SOUTHERN States Zone hosted the Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Associations (AOCRA) National Championships at Lakes Entrance from November 24 to 26.
And Echuca’s local Inland Outrigger Canoe Club had seven members competing in the event.
Friday saw the event start with a coaching clinic and warm-up race, while Saturday was the main-event, a 20km ocean race.
All canoe classes started together in single and double outrigger canoes with some paddlers more than 70 years old.
There was plenty to race for with national titles up for grabs and the first man and woman in singles (OC1) across the finish line to win flights to a New Zealand outrigger race in 2018.
Conditions were somewhat flat with assistance during the 10km downwind section of the long course 20km event.
After the 18km ocean section competitors paddled in through ‘The Entrance’, through tricky waters before the flat 2km waterway up the Cunningham Arm to finish in front of the Lakes Entrance Surf Lifesaving Club.
There were 47 competitors in this race and the IOCC celebrated success with Yvonne Stansfield and Steve Vegh paddling a double in Master 50+ Mixed (OC2) division. They finished 13th across the line, second place in their division in a time of 1:54.
Ben McMaster and Don Larcombe paddled Open men’s doubles (OC2) and finished second in a time of 2:04.
Janine Carroll paddled her single OC1 in Masters Womens 50+ division, finishing in first place in a time of 2:20.
The Open women’s winner and first female across the line stated it was one of the hardest races she had done due to the heat and flat conditions. There were no easy rides to be had and all paddlers earned their places.
The conditions were actually an advantage to Inland OCC club members who train on the lovely Murray River.
Sunday saw the 10km short course ocean event held. Five members raced various craft in this event.
Yvonne Stansfield and Janine Carroll competed in Masters 50+ women’s division in a double OC2 canoe finishing 15th across the line and first place in their division in a time of 50 minutes.
Don Larcombe and Robyn Mandaradoni competed in Masters 50+ Mixed OC2 and came third in their division in 52 minutes.
Barry Bell competed on an OC1 in Masters 60+ division, finishing in 58 minutes.
A most enjoyable few days were had by all at a beautiful location.