The Woronora River will be a sea of colour and movement on Election Day, when around 200 paddlers take to the water for the third round of Paddle NSW’s 2019 Marathon Series.
Hosted by the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club, the event is being run on Saturday, March 23, out of Burnum Burnum Reserve. Competitors are coming from the local region as well as the South Coast, Canberra and Newcastle, and from clubs across Sydney.
The long marathon distance is 20km, or two laps of the 10km course that starts near the Bonnet Bay boat ramp and runs to a turn five kilometres upstream, just short of ‘the Needles’.
There is also a 5km loop and paddlers who don’t want to tackle 20km have the option of racing over their choice of 15km, 10km or 5km.
Competitors will be tackling the event in a range of craft including kayaks, canoes, surf skis, outriggers and stand-up paddleboards. Every age and ability is expected to be taking part, from SSCC ‘legend’ Bert Laurendet – a regular gold medal winner at national level – who is 86, through to some young paddlers just starting in the sport.
For the last three years the Woronora race has been the biggest event on the NSW paddling calendar, but that means parking is difficult at the reserve. Local residents wanting to launch their own boats would be better to do so from Bonnet Bay.
The river is open to all traffic but there will be safety boats on the course ensuring all boat owners observe the regular waterway speed limits during the event.
Club officials will be on duty from first light with paddlers expected to start arriving around 7.30am, with the race briefing at 10am and the first paddlers on the water at 10.45am.
The main event starts at 11am, with the fastest paddlers likely to complete the 20km in around 90 minutes. Locals can expect the area to be busy until mid afternoon.
Spectators are welcome and good viewing of the action is available from the waterfront at Burnum Burnum or the coffee shop/park on the Menai side of the bridge.