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2 September, 2020

Outrigging returns to the water

Paddlers hit the water recently when Hekili Outrigging Club paddled off against neighbouring clubs.

By Peter McCullagh

Outrigging returns to the water

Paddlers from Port Douglas, Innisfail, Tinaburra and Mission Beach planed to compete in the Barron and Back, 16 kilometre course from Yorkeys Knob to the mouth of the Barron River and back to base at Yorkeys Knob. However a last minute change of course resulted in paddlers heading to Scout's Hut and back to Little Beach near Yorkeys Knob Boat Club.

 An enthusiastic field of 80 paddlers tackled the course with gusto, on a day where weather conditions favoured the paddlers.

Line honours went to Coconuts, however all canoes were evenly matched resulting in a close matchup.

After the serious racing was done crews settled in to have a bit of fun with a relay event which saw competitors divided into teams of 9-10 paddlers. Each of those teams was required to paddle an OC6, OC2 and OC1 – in separate runs – round a 1 kilometre lap from the beach.

Cairns Regional Councillor for Division 8, Rhonda Coghlan, had her first taste of paddling in a canoe under the guidance of veteran steerer, Sue Lockwood. Councillor Coghlan was a great sport and according to Lockwood, showed plenty of promise with a paddle in her hand.

Anyone interested in giving outrigger canoeing is most welcome to join their beginner sessions, every Sunday, at 8.15am at Little Beach (right next to the Yorkeys Knob Boat Club boat ramp).

Experienced coaches will give an insight to the basic techniques involved in paddling an outrigger canoe, or waka, as it is referred to in its Polynesian heritage.

Outrigger canoes a primary means of transport and migration tens of thousands of years ago and are still very important culturally to many Pacific island nations. In North Queensland, Hekili continues to hold onto those traditions as well as using the sport to bring people of all ages and abilities together for fitness and friendship.


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