NSW Paddlers are set for the upcoming 2021 Woronora Marathon

Starting line: Paddlers quickly get off the mark, fighting for the best position in the Woronora Marathon. Picture: Supplied.
Starting line: Paddlers quickly get off the mark, fighting for the best position in the Woronora Marathon. Picture: Supplied.

The Woronora River will be a sea of speed and colour later this month when around 200 paddlers take to the water for the eighth round of Paddle NSW's 2021 Marathon Series.

The Sutherland Shire Canoe Club (SSCC) is hosting the event at the Burnum Burnum Reserve on Saturday, June 26.

It will draw competitors from across the greater Sydney region and the South Coast, Canberra, and Newcastle.

The main competition will paddle 20kms on a course extending downstream from Bonnet Bay boat ramp to Thompsons Bay and back up the river to Prince Edward Park.

Competitors can also choose to race over shorter distances, with five, 10 and 15km options available.

The event will be contested in a range of crafts, including; kayaks, canoes, surf skis, outriggers and stand-up paddleboards.

Every age and ability is expected to take part, from SSCC 'legend' Bert Laurendet, who has just turned 89-years-old and is a regular gold medal winner at national level, through to some young paddlers just starting in the sport.

The Sutherland Shire Canoe Club had hosted this race on the Woronora since the late 1980s when it was called the 'Twin Rivers Classic'.

The event has grown into one of the biggest races in the annual Paddle NSW marathon series.

While the race is one of the most popular with the state's paddlers and a great way to showcase the Shire, it does mean that parking at Burnum Burnum Reserve is difficult during the event.

Local residents wanting to launch their own boats that day are advised to use the Bonnet Bay boat ramp.

Paddlers out on the water.

Paddlers out on the water.

The river will remain open to all traffic on the day, but safety boats on the course will ensure all boat owners observe waterway speed limits during the event.

Club officials will be on duty from first light, with paddlers expected to start arriving around 7.30-8am, with the first competitors on the water and racing at 9:30am.

The fastest paddlers are likely to complete the 20km course in around 90 minutes.

Locals can expect the area to be busy until early 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.

Event organisers say it is very exciting to see this much-loved event return to the Wonnie this year after COVID-19 put the brakes on so many things in 2020.

Woronora is the last race for a month before competitors round out the series at Narrabeen (July 25) and Swallow Rock (August 14).