Outriggers off to Sunshine Coast
THE outrigger canoe racing season kicks off this weekend with the national sprint titles at Kawanna Waters on the Sunshine Coast.
Doubling up as qualification for the world sprint titles later in the year, a record number of club and individual entries promise for an exciting three days of racing, among them a small group of local paddlers.
Danielle Bellero and Lili Jansen were called up for the Far North Queensland squad and are racing in the Open Women OC6 (6 paddler Outrigger) category over 500 and 1500 metres.
They then will join up with the FNQ Master Crew to enter the V12 (2x 6 paddler canoes rigged together) 500 metre race.
“We have been in training for this for almost 12 month now and expecting a tough couple of days of racing,” Danielle said.
“Only the top three teams will qualify automatically for the world championship “
“It’s very exciting,” Steerer Lili Jansen said. “Our 1500- metre race includes five 180 degree turns and a lot can go wrong and you can win or lose a race there.”
Friday’s racing will see the crews compete for a sport in the World Championship, while Saturday and Sunday racing will be for National Honours.
Kevin Bellero, Vernon Car- penter and Mike Schuck combined forces with paddlers from the 2 Cairns clubs, Hekili and Cairns Beaches, and Coconuts from Innisfail.
“We went through all sorts of problems to get this team together,” Kevin said, “but when we are lining up at the start on Saturday for the national title races as Team Port Douglas. We will create a bit of history. Our club is operating in its 24th year but never had a male team at this competition”
The seven men will compete in the Open and Master OC6 r Category,and individually, joined by Ingrid Juchem, in the unusual V1 (single outrigger without a rudder) category.
Port Douglas Outriggers Open Women crew getting ready for the start of a sprint