BONDI Outrigger Club held their East Coast Challenge race in Sydney last Sunday.
Starting from the beautiful area of Rose Bay, the 16km course took competitors out into the harbour, past Vaucluse then around the South Head of Sydney Harbour to a turning buoy about 3 km further towards Bondi.
This was an extremely challenging area to paddle their six man canoes in.
The conditions on the day added to the excitement with a brisk south-westerly wind and pretty heavy swell rolling in.
After a typical chaotic start, their crew settled in to a fast pace they felt they could maintain for the whole distance.
A beautiful pod of dolphins pacing them just after the start just, lifted them that little extra.
To their amazement, they had a solid lead by the time turned at the halfway mark.
The buoy that had been placed there had blown out to sea, so they had to turn around the rescue boat leading the way.
The swell and wind were really wild but they just put our heads down and headed back in to the harbour with all our strength.
Once back in sight of the finish line, they still had to contend with the crazy amount of traffic on the water, huge yachts, ferries and seaplanes coming and going kept them focused on getting to the finish until the last few metres.
Their crew was a mixed category meaning, they have three men and three women paddling.
Their combined ages put them in the super masters age group but they found themselves winning the mixed class outright.
A great result for their little club in a borrowed canoe that they had no experience in.
A big factor in their success is the thoughtful and inspiring effort put into our training by their coach Paul Watkins.
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