Capes to take on big clubs

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times
Geographe Outriggers are ready to take on Australia’s best paddlers.
Camera IconGeographe Outriggers are ready to take on Australia’s best paddlers. Credit: David Dare Parker/David Dare Parker

Busselton’s paddling dynamos, the Geographe Bay Outriggers, will compete against the nation’s best this weekend in Queensland.

A team of 14 has headed over to Kawana Lakes on the Sunshine Coast for the Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association’s National Sprint Titles.

It is not the first time the small club has travelled to the Eastern States to take on the mighty clubs from Queensland and New South Wales, but their preparation has been different this year.

Changes to race events means Geographe Bay Outriggers have been focusing their training on paddling Va’as, a single rudderless canoe which takes a lot of skill and technique to paddle and steer.

The club was able to borrow a V1 from West Coast Outriggers Club in Bunbury for training, because the club only has one V1 of their own.

Paddling young guns Beau Haynes and Jayden Allsop are among the seven juniors representing the Capes club.

Jayden, who last year became a national champion with his father, Darren, in the open men’s OC2 12km event, said he was also hoping to make waves in the sprint scene.

“We are definitely hoping for a few medals at the national titles,” he said.

“Ultimately, the competitions are a lot of fun. Our motto is about completing, not competing.

“It is about finishing the race, having fun with your friends and medals are a bonus.”

Coach Laurie Haynes said he was taking over a bigger squad than previous years and was keen to see how they fared on the national stage.

“We have spent a couple of months training for this so we feel quite well prepared and confident,” he said.

“We are going to be up against the best paddlers in Australia and against huge surf clubs and outrigger clubs that live on the ocean 24/7.

“Over on the east coast, it is a different culture, they live and breathe paddling whereas we are a holiday town but we will give them strong competition.”

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