25 years on but club has same friendly feel
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.