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Busselton’s Geographe Outriggers celebrate 20-year milestone with championship effort at Jetty Regatta

Headshot of Carly Laden
Carly LadenBusselton Dunsborough Times
Geographe Outriggers Busselton had plenty to celebrate last weekend after winning the recent Jetty Regatta and celebrating its 20th year as a club.
Camera IconGeographe Outriggers Busselton had plenty to celebrate last weekend after winning the recent Jetty Regatta and celebrating its 20th year as a club. Credit: Jill Johansen

A longstanding, local outrigger canoe club has pulled off a double whammy of celebrations and milestones, winning a championship event on home turf last weekend.

In the midst of celebrating 20 years since being established, Geographe Outriggers Busselton won the championship trophy at its Jetty Regatta on Saturday, March 11.

Featuring a fleet of about 15 40-foot long canoes across five clubs from Perth and the South West, the State’s largest outrigger canoe race saw competitors converge on the picturesque waters of Busselton’s Geographe Bay.

In an action-packed day of racing, Geographe Outriggers came away with the championship trophy after accumulating 83.00 points, pipping the Hurricane Dragon Boat and Outrigger Canoe Club on 81.00, and followed by Kwillana Va’a Outrigger Canoe Club (64), Bunbury’s Wavemasters Outrigger Canoe Club (27.16), Mandurah Ocean Club (19.84), Fremantle (15), and Rockingham Outrigger Canoe Club (14.00)

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Geographe Outrigger committee member and senior coach Jill Johansen said the club first started based out of the Broadwater Beach Resort and the sport’s unique nature has been the main factor in the club’s endurance to this day.

“The thing that’s kept us going is the uniqueness of the sport,” she said.

“It’s really good cardio, it’s really good for any sort of skill level whether you’re an experienced, competitive paddler or a social paddler.

“It’s a club of really diverse people that all come together to enjoy the sport of outrigging and it’s just amazing being out on the water, especially in our Geographe Bay with the dolphins and stingrays and even paddling under the Jetty is just wonderful.”

While it was “very special” to have won the Jetty Regatta Cup on home turf in the club’s 20th year, Ms Johansen said Geographe Outriggers has enjoyed plenty of success over the years from excelling at junior events to travelling all over the world to compete.

“Our juniors team is among the strongest in WA and we also recently had a crew travel to Sydney to take part in the Sydney Harbour Challenge, where they came 20th overall and eighth in their class,” she said.

“I went to the Cook Islands in November last year and competed in the Motu2Motu which is island to island in 36km.

“We came second in that our of 10 teams.

“We had another crew in 2019 go over to Norfolk Islands and compete as well, which was a real eye-opener.

“Each year we’ve been getting stronger and stronger as more people look for a different sport to try out.”

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