Marathon Time at Hamilton Island Paddling Event

It’s all action:  Mooloolaba Senior Master Men at the bottom of Dent Island with a great start to their race and on their way to 1st place.  I love the plane landing from Melbourne in the background. (Photo: Hamilton Island Photography)

It’s all action: Mooloolaba Senior Master Men at the bottom of Dent Island with a great start to their race and on their way to 1st place. I love the plane landing from Melbourne in the background. (Photo: Hamilton Island Photography)

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.

@LisaCurrThis is what we do for fun!! 42km paddle in the beautiful Whitsundays – Hamilton Island 2012. Well done to… 

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.

Gatorade Battle of the Paddles 2012

Changeover time: one paddler leaps out…head first (Photo: Hamilton Island Photography)

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.

Gatorade Battle of the Paddles 2012

Green flag and the race starts (Photo: Jenni Shah

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.

Gatorade Battle of the Paddles 2012

Winning Mooloolaba Open Women’s crew with their cheque for $4000 (Photo: Hamilton Island Photography)

There is some great footage of the race below