After completing the huli drill on January 29 and tossing back a couple of bacon and egg rolls with other club members who make you feel welcome and that you are not the first to experience the thrill and the challenges ahead, a small group of novices bid each other farewell with a casual- “see you at training!”

Three weeks later the intrepid 5 with their trusty steerer Paul, splashed into the water at Ettalong beach and boarded the outrigger with nervous anticipation and as much excitement.

After a mildly confusing start we were off! We built up a steady rhythm and with 2 teams in front and the sounds of paddles and voices behind and Paul keeping us focussed we made headway across the current. We rounded the turn and to our surprise we were given encouraging cheers from the water as club members had paddled out to support us on the water (it was fantastic to hear the encouragement from them), we maintained our position and we encouraged each other up and down (who knew we could shout so loud while paddling).

We strove to lessen the distance with the boat in front. We drew close! We struck harder! And crossing the mysterious finishing line (where WAS it exactly?) we pulled in at Ettalong beach with joy in our hearts, greeted by a wonderfully supportive group of cheering Dragons and beaming smiles all round. Nice one novices! A healthy second (or third depending on which way you look at it!) next time First place. A terrific start to the world of the camelbak and….. "paddles up!"

Some other thoughts on our build up to the race and the novice course:

Novice course is a really great, non threatening introduction to both sports and cultivates great camaraderie between the newbies (you guys rock and loved our teamwork on Sunday – how much fun!)

The club provides all the info you need to be able to make decisions about moving forward – It is a really friendly, supportive, professional club.

Quickly learned the not so subtle difference between paddle out and paddles up coming around the marker/buoy!!

Fantastic way to see a new perspective of our beautiful city and surrounds.

Loved hearing the drums paddling towards the finish line – very Hawaii Five-O ish.

We’ll have guns of steel in no time!

A big thank you to all of the people who have been involved in our training, introduction to the sport, the support and encouragement, the fun, oh yes the fun.


Liz, Chris, Janine, Ian and Fiona