Noosa paddlers kick off the racing season at Redcliffe ...

The 2018 regatta season kicked off at Bells Beach, Clontarf and Noosa paddlers were out to make a statement entering eighteen teams in the four senior races.

Moreton Bay has a reputation for unsettled and wet weather but this time there was little wind, hot sunshine and just a few waves on the bay.

Two long courses (one for women and one for men) were set for 16km but GPS and race times indicated that the course was in fact closer to 19kms! The course was from Bell’s Beach into the bay then up the coast towards Redcliffe and return.

The women’s and mixed teams long course race was first with 22 crews setting off together. As they disappeared into the distance the men kicked back under the tent preparing for their upcoming race ordeal.

Around 1 hour and 35 minutes later the lead crews approached the finish line with Noosa Senior Master Women coming home second of the women’s crews in 1 hour 41 minutes to win their division. The next Noosa team home and crossing the line fifth overall was the Noosa Senior Master Mixed in 1 hour 42 minutes placing second in their division.   Then in tenth place was Golden Master Mixed in 1 hour 45 minutes also winning their division.  Noosa Master Women finished on 1 hour 48 minutes, placing second in their division and Golden Master Women finished in 1 hour 48 minutes and 52 seconds, also placing second on their division.

The men’s long race then followed the same course, with a touch more wind offering a technical downwind leg. Once again the Noosa teams showed their mettle with Noosa Open Men second overall and also in their division in 1:26:18. In hot pursuit and ninth overall were the Golden Master Men in 1:33:05 to win their division with the other Noosa Golden Master Men crew second in a time of 1:38:13.  They has a royal battle around the course with Noosa Senior Master Men just 24 seconds behind to come fourth in their division.

Junior teams were next to paddle, so Noosa crews took the opportunity to seek shade, rest up, recover and talk stories to willing or unwilling ears.

The women’s 8km short course was next with an opportunity to put novice teams to the test. Noosa has recruited well this year and was able to field three teams in the novice division. The first Noosa team steered by Tina Standish was home in 1 hour 1 second, just 12 seconds behind the top placed Novice team from Tweed Coast. The two other Noosa novice teams both experienced a huli (capsize) with one team still managing to place third in 1:08:28. Unfortunately the other team was had to pull out of the race.  This was a great introduction to racing for these women and the many smiling faces indicated that they had a fun time.

The last race was the Men’s and mixed teams short course which gave coaches the opportunity to change crews around if needed. The Noosa results for this race with 26 crews overall were Open Men second overall and in their division in 34 minutes 34 seconds, Golden Master Men sixth overall and first in their division in 37:30, Senior Master Men twelfth and third in their division in 39:36, Senior Master Mixed seventeenth and first in their division in 40:48 and Novice Men 22nd and first in their division in 43:55.

After the race the canoes and equipment were loaded onto trailers in super quick time and the crews all enjoyed a laugh and social over a cold beer before heading home.

Credit: Jo Searle.