TEAMWORK: Steer Chelsea Gregory, from Bundaberg, Sandy de Roode, from Turkey Beach, Sharna Walker, from Calliope, Tracy Dunstan, from Biloela, and Tara and Tegan Carpenter, from Tannum Sands, finished second.
TEAMWORK: Steer Chelsea Gregory, from Bundaberg, Sandy de Roode, from Turkey Beach, Sharna Walker, from Calliope, Tracy Dunstan, from Biloela, and Tara and Tegan Carpenter, from Tannum Sands, finished second. Sarah Kummerow

Canoe Point Outriggers learn to paddle on the job

WHEN they jumped into the outrigger for the Inaugural Kanu Klassic the five women from Canoe Point Outriggers had never paddled as a crew.

The all-important steer, Chelsea Gregory, had joined the team from Bundaberg and shouted for help from the Carpenter girls Tara and Tegan at the front to throw a J-on-the-right and J-on-the-left.

The two girls were happy to help their new teammate navigate the Great Keppel Island course.

“We had never met her but we knew she could paddle and she was just amazing,” Tegan, 15, said.

The crew were out of rhythm in the sprint but found synergy for the 14km marathon.

The crew got out in front early but “another crew ran into us” and had to back off and start again.

Then the Canoe Point crew sat in second for most of the race, sticking to the island to avoid the stronger currents out to sea, until they started to tire.

“The course was only meant to be 14km but they extended it to 16km,” Tegan said.

“We could feel it was long than 14km.

“We slacked off a bit and were third across the line but we still came second in our division.”

Tegan said they never expected to finish second against 10 crews who trained together regularly.

“We have ladies that live further away. Sandy de Roode is from Turkey Beach, Sharna Walker from Calliope and Tracy Dunstan is from Biloela.”

But the tyranny of distance is a constant for outriggers.

“We’re in the middle of everything here,” Tegan said.

“We either have to go down to the Gold Coast or up to Townsville.

“That’s why it was good to have an event at Great Keppel.”

The women weren’t the only Canoe Point paddlers to do well, with club president Scott Lowry taking home second in the open mens division after a 20km race around the island.



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