2022 Ultra Marathon Series

9 Oct - CCCC 30km (Central Coast Paddlers)

2022 CCCC 30km Marathon – Sun 9 Oct. Start/finish at Lions Park Wyong. 30km, handicapped starts from 8:00, 19km from 9:17am - estimated finish time 11:30am. Entry Fees: Visitors - $10. Members - $5. Pay on day. Morning Tea and coffee supplied. Entries, with elapsed time estimate, craft, craft colour, to centralcoastpaddlers@gmail.com by 2 Oct.

17 Sep - Myall Classic (LCRK)

Above: Results for LCRKers and regular TTers]]

Tony Hystek
Way back in 2002 or thereabouts, Mike and Shirley Eggleton, local residents of the region, came up with the idea of running a paddling race up the Myall River to raise funds for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, which they had recently become personally acquainted with. The event was a success; entry fees covered running costs (which were fairly minimal at the time) and substantial proceeds went to the charity. The Eggletons, together with Murray and Liz van Reece through their club ‘Just Paddlers’ kept the annual event going till 2013, when they announced they were no longer able to continue.

I had paddled the race on several occasions, including the truncated 2009 event when the 47km race was turned just before Brasswater due to high winds. It was always a magical experience, journeying through the unspoilt Myall Lakes National Park up to the lake and back, though in the early days the course was not marked with navigation aids.

I couldn’t bear to see the event die, so in 2014 as a board member of PaddleNSW, I proposed that PNSW could run it, at first to continue the support of the charity, and subsequently to raise funds for PadddleNSW itself. With Anjie Lees help, we constructed a new website, revised the race plan to include multiple starts and minimum progress requirements, and Bob Turner provided great support in looking after the registration and timing side of things. The 2014 event started a successful 6-year run under PNSW organisation.

A couple of years of Covid interruptions and my resignation from the PNSW board resulted in PNSW losing interest in running the event under their umbrella. With an event too good to let die, I managed to convince the LCRK committee to support a trial run of the event in 2022. This meant almost starting from scratch again, but it has allowed us to create an event that can be handed over to a new custodian should the need arise, with little difficulty.

I thank the LCRK committee for placing their trust in me to pull this race together, and for the fabulous support of the club, especially Ian Wrenford, who did an enormous amount of work behind the scenes to keep things on track and helping with decision-making.

On the Monday before the race, the high winds predicted had us working for two days non-stop formulating plans for a revised finish at Myall River Camp, and shuttle bussing competitors back to Tea Gardens; we’d even hired the bus. Thank goodness the forecast improved for the day of the race.

With the 2022 event successfully behind us, we look forward to improving the event where we can and engaging not only more LCRK paddlers in the organisation, but the local community too.

With 250 entrants in years past, and 175 this year, there remains a huge opportunity to grow the race back to its former glory.

Cassie O'Connor & Stephen Shelley
27km of YouTube

Cassie and Stephen have provided a race report by means of their onboard GoPro's. An excellent adventure!

Pete Avery

I signed up for the 47km Myall as my first surf ski race with only 7 weeks to train for it.

At the race start I stayed with the fastest double but after about 5-10mins I needed to drop back a little. John and Chris were right there and we formed up a nice team and were quickly joined by doctor Chris. The next few kms were really great, sharing the lead, wash riding, paddling at a good clip and enjoying the beautiful Myall.

Then I started to struggle as we hit the outgoing tide and I began getting cramps. A quick stretch out of the V12 ski at 13km then the next section went relatively well with flat glassy sections and light winds. I had a stretch at halfway and started to feel good again for the next 7km, enjoying the outgoing tide. I hit the incoming tide wall feeling knackered and nauseous. Another stretch stop and the slow slog home began with more cramps, stops and a vomit.

With 3km to go I fell in in gusty side winds and difficult chop. I re-mounted the ski 4 times only to roll over again. Thankfully Ian was in an IRB and helped me to re-mount the ski after climbing onboard the IRB. I fell in again 2 mins later and walked the next 300m in chest deep water until I reached the tree line. Back on my ski then a gust of wind blew me over 1km from the end. I managed to eventually remount and paddled slowly across the finish line.

Mission accomplished in 5h38m. It wasn’t pretty though. A huge thanks to the LCRK crew who helped me on the training journey and for hosting a very well organised race.


Esther Wheeler
Here is my report of my first Myall! And looking forward to next year and helping out.

The Myall was my first proper K1 race. I was pretty sure I'd be really slow so signed up for 12km. With so many other craft on the start line and some wind coming up I decided the best thing was to be at the front to try and get going without issues from the wash of others. I got a cracking start and somehow, just, avoiding hitting other kayaks as I struggled to steer a straight line. Settled nicely into my groove and found a surfski to draft. Crossing the first, more open section was a little concerning with side winds and waves so I focussed on drafting and steering well and forgot about the wind. I then jumped across to draft a faster OC2 and from practicing in TT's with Geoff I was easily able to stay with them.

Unfortunately, another K1 paddler jumped in-between a bit later as we rounded a buoy to take the left-hand corner. I say unfortunately as this paddler didn't realise that the OC2 paddle change impacts boat speed so he kept hitting their canoe and rightly, they asked him to back off. I couldn't make the jump back to them so pootled along on my own for a while until after the 6km turn when a surfski and K1 train passed me and I hopped aboard.

It was a really friendly section of the race with people encouraging each other. It was really nice to see everyone being so supportive of those slower who were still working hard. The wind had died down, I was really enjoying myself. This was the most beautiful section to paddle as for the first part I'd been too focussed on drafting to see the scenery. My hip flexors weren't giving me any pain and I felt I had a nice, relaxed stroke while still working as hard as I could. My HR strap afterwards told me I was red-lining it a fair bit but I am pretty sure it needs a battery change as I worked hard, but I just didn't have the top end cardio available to push.

The last stretch was great fun but I was struggling to stay drafting the two guys in front and my steering was getting a bit more like slalom as I got more and more tired. I was comfortable enough to run on the waves so that was a bit of fun. I thought it wouldn't be right to just come into the finish drafting the whole time so I moved off and tried to power to the line. No technique and all arms but I finish feeling like I'd had a great race. Only to be topped off by my legs giving way when I got out and I face-planted into the Myall in front of the crowd... oh well, cooled me off nicely!

I really enjoyed the whole race and it's such a fantastic vibe to race alongside so many awesome people from Lane Cove. A huge thank you to Richard A who picked my K1 up from the club and drove it up and back for me. Couldn't have had so much fun without you Rich!


Ian Wrenford
My involvement in the 2022 Myall was a combo of Safety Boat, and Photography – with a fair bit of involvement behind the scenes supporting Tony Hystek leading up to the day. This was my 4th Myall (never paddled, always Safety Boat).

It was an early start 6:15am on site. We’d planned ahead and launched the IRB the night before – which sped up the launching of the rather important start/finish buoy. Then it was running round collecting lunches, water, boat crew (thanks Crystal Ko!) and safety boat briefing. Then onto the water to be a) clear of the 8am start and b) in position to get some pix of the 8am start 2.5km upstream.

Conditions were idyllic for the entire morning – for photography anyway. The water was mirror like, wind almost non-existent although the current could still be observed going OUT even at 9:30am (after a 7am low tide at Tea Gardens). And then the water was pretty much doing nothing for another hour or two.

After the 47, 27, and 12km starts had all passed us (a little after midday), the first of the 27km finishers started coming back (we were positioned about 4km from the finish) – which was the signal to reposition to the Broadwater to cover for wind induced rescues

Much to everyone’s relief, the ominous forecast (ie wind) leading up to the day really didn’t eventuate – apart from about a 1/2 hour period at 1pm where the wind (and waves) picked up in the open Broadwater section on approach to the finish. Only the one capsize was noted (by me) in these conditions – although there was a 20 minutes break in camera coverage to provide support for the capsize (sorry folks who missed out on a ‘return’ photo!).

We followed the last boat back in, picked up the finish buoy, and no sooner were we ashore than it was straight into the presentations. Darren Forbes (Biripi man, and Newy Paddler) provided a thought provoking Acknowledgement of Country – followed by paddling trophies and awards.

20 August - CCCC 30km Marathon (CCP)

Central Coast Paddlers informally ran this event as part of their normal Sunday Club paddle and kindly extended an invite to other Clubs to participate. LCRKers Duncan Johnstone, Don Johnstone, Chris Johnson, Naomi Johnson (no, none are related despite what CCP might have thought) took part. Below is the results report from CCP:

Hi Members and Friends,
We were pleased to welcome Members of Lane Cove River Kayakers and Brisbane Water Paddlers today - and the conditions were excellent!

In the handicapped 30km, Geoff Dawes & Alby Cobb were first home. MIck Carroll and Murray Dell, BWP, were fastest - for the Van Stappen Trophy.

Don Johnstone, LCRK, was the Fastest Male Paddler in a single craft - Naomi Johnson, LCRK, was the Fastest Female Paddler in a single craft (and fastest outright single!), for the Handicapper's Trophy.

LCRK President, Duncan Johnstone, won the combined 7.64 & 11.35km. Rob McPherson, CCP, 2nd, had the fastest time, and Visitor, Allan Newhouse was third - a PB by one second!

Lucky Prizes went to Duncan, Geoff and Alby - First, and Rob, Mick and Murray - Fastest.

Thanks to the Helpers - Margaret and Rob - with Special Mention to Max and John for "putting out" and "retrieving" the buoys.

Above: the J Team!

11-13 June - Riverland Paddling Marathon (RPM)

Summary of LCRK results - the first 4 results below were category winners for the race.
1. Naomi Johnson 17:11:09 minutes / will be the new fastest womens time for the course also fastest individual paddler in the race.
2. Chris Johnson 17:44:25 minutes
3. Cheezels keg, Ghengis, Rich Duncan 15:51:11 - just outside a record(?)
4. Wade + Tony 16:38:23 minutes think this might also be a record
5. Anjie + Dave 21:16:11 minutes a fantastic effort they saw more wind and scenery.
6. Tom S - withdrew on Day 2 in the cold/windy conditions – but made it to dinner!

Individual race reports follow in PDF format.

Naomi Johnson Report

An extract below to whet the appetite:

...This time when the lock opened and the buzzer went to restart the race, I was first out the gates. I was feeling great and up for the thrill of chasing the record, aiming to get out in front of the main pack and then jump every wash that came past. The Cheezel Crew dashed away into the flow with Tony hot on their tail, and I managed to join up with Andy and Lisa Singleton whose wash had thus far eluded me. Tuck in behind, long strokes, good rotation; I was determined to stay on for as long as I could. 7kms goes by quickly at 13kph, but ultimately the ‘Singos’ were just a bit too fast for the long-haul and I was on my own, still trying to push at 20km marathon pace! Thankfully it wasn’t for long, with my favourite double Richard and Mary catching me at 35kms to go. They knew my goal and were up for working together, ploughing towards the finish at a speed where I could just, barely hang on. Past the winery checkpoint, quick stop for food, then hurtling towards 20kms to go and the long straight towards a final checkpoint. I was really pushing the envelope of what I thought should be possible for this distance, willing myself to hang on for a kilometre, then another one, and another.

Chris Johnson Report

An extract below to whet the appetite:

...Getting the Horizon Rocket set up on the morning Tony + I managed to dislodge the race number which fell in water – Tony scooted over to race officials grabbed a replacement number installed – this meant I started a minute or so behind my wave. So paddled off a little stressed & was working out how much energy to spend on the 20 km to Overland Corner I decided to go out pretty hard / It was a fast paddle to the Lock at Overland (speeds touching 14.4 km, mostly sitting on 13 km).

Whilst not pushing heart rate into crazy zones - I passed all other paddlers arrived first at the Lock & had no clue where to stop paddling, I paddled to the rescue boat who did not know and then paddled over to the bank near the Lock opening – a chap who had literally just arrived behind a large gum tree said I could stop paddling. Genghis helped me out & Wade was there with all the jackets & gear (great team). Not that I am competitive but I did keep my Garmin running & Naomi finished that section in a similar time / same as Tony.

A highlight on the way to the lock was passing Tom S, at the same time a snake swum under his ski & then my kayak – it’s great to say hi to the other paddlers on the river....

Team Pablo - Rich, Keg, Ghengis, Duncan Report

An extract below to whet the appetite:

The race starts in Berri which is about a 45 minute drive from Lowbank. That means a 4:30 wake up, breakfast and dark drive through kangaroo country to Martins Bend. There the various boats are kitted out, scrutineered, admired and eventually launched.

Boats are launched in waves to try and have all vessels arrive at the next checkpoint (the lock) at the same time to minimise waiting in cold wet gear. The bird life in this part of the country is simply spectacular. Boats are launched in waves to try and have all vessels arrive at the next checkpoint (the lock) at the same time to minimise waiting in cold wet gear. The bird life in this part of the country is simply spectacular. Pelicans are the boss bird around here but the foreman would be the Kites that patrol the river swooping spectacularly down on unsuspecting fish or small children.

One pair of kites had a disagreement about the ownership of a fish they had caught, this fish ended up being dropped in their argument on top of an unsuspecting landcrew member at the site. She thought it was the start of the rapture, assaulted by a junior carp while walking to your car, imagine that!

The kites nest in eyries along the river and share the skies with corellas, cockatoos, cormorants, pelican and eagles. It is a bird nerd’s paradise.

Pablo’s day 1 Pairings were Keg and Genghis, Sir Duncan and Rich. With Keg and Genghis starting the first 12km leg. An easy morning Time trial. Sir Duncan and I hopped in for the first lock. This is my 5th RPM and the drop in the river at the lock is usually around 3m. This year the drop was only about a metre so that gives you some idea of the water in the river.....

Wade Rowston & Tony Hystek Report

An extract below to whet the appetite:

Our reward (more like punishment) for a great first day was to be placed on the last start time with 3 doubles. Team Pablo, Richard and Mary, and the Singos. Fortunately we had decided early on that Tony would start the day and paddle the 20km leg to the lock. Showing no fatigue from the previous day he stayed with the Singos for the full distance to the lock.

I took the next leg of 23km. I was happy with my exit from the lock, given it was only the second time I had done it (last year I only did it once). Unfortunately, I just missed a wash ride on a double (Naomi did well and stayed with Richard and Mary then then a ski paddler from SA). I had a gruelling leg on my own with lots of really tough long sections into a strong breeze. Chris passed me early on and was looking strong but I managed to sneak ahead in one of the windy sections. By the changeover Namoi was about 300 metres ahead.

Tony took over for the third 14km leg and he said it took him ages to catch up. Another really strong paddle in difficult conditions. By the changeover he was about 50m ahead of Naomi. I cruised until Naomi had caught up and had some sustenance then we powered through the 12km leg together with more windy sections to the finish.

The strong headwind sections were the talk of the day and a number of paddlers had to pull out including Tom Simmat who was tipped in by the wind and was headed down the hypothermia path when he was picked up by the safety boat.

Dave Hammond & Anjie Leys "The Sweeps" Report

An extract below to whet the appetite:

...Day 2 was more about survival than racing and although we were faster than last year we paid the price when the clock stopped. We raced well on day 3, even better when we realised CPB was at 15km not 31km. That cost me a few hours sleep on Sunday night. But none of the hard core paddlers stopped so it was depressing watching the field paddle past, well until we had another sip of Clays chicken soup.

The Riverland is a beautiful place to paddle. The locks each day provide a well earned break with no time penalty, well that’s until you try and exit the lock, time can catch up real quick if you don’t paddle hard through the chop. The cliffs towering over the river are beautiful and at time feel endless. You don’t always get to appreciate the scenery when you are racing for “sheep stations” but down the back of the pack “The Sweeps” had that bit of extra time to soak it all in....

Yukon River Quest 22-25 June 2022

Above: Esther at the finish (Photo: Yvonne)

Above: Esther - 1st Solo Womens C1 (and a new record)

Above: Esther - 2nd outright - Solo C1