Kayakers creating a river of fundraising cash
A ‘‘MINIATURE city’’ of kayakers is on the way to waters near you.
On November 21, a squad of more than 550 tired kayakers and their 800 crew members will make their way to the banks of the Murray River at Echuca.
It is part of the 50th anniversary of the Massive Murray Paddle (formerly the Murray Marathon), where the paddlers make their way from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill in just five days.
The huge 404km journey has followed the same course every year since its inception in 1969, when there were just 10 paddlers taking part.
On the day the paddlers arrive in Echuca, when the group arrives at the Victoria Park boat ramp, officials will be in attendance representing the Yorta Yorta Nation, Vic Police, marine rescue as well as Roads and Maritime Services.
There will also be a smoking ceremony and Yorta Yorta dancers.
Paddlers are expected to arrive from 2pm until 5pm on the day.
The MMP has grown every year, and is now regarded as one of the forefront long-distance paddling races in the world.
Part of the race has always been about fundraising — and since a change of ownership three years ago, racers have been able to pick the community service or charity of their choice to raise funds for.
In that time, nearly $300,000 has been raised in the past two years; with the 2018 edition expected to raise $250,000.
Among the 550 paddlers taking to the water for the 50th anniversary edition will be 180 different craft; canoes, kayaks, outriggers, single stand-up paddleboards, a double stand-up paddleboard and a 10-person dragon boat.
There are 130 different teams taking part, with international competitors coming from New Zealand, as well as further afield in USA and Scotland.
The largest team taking to the water is Dungulayin Mileka, a 100-strong team with 10 double kayaks, representing Victoria Police and at risk Indigenous youth from regional Victoria and NSW. The Massive Murray Paddle: November 19: Yarrawonga to Tocumwal
November 20: Tocumwal to Picnic Point
November 22: Echuca to Torrumbarry
November 23: Murrabit to Swan Hill. 21: Picnic Point to