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Residents and visitors up Baffle Creek for raft race

The built from kit raft race, fondly known as the Dogs Breakfast, at the RE/MAX Baffle Creek Raft Race on June 8.
The built from kit raft race, fondly known as the Dogs Breakfast, at the RE/MAX Baffle Creek Raft Race on June 8. Mike Richards

THE annual RE/MAX Baffle Creek Raft Race has not only helped reconcile residents with the water after floods devastated their community, but the funds raised from Sunday's event will help fix some of the remaining damage.

Residents and visitors from neighbouring regions flocked to the Flat Rock Boat Ramp to take part in the fun, with delicious food and free water sports on offer.

In addition to the various raft races, there were stand-up paddle board, kayak, surfboard and team canoe events.

Proceeds from the event, organised by the Baffle Creek Boat Club, will go towards the rehabilitation of the Flat Rock Picnic Ground.

Club secretary Ruth Gledhill said the event first started in 1994, although floods had forced the event to be cancelled a few times.

Ms Gledhill said the event used to be held on the Australia Day weekend in January, however after last year's floods the group wanted to go ahead with the event and June was the ideal date.

"This is the ideal venue and we have had the support of Gladstone Regional Council to host it here, they've been just wonderful," she said.

"It's a great time for the kids.

"Last year there was a lot of stress; This year it's gone like clockwork."

Ms Gledhill said donations, community support and sponsors had helped make it all possible.

After manning the raffle station, Ms Gledhill joined in the water events with her dog Kismet.

There were a lot of first-timers who took part, including Andy Dent who showed an immediate aptitude for stand-up paddle boarding.

The Gayndah man was visiting the area to see family with partner Jessica Ehrlich and daughter Sophie, who is almost two.

He won first place in both the open sprint and 2km open stand-up paddle board races.

"It's pretty fun if you can stay up," he said.

Former Nutri-Grain IronMan Luke Grice was another competitor who took to the stand-up paddle board quickly; his second placing in the open sprint race was only the second time he had been on that type of craft.

Mr Grice, who competed in the late '80s, visited for the day with wife Annie and sons Tyler, 9, and Dane, 8, from Boyne Island.

"We love the water," he said.

"I've never been down here before. It's really good."

An element that attracted Mr Grice to the event was that it had the kayak aspect to it as he continued ski paddling after he stopped racing.

Dane showed his prowess in the water like his father, placing second in both the under-10 and under-14 boys stand-up paddle board race.

On why he enjoyed paddle boarding, he laughed: "You can push people off".

Emily and Ben Davis visited for the day with son Eli, 16 months, as a family friend is involved in the boat club.

The 2014 RE/MAX Baffle Creek Raft Race was held at the Flat Rock Boat Ramp on June 8. Eli Davis, 16 months.
The 2014 RE/MAX Baffle Creek Raft Race was held at the Flat Rock Boat Ramp on June 8. Eli Davis, 16 months. Mike Richards

"We live in Tannum Sands so it's not far," Mrs Davis said.

"It's nice for the community.

"He (Eli) loves the water so he'd be into it if he could, but now he gets a balloon instead."

Melissa Ghee, from Calliope, said her family decided to attend after seeing an advertisement for the event on the way down to Bundaberg on Friday.

"We brought the fishing rods down and thought we would make a day of it," she said.

Her husband Ben made the most of the day, trying stand-up paddle boarding for the first time.

Leslee Flett, from Tannum Sands, attended with her family as they have a hobby farm in Baffle Creek.

""We came here last year and it was just awesome," she said.

Kirk Kelly, 9, from Gin Gin designed a kayak for the RE/MAX Baffle Creek Raft Race and Baffle Creek siblings Katy Cherry, 12, and James Cherry, 11, provided assistance in assembly and paddling on the day.
Kirk Kelly, 9, from Gin Gin designed a kayak for the RE/MAX Baffle Creek Raft Race and Baffle Creek siblings Katy Cherry, 12, and James Cherry, 11, provided assistance in assembly and paddling on the day. Mike Richards

"It's a just a really nice time for the kids.

"It gives them the chance to mix with other kids they might not get the chance to.

"It's a nice, fun, family-event."

Tamara Kelly, from Gin Gin, decided the event would be a good chance for her family to visit their friends, the Cherry family, who live in Baffle Creek.

"The only thing holding it together is bailing twine."

Her son Kirk, 9, constructed a raft out of materials that were lying around in the shed and pre-tested it on the family dam.

"I just made it myself," he said.

"The only thing holding it together is bailing twine."

"I said to myself, why not?"

Katy Cherry, 12, and her brother James Cherry, 11, provided assistance in assembly and paddling on the day.

Attendees gathered in mass by the water's edge to watch the various raft races at the end of the day.

There was particular excitement in the women's raft race, which was won by team RE/MAX, when Team Boob Job (a canoe mostly made out of silicon) came from a sizeable distance back to overtake Team Rainbow, whose paddlers had hit a sand bank.

Topics:  baffle creek flood raft race water sports



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