25 years on but club has same friendly feel

Whitsunday Times - - REELIN’ IN / ON THE WATER -

THERE was a lot of rem­i­nisc­ing of by­gone eras but some things never change, and Outrigger Whit­sun­day’s fam­ily feel is cer­tainly a tes­ta­ment to that.

Past and present mem­bers of the club flocked to the Air­lie Beach Ho­tel on Satur­day night for Outrigger Whit­sun­day’s 25th an­niver­sary, where his­toric pieces of mem­o­ra­bilia, uni­forms and even pad­dles were on dis­play from as far back as the ‘80s.

For the club’s older mem­bers, like Adri­aan Van­der­lugt, it was a chance to catch-up with old friends.

“Some of us are still do­ing what we were do­ing then. We were all look­ing pretty fit still,” he joked.

“In the mid 80s to 90s we built fab­u­lous friend­ships. It was lovely to see peo­ple we haven’t seen for years. There was plenty of ‘re­mem­ber this’ and ‘re­mem­ber that’.

“We came along and brought old pad­dles, tro­phies and buck­ets of medals.”

Van­der­lugt, who was a mem­ber be­tween 1986 and the mid ‘90s, said there were plenty of sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the club then and now.

“We had up to 90 mem­bers and the crews were solid, with par­tic­u­larly good num­bers in the mens,” he said.

“Most of them got dis­tracted with girl­friends and var­i­ous jobs but the mas­ters, who were suc­cess­ful, were able to take the time and go to the re­gat­tas and train.

“For lo­cals in my time, Air­lie Beach was very much at the fore­front of the outrigging world. We got medal af­ter medal and then the pro­fes­sion­als came in from the Gold Coast and took over.”

While the club is still built on sim­i­lar foun­da­tions, the equip­ment is some­thing that has de­vel­oped.

“I’m rather as­ton­ished at how the tech­nol­ogy has changed. The pad­dle sizes, how to pad­dle, the ca­noes... there are so many as­pects to it now,” Van­der­lugt said.

“We had six-man ca­noes and that was it. One day var­i­ous crews went over­seas and put ca­noes to­gether and had races that way. Now they’ve got sin­gle and dou­ble ca­noes, it’s amaz­ing.”

Club mem­ber and history buff Alan Irv­ing also made a pre­sen­ta­tion of the history of the sport, em­pha­sis­ing how im­por­tant the Whit­sun­days was in the up­bring­ing of outrigging in Aus­tralia.

John Carey, Terry Hud­son, Char­lie Wilkie, War­wick McAl­lis­ter, John Maw­son, Adrian Pelt, Michael Hur­ren, Adri­aan Van­der­lugt, Jim Th­er­oux, Steve Kelly and Ash­ley Kennedy at Satur­day's Outrigger Whit­sun­day re­union.

MEM­O­RIES: Fe­male mem­bers, past and present, at the Outrigger Whit­sun­day re­union cel­e­brat­ing 25 years at the Air­lie Beach Ho­tel on Satur­day.

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