Jun 27, 2012
Marathon Time at Hamilton Island Paddling Event
Like Lisa Curry said “This is what we do for fun!!” Conditions could not have been more perfect for the final day of the Gatorade Hamilton Island Paddling Event. With little wind and only a 1m swell, it was a day that would threaten the race records. Rough conditions, such as we saw during last year’s race, provides a different set of mental and physical challenges. In flat water it becomes a story all about grind.
Fewer entries for the marathon meant a bit more open water on the start line, which is something to be thankful for. These 6 man canoes weigh around 600kg fully crewed and are 40-45ft long. Despite this they are quite maneuverable and can power up to impressive speeds considering there are only a dozen arms providing propulsion. Once you have 30-60 of these canoes wanting to go in the same place, it is crazy exciting.
In the 42km marathon, teams of 9 or 10 paddlers (depending on race class) race around Dent Island then out to Pentecost Island before returning to Catseye Bay for the finish. Paddlers substitute for each other, by climbing in from the water to replace a team mate that has just leapt out. Support boats then pick up the paddlers from the water and follow the canoes ready for the next changer-over.
Outrigger Australia has been the team to beat for the last 4-5 years, and this year they made it 3 titles in a row in their beautiful new canoe dedicated to club founder, and Hamilton Island creator, Keith Williams. They finished in an incredible 2hr 58min, only 2 min short of the race record. In the women’s race Mooloolaba held out Outrigger Australia (and the Hamilton Island Men’s crew) to come home in 3 hrs 37 min.
There is some great footage of the race below