To most of us Easter is a time where we can reflect on our beliefs, enjoy some extra time off with family and friends and over indulge our love of chocolate.

I WISH. Instead Andrew, Marion and myself are s8ll asking the ques8on of why did we forego the above in order to travel to the Coomera on the Gold Coast to endure physical pain of a whole new dimension and compete in the Australian Canoe Championships.

In saying that what a weekend it turned out to be. The event was a huge success held in very hot & humid conditions over a very technical and challenging course. The course was approximately 3.8km in length with numerous 8ght turns, shallow water, and the ever present wash from course boats. Racing was held over 2 days with the singles racing on Saturday and the doubles on Sunday. The race distances varied between 30km for the open divisions to 3.8km for school aged children.

FNCCC was represented by Marion Brownlie who paddled in the masters women’s 15km event & Andrew Gordon & Stuart Thomson who competed in the masters men’s K2 22.4km event.

Marion paddled on Saturday which saw par8cularly tough condi8ons due to the heat and humidity. In typical Marion fashion, she paddled superbly well, putting her head down and toughing it out un8l the end and finally finishing 2nd after leading the race for 3 of the 4 laps. Marion was ultimately beaten by the reigning world master’s champion. Well done Marion on your inspiring effort.

The K2 events were held on Sunday in better conditions than Saturday but s8ll very hot and humid. Andrew and I entered the master’s men’s 22.4Km event, a race consis8ng of 6 laps with 5 portages (thanks to Brad Restall for coming and taking on the role of handler, Brad you could have at least carried our boat back to the car after the race). Most of you would be aware that Andrew & I are new to the discipline of K2 racing and had never portaged. We had only competed in one race together prior to the Na8onal Champs, however we had put in a great deal of training and were improving with every ou8ng together. For the most part, we paddled very well, and portaged reasonably well. Although we lost a lot of 8me on the portages, we had the straight line speed to regain some distance between us and the other paddlers on the long straight after the portage.

After nearly missing a turning buoy on the last lap (my fault) and having to reverse the boat up to make the turn, a very shaky turn I might add that nearly saw us fall out with only 300m to the finish line. In the end we made the turn and held on to finished first, an achievement of which we are very proud.

In all, The Nationals are something that I would recommend that every paddler attends, as either a racer or a spectator, to witness elite world class athletes compe8ng in both the open men’s and women’s races. These races were as exci8ng as any spor8ng event I have witnessed.

It was a good result for the FNCCC. It’s also great to see Brad Restall re-join the club after a lay off. I’m sure he was inspired by the old men. Seriously though, Brad has the skills and ability to compete with the best of the open men, and fingers crossed that FNCCC may have an open

Aussie champ of its own in the near future.

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