Paddle organisers 'overwhelmed'
It was chaos down by the river at Heritage Park early last Sunday morning – although mostly good-natured chaos – as the gorgeous weather after a bleak day of rain called people out in droves for the inaugural Mullum to Bruns Paddle Challenge.
“We were thinking 100 people, maybe 140,” said organising committee member Kim Rosen, “but over 400 turned up. We were overwhelmed.”
The ‘over 400’ people arrived in family groups or in singles, with every type of craft from ‘Wind-in-the-Willows’ rowboats to slick kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, canoes and surf skis strapped on to vehicles which then had to back into the narrow boat ramp access to unload, with residents from nearby houses looking on in amazement at the ‘invasion.’
First over the line at Brunswick Heads was Kurt Tutt, who did the trip in 45 minutes, although it was a close call, with the next three or four contenders just seven seconds behind.
First woman over the line was stand-up paddler Simone Horsefield, with a special award going to Kim Amos, who paddled the entire course with her nine-year-old on board.
Prizes also went to creatively decorated crafts, with a special award going to Giles Taylor for the most creative collage of plastic bottles and other debris collected along the way.
Marine Rescue handed out water along the way and offered a tow to anyone looking tired, but the day was drama-free, with all dogs along for the ride that fell off managing to clamber back on board.
Once everyone arrived at Terrace Park there was boat-minding at the Scout Hall to allow tired paddlers and rowers to enjoy a barbecue and chill out to the music or try out a free stand-up paddle lesson.
“It will definitely be an annual event,” said Kim, “and people are already talking about next year.
“A lot of people came up and said thank you, that they had had a lovely day – unsolicited thanks is always nice.”
The final count is not quite in, but Kim thinks that the fundraising total, to be shared amongst the three organisers, Marine Rescue, Brunswick Surf Life Saving Club and the Brunswick Visitor Centre, will be close to $10,000.
Kim acknowledged the enormous support from local business people, who put in the costs of $3700, as well as gifts in-kind that allowed all the monies from registration, raffles and refreshments to go the beneficiaries.