Pictures by Stephen Morris and words by Derek Heath
Justin getting into the spirit of the tennis ball challenge
Paddling all out on the canoe challenge
Having been away for last year’s regatta, also organised by Mark, I looked enviously at the photographs of the fun times being had on that day. I was determined to make this year’s event and put the date in my diary as soon as it came out. Saturday was a busy day for all and even more so for those who did the Park Run before coming along. The turnout was super with a great number of members, friends, and family turning up to participate or watch the activities.
We all went over to Hurst Park in kayaks, after all the gear had been shipped over in canoes.
The large number of people involved meant we started off a little later than planned but were still able to have lots of fun on the water.
Races around Taggs Island were the starters, divided into expertise levels so that everyone stood some sort of chance although, as I watched my fellow competitors disappear into the distance, I wondered if I should have joined the novices.
A great way to wake up on a Saturday morning. The lucky winners went on to paddle in finals and show the rest of us just what efficient paddling looks like. In contrast, the paddling without paddles race showed that with a good deal of effort, it is possible to move a boat quite quickly with one’s hands.
The next race was a team effort to get half the assembled paddlers into a canoe and paddle round a course before disembarking downstream. With 15 in each team it was decided we would have to make two trips. We had to quickly make up our minds as to who should go in each trip and who was going to paddle the canoe back on their own. It was fairly easy to decide this as Dan and Emily were on different teams (thank heavens!). It was a great race and would have been even closer had our team thrown themselves out of the canoe in a less careful manner! Apologies to those sitting behind me as I sprayed water in all directions as I pulled my paddle out of the water.
The final game was to collect tennis balls off the water whilst paddling kayaks and then throw them to our team mates on the bank. It was akin to fish feeding on a salmon farm and just as chaotic. Peter managed to capsize pretty quickly so you can imagine how much mayhem was going on as he is usually as solid as a rock in kayak. I followed shortly after being nudged by a well know person who I am reluctant to name – shall we just say “Carpe diem!”? This activity kept all those watching very entertained and all those participating very busy and pretty wet.
After this we gathered all the gear together and set off back to Bell Hill for the barbecue. Morton had gone over earlier to set fire to the coals and was doing a great job of building up a good glow by the time we arrived. All the boats were put away and we settled down to eat our barbecued meats and the great spread of salads and snacks as well as cakes provided by Tamra and her team of supporters.
Many thanks to Mark for organising a really enjoyable event which I felt really brought us all closer together.
Lots more pictures here taken by various people