Paddles up for first regatta

A Sunday morning activity has turned into a regatta challenge for 10 keen outriggers from NRL Cowboys House.

The two teams will be racing in single, two-seater and mixed six-seater outriggers for the Townsville Outrigger Canoe Club at the Mission Beach Regatta (Round 6) & Vaka Tua Motu on 14-15 September.

With the support of A. Gabrielli Constructions, this will be the teams’ first competition, after many weeks of training off The Strand in Townsville.

Boys Campus Head of Boarding Stuart Ward first put the call out for volunteers in early 2019 and over the next few weeks various boys came and tried, and then a few girls joined in.

Angie Cooper from Townsville Outrigger Canoe Club trains with the students and says they have come a long way through their dedication and enthusiasm.

“Stuart contacted me to say he had a group of young people from NRL Cowboys House who would like to try outrigging,” Angie said.

“I had heard about the House and we were really keen to support the students and give them a try.

“Fair to say the first week was a bit chaotic but the boys hit the water full of energy and enthusiasm and showed great potential and appeared to enjoy themselves.

“After an hour or so they were keen to jump in the water and have a swim … so out they got and swam back to shore, and this has become a bit of a ritual.

“The teams have been training hard so they can do the distance without stopping and really nail keeping in time with each other and do themselves proud.

“They have also been practising on OC1/2 canoes (single and double seater craft) which require really good balance and have taken to those like a fish to water!

“On one outing, one of the boys noticed some plastic in the water and immediately asked me to reverse and pick it up because of the turtles.

“Later, when we were about to practise our ‘huli’ (flip) drill I asked what the first thing we do when we flip is – the first answer was good, the second perfect … ‘look after each other miss’.

“I hope both teams do well at the regatta but mostly I hope they have fun and realise how well they’ve done in a new, totally different sport.”

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