OUTRIGGING: A team of Whitsunday outriggers is about to test itself against the best in the world at the World Masters Games.
An eight-member team from the Outrigger Whitsunday club will compete in 11 races in the golden masters category (aged 60-70) at the Games
in in Auckland from April 21 to 30.
The team has trained for 18 months after deciding it would compete.
Team member Terry Kemp said had been involved in outrigging for the past six years.
"I'm a late starter. I was getting a bit fat and lazy,” Kemp said.
"I'd been in sport earlier in life but once you have kids, there's an age where you really lose touch.
"Some people encouraged me to get into it.”
Now he's heading to Auckland as one of the 23,000 competitors, with team members Mark Bell (also coach), Ashley Kennedy, Peter Chamber- lain, Henri Mauri, Joe Wilson, Geoff Harrison and Charlie Preen.
"It's the team dynamics (I enjoy),” he said.
"You've got to participate in a team and it gives you a commitment.
"You get ribbed and in trouble if you don't show up.”
The Whitsundays contingent will be one of three teams from Australia to compete in outrigging along with two teams from the Gold Coast.
Kemp said winning all of their races was unlikely, but he said they had their eyes on a couple of events.
"We came second in the sprints in the national titles,” he said.
"We'll be in the 1000m sprint, which involves three turns and also the marathon 22km. We believe we'll do well in that as well.
"We also team up with other countries including a team-up with a group from Russia.
"It's called a V12 race and it's where you stick two canoes together and we sprint with two stuck together. We're looking forward to that.
"We've been training by competing in a few regattas in the last six months to gauge our improvements including heading to the Cook Islands and Norfolk Island last year.”
Kemp said anyone of any age could do outrigging.
"It's the type of sport people can do later in life,” he said.
"A lot of people play impact sports like football
or soccer (but) this gives them an opportunity to participate in sport without injuries - you're not going to get hurt.”
Kemp said the danger teams would be Hawaii and Tahiti, whose paddlers were, in his words, "born with a paddle coming out of their bums”.
The team will leave on Tuesday.
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