2020 Marathon Series


Ultramarathon #4ish - BGCC 24 hour challenge - 28-29 Nov

In a grand finale to the somewhat truncated 2020 Ultramarathon Series, Burley Griffin Canoe Club invites paddlers to the annual Burley Griffin 24-hour Paddle Challenge on November 28th – 29th. Whether you choose to take on the challenge solo or as part of a team, paddling a kayak, canoe, ski or SUP, join the crowd at Molonglo Reach, Campbell ACT for a day and a night of fun and camaraderie.

Entries soon via Webscorer Early bird entries close 11:59pm, Sunday 22nd November Final entries close 11:59pm, Wednesday 25th November

Full event information on the BGCC website (see link above)

New in 2020, you can choose to paddle for the full 24-hours, or 16-hours with a break from 10pm to 6am. Paddlers who have entered the 24-hour event can choose to drop from this to the 16-hour event by advising the organisers before 8:00pm on Day 1 of the event.

Allowable craft: Kayak, Canoe, Ski and SUP.

Solo – one single or double canoe, kayak, ski or SUP with a single paddler or 2-person crew for the entire event

Team – a relay of paddlers rotating over the period of the event: – ‘Competitive’ with up to 4 paddlers using single-craft or 8 using double-craft, in one or more canoes, kayaks, skis or SUPs – ‘Recreational’ with up to 8 paddlers using single craft or 16 using double-craft in one or more canoes, kayaks, skis or SUPs


Ultramarathon #3 - Morison 50 - Sat 31 Oct

PaddleNSW was delighted to host the Morison 50 on October 31st, 2020. Starting from Macquarie Park, Windsor, paddle 50, 24 or 12kms in an out-and-back race as evening falls on the mighty Hawkesbury River.

Race Overview - Rich Yates
What do you get when you cross the Myall Classic with the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic? No its not stiff shoulders, blisters and a sore backside. The correct answer is the only Ultra marathon of COVID 2020, the Morison 50.

Conceived by Paddle NSW as low overhead race in the absence of both the Classics mentioned above, The Morison 50 pitted competition starved paddlers against a familiar river in a less familiar format. The plan was simple; Start at Windsor, paddle for either 6km, 12 km or 25 km then turn around and come home. Mother Nature had more to say about that.

Named after one of the true legends of marathon paddling, Joan Morison, the race started at Macquarie Park Windsor, pointing the boats downstream for their allotted distances before a return upstream, yes upstream in the mighty Hawkesbury. Like the Myall there were early and late starts to cater for the differing speeds of paddlers. Like the HCC the plan was to have the paddlers finish in the dark experiencing the excitement of night paddling in the wilds of Windsor.


Above: Tony, briefing Ian and Chris

Like the HCC there was a raft of required safety equipment and scrutineering. Of particular interest was the requirement for a mobile phone and the GPS tracking Glympse App. Paddle NSW’s Naomi Johnson found herself as the technical advisor to all of us who'd managed to install the app but then knew nothing of what to do next. Looking a bit deeper into it though, the app provides a means of locating individuals by their phone GPS and also provides the paddler with a one stop panic button contact for the safety crew of the race organisers. I think this is a good use of the technology. In a lot of cases, the addition of the iphone to the boat meant that the net worth of the cargo exceeded the net worth of the vessel, in my case by a factor of 3. Nonetheless, a good drybag, carefully and securely attached provided some comfort.

The timing of the start provided the paddlers with a good outgoing tide which alas was set to change only after the race was complete. It was happy days downstream and a tough night upstream.

First off was the 3pm start for the 50km course. Various craft on this start including a K1, some sea kayaks, skis and SUPS. An hour later the rest of us headed downstream, those dreaming of glory or deluded in the hope that the later start would provide a tidal assist on the way home. The K1 diamond quickly hit the front but were thwarted at the first buoy before the bridge with the left wingman having a swim. The other three stopped to assist and regroup as the rest of the pack went past. It was the first time for all of us I reckon, passing Brett Greenwood in a race.

The tide was fairly ripping down the river and the leading pack soon sorted itself out with a couple of doubles surrounded by skis and K1’s angling for the best wash. The tailwind also a friendly push in the back meant that the afternoon started to get a bit hot. The heat continued to rise with an approaching spring storm threatening with thunder and lightning. The lightning got closer and the light dimmed. I recalled the paddle NSW safety briefing in the event of lightning during the race, stay in your car if you aren’t on the water, stay in your boat in the middle of the river if you are. Well I was and I did and the rain came down in buckets. The river flattened out and turned from being a muddy brown to being speckled with silver ball bearings as each raindrop produced a perfect clear sphere as the splash rebounded. The lightning was striking up ahead and I felt for the 3pm starters who were probably in the thick of it.


Above: Me executing an overtaking manoeuvre while the Dawes/Cobb double was distracted by the camera


The temperature had dropped and the rain lasted a good 15 minutes, enough to get quite chilly despite the effort of paddling. However it did clear and the storm grumbled off to the north east. The 12km mark came up at the Cattai jetty (HCC checkpoint A). Quite strange to be paddling past the jetty without it being full of happy landcrew, instead the rescue boat was stationed there and as we paddled past they made a hasty embarkation and motored downstream.

The threat of the storms and their severity put some prospective starters off and there were a couple of cancellations. Others figured they had driven that far so better get on with it and the later starts went off, slightly delayed by the storm. The HCC is a race that often has competitors comparing GPS readouts for the distance travelled. Perhaps its something about the river as that turned out to be the case for the Morison 50. The boat charged with deploying the 50km turn buoy just south of Sackville had a mechanical and simply wouldn’t go. This of course coincided with the electrical storm which played some havoc with comms. By the time comms were restored it was up to the 12km IRB to dash down the river to turn the fleet around.

The 3pm starters were obviously an obedient bunch and patiently paddled on past the GPS reading of 25km looking for the official buoy. 26km, 27km, 28km, 29km no buoy. Luckily, before (almost) encountering the Ferry, the IRB caught the leaders and turned them around. They then turned themselves and headed back upstream turning the fleet around as they went. This had the unfortunate effect of turning the race leaders into the race backmarkers in an instant. However, this also had the fortunate effect of turning the 50km backmarkers suddenly into race leaders.

So the uphill slog began. The heady speeds of 13, 14 or 15km/hr on the way down ebbed to 10, 9 and 8 on the way back. Luckily we were treated to a magnificent sunset after the clouds cleared. It was much more rewarding looking at that than the GPS.

So the fast crews overtook the slower crews all over again on the way home. A very strange feeling for HCC veterans, paddling upstream toward Windsor with the sun in your face on the last Saturday in October. The later starts for the shorter course had similar struggles with the tide. Misery loves company.

Like the HCC the finish is heralded by a distant road bridge. Like the HCC it comes into view and refuses to get any closer until you are nearly weeping. Then all of a sudden its behind you and you are finished. The construction of the new bridge has created a couple of eddies near the bridge, one in particular was very exciting for the weary and unwary paddlers. And just like that the race is over. No landcrew to help you up with the boat, although a there were a few friendly faces offering congratulations and encouragement at the finish.

The best finish was taken out by a double that came in complaining of weed on the rudder. They hopped out and inspected the rudder, waiting for the triumphant ball of Hawkesbury weed that saw them lose 3km/hr for the last 4km etc etc. They were disappointed only to find a single strand of fishing line. Not wishing to leave plastic in the river they pulled in the line and were surprised when they reeled in the business end of a Jarvis Walker 8 foot rod and reel. Luckily there was no fisherman attached but I can only imagine that the owner of the rod went home to their spouse with tales of a monster in the river that took their hook, line sinker, rod and reel. Such are legends born.

The last few boats trickled in after paddling above and beyond their allotted distance. Surprisingly the only real complaints I heard were the folks who got turned early rather than too late. I think most of us were just happy to be out there competing again.

So the inaugural Morison 50 or Morison 47 or Morison 59 was in my book a big success. Hats off to Paddle NSW for organising the event and running it. No sheep stations were lost and paddling was the winner on the day. Congratulations to all that paddled and many thanks to all that helped organise and run the race. Next year, the Mystery Morison. Keep em guessing.

Merry Sugiarto and Dave Hammond 24km 2:51:41
Wobbly start with buckets of rain and lightning, ahead of everyone until 15km when the rudder snapped. We tried to paddle steer but did not work. Eventually a friend came to the rescue and we got off and fix the rudder with a whistle string and paddle steered for the next 10-12km(with 2 loops making sure our paddler friend who stopped and helped us did not get left behind). It sure was a race to remember. Grateful for all the organisers and volunteers for making this happened.


Above: Merry and Dave buckets of rain!


Jeff Hosnell 58km 5:53:07
What a great idea to have race in honour of Joan and Bruce Morison

This was long race for me I was on my own for this race My normal partner Duncan had to work but he still came along to help with this race. What a great turnout from Lane Cover paddlers over a quarter of the field also volunteers - what a great club we have.

I entered the 50km race and chose the early 3pm start because I didn’t want to be on the water when it got dark. I thought I would finish 7.45 that didn’t happen. The start was great - Graham Cleland and I took off and soon put distance between us and the field. We were hitting high 12s even 13s. The 6km buoy we came to but didn’t realise we had to keep it on our left so sharp right turn to make this happen. This was about the time the rain came down and the wind got up lucky it was behind us. We had the Maritime Boat to keep us company.

As we got further down the river it became very choppy I had waves coming into my boat. When we came to around the 25km mark there was no buoy, and the Maritime boat carried on, so we followed. Well then I saw the ferry and I knew we had come too far 28.9km!

The Maritime Boat turned around asked our names and told us to turn around. Graham was telling paddlers who had followed us to turn around. And we're pretty sure we saw Duncan plaintively calling from the bank? It was a really hard slog back 9s, 8s high 7s. We were so lucky after 5-6kms back the weather cleared and the river calmed right down, so even though it was slow it was a nice paddle. I had to empty my boat out around the 10km mark back. I stuck to the centre of the river because I couldn’t see very much. I stopped and turned my front light on that was good to look at. In the end finished around 8.45pm so a bloody long day!

Looking forward to next years race. Thanks to all the volunteers, special mention to Wade taking a new member Dean on such a hard paddle and I hear Dean is up for more.


Above: Jeff comes over to the 6km Buoy for a close-up

Oscar Cahill & Duncan Johnstone – Safety Boat 3
Oscar and Duncan had an eventful afternoon and saw a total of one kayak all day! We were Safety Boat 3 and had two jobs. The first was to lay the 50km turn buoy, and the second was to act as a safety boat at that end of the course. Oscar arrived in good time at Sackville to launch the boat. As it was bucketing down with thunder and lightning, he waited until Duncan arrived before launching. The gods were angry that day and also sent gremlins to sabotage the engine which then refused to start. Troubling-shooting the issue was near impossible in the torrential rain and lightning. As there was no phone signal, Duncan had to run up the hill to make a call to Race Control, who then scrambled a second boat that was located in Windsor. Once they arrived they launched quickly and then proceeded up river against a huge flow. In the meantime, Duncan drove to roughly the 50k turning point to ensure that no one passed that point. Some had slipped through… DOH!

By the time the scrambled boat got to the GPS location. Maritime had already taken up that post so they returned.

We bypassed the engine problem (electrical fault), launched and headed off to where the Maritime boat was and did what we could. But the damage had been done! The delay had a domino effect with some leading boats missing the turn (sorry Wade!) and others mistakenly turned back before reaching the turn. We got back to the ramp at 7pm, soaked and cold.

As it turned out, it was the safety boat that needed rescuing! And yes, Oscar was off to Whitworths first thing on Sunday morning and the boat is as good as new…… well…… newish!


Above: "Houston - we have a problem"

Naomi Johnson 47km 4:27:58
With fewer races than normal on the calendar this year, the Morison 50 was a tantalising prospect on the paddling horizon. I arrived at race day feeling well-prepared and ready to race, and after umming and ahhing about paddling my own K1 or the more forgiving Bettong in the weeks leading up, eventually acknowledged that I had done no training in the Bettong and my K1 was the more sensible choice from a speed and comfort perspective.

I spent a bit too much time in the hours before the race bouncing around helping paddlers install the compulsory Glympse app on their phone, forgetting to pay any attention to my own nutrition and hydration, and arrived on the start line feeling a bit jumpy. Needless to say, the first 8kms were not my finest achievement, with an overly tentative start from right in the middle of the pack leaving me scrambling for a wash and a bit queasy. At the 6km mark I was just hanging on to the back of a pack, realising that the camelbak in the bottom of my boat was sitting just a bit too far back to bring the nose of my K1 down into the washride. Then they started slipping away as the rain came down in earnest and the claps of thunder came worryingly close to their electrical beginnings. With the rain, though, I settled into my rhythm, with the outgoing tide pushing me to over 12kph. While I wasn’t catching the pack in front, they didn’t seem to be rushing away quite so fast, and by 20kms I was happily settling in for the long run. No sign of the 3pm group yet, though, which began to feel odd as we approached the 25km mark.


Above: Naomi in amongst the happy pack at the 6km turn

Though I wasn’t yet on the lookout for the turn buoy, the pack in front was suddenly turning, along with a wave of other paddlers from my start. And the driver of the speed boat moving briskly back up the course was making a large circular motion with their arm that could only mean they wanted me to do the same. A quick turn and I was able to hop on the wash of a double that had dropped me earlier, and we started back upstream quite a bit slower than 12kph...and wondering what on earth had happened? Had the wild weather resulted in the race being called off?

15kms to home and my washride changed from the friendly double to Simon Stenhouse, who had been spending a bit of time on the bank having a stretch. The view back up the river was totally new, adding yet another dimension to the river that I thought I was getting to know so well. Round another corner, the newly clear sky melted into a molten orange glow, slipping in streaks of pink and purple as we wound back upstream. As the colour bled out and the sky darkened, we began to pass paddlers from later starts. So the race can’t have been called off…

The darkness brought another washride in the form of Geoff and Albert from Brisbane Waters, and we were beginning to count down to a view of the Windsor Bridge. Though feeling good about the distance, I was beginning to feel some rubbing from my camelbak setup, along with the edge of my time tolerance in a tippy K1. 4kms, 3kms, then round the corner came the bridge, lingering tantalisingly on the horizon. Like another bridge in another distance race, Windsor didn’t seem to get any closer, yet the minutes ticked by. Finally the floodlit pool was just in front of us, and I felt good for a final sprint. Just as I was revving up to speed we hit the eddies, with the final 500m a battle with the swirling water rather than an elegant sprint for the finish line. At 47.75kms and 4hr 27min in the boat, I was very happy to stand up again!

Don Johnstone 4:32:19
After a year of cancellations and postponements, it was a great relief to hit the water at Windsor for the inaugural Morison 50. I arrived just in time to get through scrutineering, and too late for any socially-distant, pre-race photos, and once I'd launched I was welcomed by a swift downstream current. Even though I wasn't fast enough to stay with the leading packs, I still set PBs for every distance up to 30k, so I was having a grand old time. After 24.2k, word filtered back that it was time to turn around, and my speed suddenly dropped from 13 to 8kph.

Luckily, I teamed up with Trev and for a while with Rich which definitely made the grind back to Windsor more enjoyable. Many thanks to Tony Hystek and Bob Turner for organising such a great event in such a short time once word came through that the Hawkesbury and Myall were cancelled. And to all the volunteers who made for a memorable end to the 2020 paddling season.


Above: Don having a grand old time!

Karen Hadjinicola 24km 2:34:12
Unfortunately for some but thankfully for a novice like me, the Hawkesbury Classic was cancelled this year and the Morison Cup was created - to honour two founding members of the Marathon events. I am still reluctant to paddle in the dark (so in awe of you LCRK paddlers that do this year round) and the 24km circuit was my choice. I am very new to marathon events but now absolutely addicted and understand why you all love this discipline so much.

I was keen to sign up and support this new event in 2020 because any event is a good event this year. I had already met some awesome LCKR paddlers on the Clarence - Jeff, Wade, Duncan plus those I already knew Brett, James H, Michael, Roddi and Dani so I knew I was in safe hands for the Morison.

This is my report for the 24km early start (the soft ones). So Jeff and Wade had taken off at 3, Brett, James P, James H, Dmitry and Danni at 4, Chris was to follow at 6.

We lined up at 4:55 and just as we set off the skies opened up. Unlike the other starts, we had the Forest Gump moment of the rain coming hard from every direction. The tide was running and I mean running, I hit 13.5 before the bridge (and I'm a 10k average gal). It was brilliant but then the thunder clapped and clapped and then the lighting sent a bolt down, I saw it and had to laugh because I knew there was nowhere to hide, if it was going to hit then so be it.

It was definitely a tale of two cities, the trip down was my fastest 12km ever and my trip back saw my heart rate get pushed to maintain something close to a respectable speed. I can't even tell you how long it rained because it was irrelevant just staying on the next wash was the focus. After the halfway mark, there were only 3 boats in front of us. We (and I say we as David Veivers was my wash ride home, he let me take a few goes on the front), caught the first two leaving only the double which I knew we couldn't catch because they were doing so well but then I caught a glimpse of them near the shore. It's that horrible moment when you know something must be wrong but you can catch them, I didn't realise that poor David and Merry from the club had broken their rudder. They were safe and even more inspiring they still went on to finish the race in front of 10 other boats - go team.

So now line honours were up for grabs but sadly I picked the wrong line coming under the bridge to watch not only David V pull away but Rozanne pip me at the post. It was a valuable lesson to learn.

The inspiration of the day and this sport came from the start of the 50km, from the shore we could see that someone in a K1 had gone in before the bridge, but then we noticed 3 other paddlers assist him back to the shore and then took off again. Naturally they went on to take 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the singles. These 4 guys are from this wonderful club so huge shout to James P, Brett, James H and Dmitry.

Apologies for not mentioning everyone that participated from the Club, I'm still getting to know everyone but want to thank everyone for the amazing welcome I have received and looking forward to meeting everyone. It was also lovely to be included in the photos for the event.

It was a great experience and would recommend it to anyone.


Above: Karen in the rain at 6km distance

Wade Rowston & Dean Shein 50km 6:13:39
Young new Member Dean Shein, aged 25, was planning paddle his Epic V8 single in his first HCC along with a friend. However with its cancellation he still wanted to give the Morrison 50 a go but unfortunately his friend was not available. Via Alanna he asked if anyone would be willing to paddle a double with him and I put my hand up. Dean is a reasonably new paddler but has run a few marathons so I knew he would have the right mindset to grind out the 50km.

Our preparation consisted of an 18km paddle in Blinky Bill (Richard Barnes’ double Mirage currently stored in the shed in place of Kermit) the Saturday prior and a 10km in the Vulcan with Tues squad. The 18km paddle was the longest of Dean had done. The much lighter Vulcan was a blessing and moved along nicely.

We just made it to the start line at 3pm with a couple of minutes to spare and off we went. After 1 km we latched on to another double and stayed with them for about 5 km. We were going well hitting 10-11km/hr. We cruised along nicely, had a quick pit stop on a sandy beach and continue making good progress. That’s when we met Stu paddling along. Not sure how we got on to the subject but Stu happens to have a Youtube channel and one of his posts has been viewed 11 million times. If you want to know how to go about shooting feral pigs FROM A KAYAK then search for ‘Stu pig hunting’. Certainly an unexpected conversation topic.

The forecast was for volatile weather with possible thunderstorm cells passing the area. We were fairly lucky and only had a couple of river stretches that were windy and only one patch of heavy rain. We were towards the back of the 3am start field and started to wonder why no paddlers ahead of us were not headed back as we approached 25kms turnaround point. Everyone now knows the story of why that happened with the turning buoy missing due to a non-starting motor boat. We made it to about 26km and someone (I think it was Duncan) called out from the river bank between some bushes and explained what had happened and we turned around at that point. Soon we came across the front runners of the 4pm starters and we were yelling out to turn around when they got to 25kms. Not long after some officials in a rubber dingy took over and was turning everyone back.

It was very hard going on the way back against the tide and some fresh flow no doubt. Often the GPS was showing a demoralising 6.7-6.9km/hr. So Dean and I settled in for the long haul and enjoyed the now calm, pristine river conditions and the beautiful sunset. We stopped again on a sandy beach for about 5 mins and emptied the boat (note to self the foot pumps need to be reinstalled in the Vulcan) then enjoyed the setting sun. The last leg from check point A seemed to take forever in the dark but we did pass a few slowing boats. Good conversations with Dean certainly helped divert the mind from the slow progress and burn some time on the way home. We took 2hr 30min on the outward leg and scrambled home in 3hr 45mins for a distance of 52.04km. It was a pleasure to paddle with Dean and he was great company. Nice work Dean going from 18km to 52km paddle in one step. Hopefully we will see him at Wednesday TT soon when his study timetable allows.


Above: Dean and Wade at the 6km mark

Ian Wrenford & Chris Johnson - Safety Boat 1
Tony initially contacted me when the Morison 50 was in its formative stages - checking I was up for a bit of event photography. The answer was yes of course – that’s something I’ve contributed to the HCC for some years – nice place for paddling – nice place for photos.

As the date loomed, Tony was in touch again – helpfully letting me know I’d be in the IRB Safety Boat at Checkpoint A. For photos of course. Not a problem – but all of a sudden my cushy few hours of camera work had acquired a manual labour component and some responsibilities. At least the IRB provides a nice platform for getting into a good position for pix..

Chris Johnson stepped forward as volunteer observer and we made arrangements to get out to Windsor at 2pm to pick up the PNSW boat/trailer. We’d kept an eye on the weather forecast and were pleased to see that morning storms would magically clear in the afternoon making for fine paddling & photography conditions.

On arrival at Windsor the forecast seemed spot on – other than some menacing clouds on the horizon. Actually quite a lot of menacing clouds. No matter – Tony had positioned Checkpoint A right off the end of the Pitt Town Bottoms boat ramp which meant we had the shelter of the car. The original plan had been to use the IRB to scoot downstream a bit to Percy’s ski park – my usual HCC vantage point these past few years. The menacing clouds though were a bit close for comfort – so at the ramp we stayed.

We duly laid out the 12km turn buoy – nice and close to the shore to bring paddlers in for a close-up then sat back and waited for the 3pm 50km start to come through. No worries. No turnbacks required. Then wait ~45 minutes for the 4pm 50km start to come through. Oh, and the menacing clouds – which by now had grown teeth.


Above: Ian changing the film in his camera

The 4pm start came through- with the front runners ignoring the photo opportunity and taking the shortest path between two points. No close ups for them then! The next bunch though had obviously read the race briefing (or saw the glint from the camera lens) and duly came through all smiles. All through. No turnbacks. Then the rain set in, to the accompaniment of lightning and thunder. Scurried back to the car to wait for the 5pm 24km start.

The 5pm and 6pm 24km start came through cleanly with the rain persisting but the lightning thankfully elsewhere. Photos were taken from under a brolly with the light fading and paddlers starting to return from the longer distances. By the time the 7:00 pm 12km paddlers came through it was properly dark and the camera was struggling with the built-in flash. The turn mark was pulled out, boat retrieved, and dropped back to Windsor - then a quick trip home to get the photos loaded by midnight.

Tom Simmat 50km 4:51:49
Sorry I did not reply earlier but I am a bit concerned that I may not have strictly complied with the compulsory equipment requirements and race directions as set out by Paddle NSW for the Morrison 50. I understand life jackets, and space blankets and whisles and food and water and torches, but there was something about mobile phones in plastic bags with a down loaded app.

Coming from late in the first half of the previous century, down loaded apps are a complete mystery, but the clear intent was some sort of system to track my whereabouts should I not turn up at the finish. A trail of bread crumbs was not suitable as the Hawkesbury fish would probably eat them and rice had a similar problem. So I came up with the idea of trailing string behind the boat that the rescue team could follow to my demised state.

I asked at the local two dollar shop if they had water proof string and I was directed to the back of aisle 6. They were correct as there was a large drum of balls of string. Unfortunately there was no indication that it was waterproof so as a brief test I wondered around the shop while sucking one end of the string and also picked out half a dozen cans of baked beams as compulsory race food. The test proved that the string was probably water proof so I bagged twenty five balls of bright pink string, each ball claiming to contain one thousand meters. I chose bright pink just in case someone else had the same idea and multi pieces of string going down the river all the same colour would confuse the rescue team.

That night I prepared for the race by tying the balls of string together and tested two of the cans of baked beams. I recycled the cans by putting a nail hole in the bottom, each end of the string knotted through the hole. This was the mobile phone system we used as kids in the 1950s to communicate between trees in the back yard. With varying success.

I was a bit late to the start and Tony Hystek did the scrutineering so apparently my safety communication system was acceptable. I buried one can near the official start tent with a brief note, “If not returned Tom is at the end of this bright pink waterproof string.” If I got into trouble I could yell into the can at the other end and my voice would surge out of the sand under the tent. Genius!

All went well and the string paid out as I paddled down the river. I noted that there was no other string in the river, unless the person who had the same idea as I did was behind me. At six kilometers and after six balls of string, I came to the twelve kilometre yellow turn around buoy. I recalled something in the briefing notes about staying right of these buoys, I thought I might have a problem with my system if I had to stay right coming back as my string would be around the buoys anchor.

All was pretty uneventful after only eleven balls of string were used up I passed the 25 kilometer turn around buoy. I figured I must have taken a few short cuts. Then it started to rain. Like really, really rain. I could not see the river bank but I figured if the string kept streaming out at the back of the boat I must be going in roughly a straight line. It rained so hard my cockpit filled up with water. The eight remaining balls of waterproof bright pink string were bobbing around in the water in the cockpit in a rather add hock manner. I stopped paddling to untangle the mess, was a bit wet and cold, but after a can of baked beans felt much better and continued toward the fifty kilometer turn around buoy. I had three balls of string left.

I had just found the ultimate flaw in my plan when I realized I would have to pass around the bottom turn around buoy and so would my rescue trace line, I would either have to go back around the buoy in the opposite direction or I would soon run out of string.

Just at that point, a rescue rubber ducky came buzzing past screaming turn around now. Problem averted, but I was concerned that the event had been abandoned. A bit like cricket because of the rain.

So paddling casually back I orderly reeled in my bright pink waterproof string ready for the next event. However in order not to tangle the string around the twenty five kilometre and twelve kilometre turning buoys I passed those buoys on the same side as when I went down. This was strictly against the race briefing rules. Ian in order to prevent my disqualification from the event by passing the wrong side of the yellow buoys on the way back, I would ask that you keep this confession strictly confidential. Tom


Above: Tom at 6km with race food and mobile phone,,,

Above: Results for LCRK Members and regular TTers - not 100% sure if corrected for Morison 48 vs 50 vs 58 paddlers!

Above: Glorious sunset(s)


Ultramarathon #2 - Wyong River Ultravirtualmarathon - Sat 29 Aug to Sun 6 Sep

In lieu of the Wyong Ultramarathon originally scheduled for August 30th (cancelled due to covid restrictions), Paddle NSW presented their first official virtual race!


Above: Results for LCRKers and regular TTers

The race allowed you to paddle this self-timed race alone or as part of a group between August 29th and September 6th, having a crack at the 30km or 15km distances, or both!

Return to Marathon, Windsor Sat 8 Aug

from Naomi Johnson...

Without going into too much detail on the events of past months, it’s safe to say that all paddlers breathed a big sigh of relief to get to Friday evening and find that the Return to Marathon at Windsor on Saturday 8th August would definitely go ahead. The look might have been slightly different – with a briefing emailed out the night before, socially distanced queueing for numbers and a moratorium on gathering after the event – but the allure of the water and a race saw a solid turnout from many clubs. Some paddlers admitted to having done very little paddling over the preceding months, while others have clearly gone all-in with more time, or slightly more flexible time on their hands.

A second sigh of relief came when the foreboding-looking weather forecast didn’t eventuate, and the sky looked set for a morning of intermittent rain and clouds rather than the all-out downpour outlook of the previous day. The tide was already low, and continued to run out for most of the race, offering a spacious beach for the Div 1 portagers but treacherously shallow water on the way upstream. With Lane Cove paddlers and friends in almost all the divisions, the stage was set for a great day of racing.

A 2020 rejig of divisions and starting protocol saw divisions 7, 6 and 5 along with a solid contingent of SUPs head out ahead of the main fleet from 10:40am. Duncan Johnstone in Div 5 reported that his start group was a bit smaller than usual, with the other two paddlers shooting off and leaving him to paddle 20kms alone, and Derek Simmonds’ 3rd place in a 4-strong Div 7 looked like it might’ve been similarly lonesome. In a slightly healthier Div 6, Jeff Tonazzi paddled his first 20km race in over a year to finish 4th and David Veivers 6th.


Above: Fiona - first marathon series event and a 2nd place

The first race since February saw two LCRKers take on their very first marathon. Simon Lewis and Fiona Rae have been regulars at morning squad this year, and it was great to see them joining in the marathon action as well. Simon reported a great race with a few good washriding opportunities (a sweet spot on a double even?) and finished 9th with at time of 1:55:04 in a tight Div 4 field. With reduced energy following a cold, Fi jumped into the 10km Div 9, and declared herself up for more washriding next time after find she was one of only two in her start! Nevertheless, she posted a great first-time marathon result, dusting off the 10,000m in 55:43.


Above: Jeff - paddling hard to avoid the camera

Also tackling the 10km distance were Paul van Koesveld who finished 2nd in Div 10, and Lachie Wrenford finishing 3rd in Div 13. Paddling for Sutherland Shire, Lachie Stokes took on the inaugural U/16 10km marathon class as part of what was supposed to be the five-race 2020 Junior Series, finishing 3rd in the boys’ group.

Regular 10km paddler Ian Wrenford opted instead for the 5km course in order to maximise photo opportunities, and even managed to squeeze in a few before his start as well! His pics are always greatly appreciated by paddlers around the state, and in due form were being circulated and shared on social media by about 4pm the same day!

Div 8 saw two of the three paddlers wearing Lane Cove colours, with Jeff Collins taking out line honours in 1:27:41 and Grahame Young finishing 3rd in 1:32:26. While most of the race was heavy-going up to the top turn with both shallow water and a strong outgoing tide to contend with, the return half was a welcome relief once we were swept along with the tidal flow. Down to the bottom turn, and there seemed to be some differences of option as to the best course to take. While the tidal flow seemed strong in the centre of the river, more than a few locals and course-savvy paddlers alike cut in close to the bank under overhanging trees. Or maybe they were just trying to avoid the odd spatter of rain.


Above: Graeme at the finish

Back to the 20km divisions, and Lane Cove was particularly well-represented in Divs 3 and 4. In an epic 14-boat strong Div 4, Richard Barnes (always Syd Uni) finished 5th in a time of 1:53:52. In what looks like it might have been a bit of a sprint for the bottom turn, John Duffy (8th) nabbed 8 seconds on Simon Lewis (9th), who pipped Jeff Hosnell (10th) by 9 seconds! Wade Rowston found going a little bumpy, rounding out the field in an almost flat two hours.


Above: John sans music - thinking about HCC 2020

Div 3 promised to be a spectacle, with Trevor Nichols and Don Johnstone posting impressive improvements in recent timetrials. Gareth Stokes (Sutherland) was one of the quickest off the start line, setting a fast pace that continued for the entire race (reputedly with a duct tape repair to a cracked hull). Trevor caught the front pack, then left them behind after about 10kms, presumably when he realised the potential of taking Div 2 by stealth! The ticket up to join them was secured when he posted the impressive time of 1:44:05! Gareth hung on with the chasing group to finish 2nd, closely followed by Naomi Johnson (5th, thanks to a bit of a sneaky washride), Don (6th and still looking strong) and Daniela Torre (Supporting Italy in 7th).

In the hot shot divisions, Pete Manley was the sole LCRK paddler in a rather spread-out Div 2 and finished 5th, with rumours that he and Trevor teamed up in the back end of the race. And Div 1 looked like nothing much had changed, with Brett Greenwood, James Harrington and James Pralija roaring through the finish line in 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively, and all squeaking in under the 1:33:00 mark!

While this year’s marathon series hasn’t quite gone to the original plan, it was great to see a greater diversity of paddlers at Windsor. 2020 saw the introduction of both a Junior Series with age appropriate distances for everyone down to U/8, and SUP-specific marathon distances and starts. Both initiatives were well-supported, with 10 SUPs and about 25 juniors out on the water. Please spread the word if you know of paddlers who might enjoy these classes in 2021 – it’s how we grow the sport!

And for those that need a nudge towards something a bit longer, the Windsor marathon was both the first race of the 2020 Ultramarathon Series and a change to gaze down the Hawkesbury River to something a bit longer. It’s now less than 70 days to the Hawkesbury Classic, so plenty of time to get training!


Above: Results for LCRK Members and regular TTers

Bonus Round 2, Frank Harrison Memorial Challenge - Saturday 23 Feb and Sun 24 Feb

Kieran Babich, Warwick Sherwood, Greg Morris, Jeff Hosnell and Duncan Johnstone all raced.

Race Report From Jeff Hosnell This is Laura and my favourite weekend away, to visit beautiful Albury and race on 2 days, singles on Saturday and Doubles Sunday. We arrived on the Thursday and stayed in a motel handily across the road from the Mitta Mitta Kayak club and finish line.

On the way down we detoured to Wagga to have a look at an old K2 that Bob Turner had organised for me to look at. The guy had held it since Nov for me, very happy with it so am now the owner of a K2.

On Friday, Duncan and Liz arrived about 8.30 so we went to the pub for dinner. Saturday race start was 3pm to give the Victorian paddlers plenty of time to get to the start. In the spare time, Duncan and I took the K2 for a paddle - we didn't fall in, negotiated running water, even performed a perfect ferry glide across the river so thumbs up on the buy, but we weren't prepared enough to use it on Sunday.

Duncan, Kieran and me did the 26ks singles. There were a number of different starts but we were all in the K1 division. Well, I thought I would start on the front line centre, shit was that a mistake with running water; wake from the big boys; and bloody river eddies my boat went crazy, no control, so many slap strokes just to stay upright - I certainly didn't want to fall in at the start. Duncan did the right thing, sat at the back and waited for it to smooth out. I finally got in control, and started to pick up some paddlers and got into a good rhythm.

I had a really good race and in the final 3kms Ian Cooper from Windsor joined me and we really dug in 1km from the finish he upped the pace and I struggle to get any leg drive and got dropped, when I finished I had noticed my seat had moved about 10mm this is because stupid Jeff had made a cut between the holes in the seat so I could make fine adjustments but with my strong leg drive it doesn't stay in the same place for a long race. I fixed it now after advice from James.

Saturday night was the dinner organised by Mitta Mitta at the Bended Elbow. It was a good night, the girls knocked off a bottle or 2, and we all got to meet paddlers from other clubs.

Sunday was doubles and we were joined by Warwick and Greg at the start, Duncan and I paddled the Clubs Popemobile, which handles the eddies well, but it's not a comfortable boat to paddle long distance, hell my bum hurt, and Duncan had made some adjustments to his seat because he had so much trouble club night paddling the boat.

We had a good race both very happy with the time we did, I was calling out instructions to Duncan showing him where the faster water was, couple of times we hit 18km/h, I had a couple of scary moments, one was at the bridge where the 16km start is, it's on a bend and all the starters were on the water so you had to go wide but Duncan decided to cut inside, and we were heading straight for a pillar I was shouting get to the middle of the pillars I knew the eddies and current that were there could push us into the pillar thank god we just scraped by. The girls were on the bridge and all they could hear was me shouting, sorry Duncan. The other scary bit was the finish - the organisers said don't cut the last corner because there would be swimmers in the water. Well there were, and yes we cut the corner dodging heads (might have been a high score if it was a whackamole game!).

Again a great weekend and so happy we made the trip. .


Bonus Round 1, Batemans Bay Paddle Challenge - Saturday 1 Feb

Race Report by Naomi Johnson

After its inclusion in the 2019 Marathon Series, the Batemans Bay Paddle Challenge was back on the calendar as a Bonus Round in 2020. The race committee confirmed that all would proceed as a planned despite the area being hit by catastrophic bushfires only a month beforehand, and invited out-of-towners to come with empty eskies and a view to staying the weekend in support of the local community. It was really great to see the marathon community getting behind this request, with over 100 boats registered across the 6, 13 and 26km distances.


Above: View of the Batemans Bay Bridge on the Friday evening.

Then as we neared the weekend the thermometer began to creep up, with a forecast for 40 degrees down at Batemans Bay on race day. With solid communication from the race committee and Bob Turner on behalf of PNSW Marathon, the decision was made to start the race at 10am, two hours ahead of the original 12pm. As an additional safety measure, the race course was also shortened, pulling an out-and-back style race back to laps of a 6km course. There were still three race distances on offer, but the long course of 26kms was reduced to 18kms (three laps) in the hope that paddlers wouldn’t be out on the water too long after midday.

The road down was an eye-opener, whether one went via Berry and the coast or inland. Burnt trees and paint-stripped road signs, along with great swarths of the countryside totally blackened while neighbouring areas remained untouched were shocking reminders of the reality of recent bushfires.

By the time we rolled into the Big 4 Holiday Park at Batemans Bay at about 9am it was already hot, the sort of hot where one does begin to wonder whether intense exercise for a few hours is necessarily a good idea. But paddlers are a hardy lot, and though there were more than the usual numbers of DNSs and DNFs, most seemed resolved to have the best crack possible given the circumstances (and hopefully within the realms of common sense). With a briefing strongly focused on safety, all headed for the water keenly aware of the importance to keep an eye out for each other, and to steer well clear of any houseboats!


Above: Great vantage point atop the bridge for a view of the 18km start.

Many took a pre-race dip on the way in, and 10am saw all 18km paddlers lined up for a big mass start. It wasn’t feeling too bumpy yet, and those (including the race report writer) who had spent the week umming and ahhing about which craft to bring down were generally feeling like they’d made the right choice. We headed off quickly upstream with a strong incoming tide, Frazer kindly capturing the rush of starting energy on camera from his vantage point atop the Batemans Bay bridge. The 12km and 6km starts followed at 10:15 and 10:30am respectively, with all settling into a rhythm that they hoped would achieve a balance between avoiding over-exertion and getting around the course as quickly as possible.

Most of the LCRK contingent opted for the full 18km distance (when trekking all the way down to Batemans…) but those that opted for a shorter distance ended up doing rather well for it. Ian Wrenford made a last-minute switch to the 6km distance, pretty sure that he couldn’t handle 12kms in the heat. Clearly keen to resume camera duties as quickly as possible, he dashed around the course chop and all to post the second-fastest 6km time, and the fastest for a 50+ Male over the distance. Upon crossing the finish line, Ian demonstrated some paddle-duathalon inspiration, running sand sprints back and forth to his cabin in order to empty out a rather unruly memory card on his camera. “I think I expended more effort getting the card swapped than my 6km race!” he confessed, though still managed to snap most finishing 12 and 18km paddlers from his trademark half-submerged position. Also over the 6km distance, Lachie Wrenford finished 7th overall, kindly helping many LCRK paddlers with their boats at the end of the race.


Above: Bridge view of Adrian

Above: Paul crossing the finish line with a smile

Over 12kms, Tim McNamara was the sole LCRK starter, deciding against his trademark broad-brimmed hat in case it might blow off in the wind. He opted instead for a LCRK cap, which promptly blew off at the start line and sank before he had a chance to retrieve it. Despite paddling bare-headed (how’s the sunburn?), Tim finished 5th overall the 12km distance, and was the fastest 65+ Male over the line.

Once paddlers were past the bridge, the race course headed right up the centre of the river, hung a left and then kept going in a more-or-less straight line up to the top turn. More-or-less was the key word here, with a fair amount of chop and some funny little gusts of wind forcing lighter and less-confident boats to zig-zag gently along the way. At least the GPS speed looked good in the process! There were more than a few jellyfish riding the incoming tide, and by 11am it was often a task to place one’s paddle in the water without hitting one. Round the top turn, and then the force of the incoming tide was really clear. GPS showed speeds that one might equate with a slow stretch on the Hawkesbury, and the chop if anything seemed less predictable. The final challenge of the course was of course the bottom turn, which was just past the start line if one was travelling downstream from the bridge. Here, the chop didn’t arrange itself into predictable waves headed in a single direction, but rather went for a cross-hatching effect clearly designed to throw as many as possible right out of their craft. Add in a few passing boats (speed boats, SES boats, the odd oyster barge) and the experience was somewhat akin to being in a washing machine.


Above: Jeff and Tom: Yes, a K1 was possible!

Above: Trevor exits quickly for a swim

Lane Cove managed almost a quarter of overall entries for the Batemans Bay Paddle Challenge, and with few in the mix over the shorter distances it really did seem like half the 18km field was a LCRK paddler or timetrial regular. In the RSG (Rather Senior Gents) 65+ Male category, four out of seven singles were sporting LCRK colours, along with Paul van Koesveld and Phil Geddes in the double ski. Birthday boy Jeff Hosnell paddled his K1 round to a fab 2nd in the class, closely followed by Tom Simmat (3rd) in his ski. Jeff took about three seconds after crossing the finish line to flip his K1 over and have a swim, with rumours that he might have had another one entirely unfounded (Jeff reported mastery of "survival strokes"). Paul and Phil unfortunately had to call it a day after lap one due to the heat, while Duncan Johnstone and Adrian Clayton were making solid ground but were pulled off on their final lap due to (apparently) concerns over them being out on the water for so long as the temperature rose. Epic effort guys, and may the heat be a bit less overwhelming by the next race!

In the NSSG (Not So Senior Gents) 50+ Male category, Darren Williams, Wade Rowston and Paul Burgess all decided that a ski was the way to tackle Batemans Bay. They finished in 7th, 8th and 9th respectively, but with some of the bigger finish-line smiles of the event. Daniela Torre was the only 50+ Female paddler, posting a fab 13th overall in the 18km field despite recent European trips rather curtailing training. One of only two Open Female paddlers over the distance, Naomi Johnson crossed the line about 10 secs behind.

Of the 13 Open Male entries, LCRK paddles and friends made up a solid six in the field. Brett Greenwood and James Harrington shook off the rest of an early wash pack to cross the line in 1st and 2nd respectively, while Kieran Babich posted a very solid 6th after stopping to help a paddler who fell in. Trevor Nichols (7th) looked relieved to be in a ski, and seemed to gain ground every time we were heading downstream against the incoming tide. Gareth Stokes (8th) came prepared with two boat options, decided on his K1 and then managed to miss the start entirely while standing on the beach. Rodrigo Matamala also got his K1 round the course swim-free to finish 9th.


Above: Paddlers and volunteers alike taking a refreshing dip in the Clyde River.

The highlight of the day was without a doubt the post-race swim, with paddlers exiting their boats in record time after crossing the finish line for a cool off!

It was great to see so many LCRK paddlers making their way down to Batemans, both in terms of supporting the event and the broader local community, and (hopefully) as a prelude to the 2020 Marathon Series. With Canberra currently postponed due to lack of water in the river, the next race on the series calendar is State Singles at Windsor on Saturday March 21st. For those who are up for another long drive, the Frank Harrison Race down at Albury on Saturday 22nd (singles) and Sunday 23rd February (doubles) is well worth looking into.


Above: Results for LCRK Members and regular TTers

Paddle Australia Canoe Marathon Nationals, Geelong, Vic 16-19 April 2020

Event CANCELLED due to Covid-19 concerns - see link above to Paddle Australia announcement.

The info below has been copied from the entry info as at 20 Jan 2020. Check out the PDF for plenty more detail: Welcome to the 2020 Paddle Australia Canoe Marathon Championships.

This registration system will be utilised for entry to both the Short and Long Course Championships.

Event Shirts, post event function tickets, and other merchandise will be available for purchase through a seperate link, which will be opened in coming weeks.

''Note that ALL paddlers must complete a registration for each event that they wish to enter. For the avoidance of doubt, this means that BOTH paddlers in a doubles craft must complete individual registrations.''

''For Masters competition, initial registrations will be in 10 year age groups. If sufficient entries are received, and both 5 year sub-brackets can be constituted, classes will be restructured and raced accordingly.''

For 2020, the PAMC will recognize both U21 and U23 age groups for ICF-selection class singles events (assuming there are sufficient numbers to constitute classes in both age groups). We shall also recognize an U23 age group for ICF-selection class doubles events.

Please note, however, that Selection to the Australian Team to compete in Norway will be consistent with ICF age categories (i.e. U21 and U23 singles paddlers will be eligible for U23 team selection; U23 and Open doubles paddlers will be eligible for Open team selection) subject to the performance requirements stated in the PA Marathon selection policy.