Su­per Chal­lenge for Mar­lin Coast

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

SPIR­ITS were pumped and mus­cles flexed when 130 pad­dlers cut up the water when they took on the fourth Mar­lin Coast Chal­lenge, a 38km outrig­ger ca­noe and surf ski race from El­lis Beach to Port Dou­glas.

The race con­sisted of four legs with beach changeovers at Wangetti, Oak, south end of Four Mile Beaches with the fin­ish op­po­site Rex Smeal Park.

It was a spec­tac­u­lar sight with 64 craft on the water and pad­dlers came from all over Aus­tralia in­clud­ing Dar­win, north­ern NSW, Syd­ney, Bris­bane, Sun­shine Coast, Gold Coast, Mackay and many lo­cal pad­dlers from Mis­sion Beach to Port Dou­glas.

Hot and dry con­di­tions faced the pad­dlers this year with light norther­lies in­creas­ing to 15 knots over the day which was a very dif­fer­ent sce­nario to the 20 knot down­wind run that ev­ery­one en­joyed in pre­vi­ous years.

The pad­dlers skills were tested men­tally and phys­i­cally with the con­trast­ing con­di­tions.

At Four Mile Beach, just as the last pad­dlers were com­ing into the beach, a Se­vere Weather Warn­ing was is­sued and thun­der and light­ning whipped across the sky giv­ing or­gan­is­ers no op­tion but to can­cel the fi­nal leg of the race.

“It was ter­ri­bly dis­ap­point­ing as we knew the storm was go­ing to pass but the safety of the pad­dlers al­ways comes first,” or­gan­iser Faye Lil­ley said.

Af­ter the an­nounce­ment all pad­dlers were happy to head back to the Outrig­ger Pav­il­ion where a pasta feast and cold beer awaited them.

“It was a pretty tough slog down the coast so I don’t think the de­ci­sion up­set too many peo­ple,” Faye said.

The race has grown each year from 23 ca­noes in 2008 to a record num­ber of 64 ca­noes this year and con­tin­ues to at­tract some of Aus­tralia’s top pad­dlers.

A two-hour break­fast pad­dling clinic was held at the Com­bined Club on Sun­day morn­ing where two of the best pad­dlers in the world Travis Grant and Chris May­nard had ev­ery­one spell­bound with their in­spi­ra­tion talk.

“With­out the fan­tas­tic sup­port of spon­sors Court House Ho­tel, Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil, Capricorn Star, Port Dou­glas Cater­ing, Maui Jim, Ori­gin Espresso, AOCRA NQ Zone, Hunt De­sign and the Port Dou­glas Coast­guard plus a great lit­tle team from the Port Dou­glas Out­rig­gers be­hind me this race would not be pos­si­ble,” Faye said.

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