.”

Mr Bell's team finished first in a five kilometre race, that covered a six-and-a-half kilometre distance, in 31 minutes.

His team went on to complete the Iron Race in a time of three hours and 38 minutes, crossing the line just after his wife's team.

The couple will travel to Sydney on Friday for the 25km Sydney Harbour Challenge on Saturday.

"Mark will paddle with a Burleigh team and I'll be joining an open Women's Cronulla team,” Mrs Martin-Bell said.

Topics:  new zealand outriggers sport whitsundays

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