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Navigating Nationals

Navigating Nationals
Sandgate Guide - Feb 28, 2017 20:06
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After three months of rising at extreme hours to be training by 5am, several members of the Sandgate Canoe Club (SCC) are ready to compete in the hotly contested 2017 Australian Canoe Marathon Championships.

Local paddlers Greg Litherland and Chris Gissing were selected to be part of the Queensland State team, and Melissa Bull, Paul Lang and Trent Litherland will be representing the Sandgate Canoe Club. All will be competing against other Australian states in the singles event, an age-graded, 19-23km course. In addition, Chris Gissing and Melissa Bull are teaming up, as well as father-son duo Greg and Trent Litherland to compete in the doubles event.

Competitors will be paddling K1 and K2 kayaks, which can require a great deal of skill and fitness to manoeuvre. K1s are a one person kayak, and are usually only 40cm wide, making them quite tricky to balance. K2s, for two people, are only a little wider. Competitor Melissa Bull explains that the races will involve a number of laps around a lake circuit. “Each lap will include portage, where the individual or team has to get out of the water and run with their boats then re-enter the water, hopefully without losing any ground,” says Melissa. “This is difficult because K1 boats can be over 6m long, making them awkward to carry.”

Melissa says the races take around 1.5-2 hours to complete depending on weather conditions, the technicality of the course and the competition.

“Tactics are important in terms of determining who gets away and who wins,” Melissa says.

Sandgate paddlers have done very well at Nationals in the past, with some making it to the podium, so after all their hard work and training, there is hope for similar success this year. The Championships will be held over the 10-12th March in the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith.