Outrigger Cup win for Cronulla

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

THE his­toric Outrigger Cup, one of the world’s tough­est changeover marathon ca­noe races has been won by the pow­er­ful Cronulla crew ahead of peren­nial con­tenders Mooloolaba.

Con­di­tions for the 42km Clash of the Pad­dles at the week­end were ideal for tech­ni­cally strong pad­dlers, with wind and strong swells re­quir­ing de­ci­sions from steer­ers in the rear and po­si­tion one pad­dlers at the front, who set the tempo and stroke rates for the rest of the crew.

Cronulla, reg­u­lars at the an­nual event, made light of the con­di­tions and held off a strong chal­lenge from Mooloolaba to claim both over­all hon­ours and the open men’s di­vi­sion. Pa­pua New Guinea fin­ished third in the opens af­ter fin­ish­ing fifth over­all.

Mooloolaba’s mas­ters crew fin­ished third over­all to claim the mas­ters men’s crown ahead of Hawaii with Hamil- ton Is­land snatch­ing bronze.

Cronulla’s win capped a dom­i­nant per­for­mance for the NSW crew which two days ear­lier took out the 16km event, beat­ing home Mooloolaba’s open men’s crew with New Cale­do­nia third.

Hamil­ton Is­land’s open men’s crew fin­ished fifth in the 16km race.

In the open women’s 42km di­vi­sion, Mooloolaba held off Hawaii.

Mooloolaba mas­ters women had taken out the 16km crown, beat­ing home the club’s open women’s team. PNG fin­ished third in the women’s 16km event.

North­ern Beaches claimed the win in the mixed teams di­vi­sion, edg­ing out Mack­ay­based Malanuka with Caloun­dra a dis­tant third.

The marathon bought to a con­clu­sion a fierce four days of com­pe­ti­tion, and with rac­ing over sprint and dis­tance events com­pleted, com­peti- tors let their hair down in the tra­di­tional Sun­day night street party.

Hon­ours were shared in the ocean ski events.

Michael Booth, who re­turned as the de­fend­ing cham­pion in all three dis­tances, be­gan his ti­tle de­fence in style with a nar­row win over Macken­zie Hy­nard in the 3km event.

Five-time Olympian Clint Robin­son en­sured there would be no re­peat clean­sweep for Booth when he claimed top hon­ours in the 7km event. Booth fin­ished a close sec­ond with reign­ing ocean ski world cham­pion Cory Hill third.

Booth was also forced to set­tle for sec­ond in the 25km event with Hill beat­ing him home by the nar­row­est of mar­gins. Robin­son was also in the mix af­ter the 25km down­wind pad­dle from Lindeman to Hamil­ton.

With sig­nif­i­cant prize money and com­pe­ti­tion points on of­fer in the World Se­ries race, none of the trio were pre­pared to give an inch, but when Hill hit the sand first he man­aged to hold on over the short sprint to the line and claim the key vic­tory of the week­end.

The ocean ski el­e­ment of the Clash of the Pad­dles, now in­cluded for the fourth year, is go­ing from strength to strength.

And with qual­ity pad­dlers like Hill, Robin­son and Booth lin­ing up the event should con­tinue to flour­ish for years to come.

OAR-SOME: The Cronulla crew leads the way in the 42km Clash of Pad­dles event.

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