by Jo Searle
FABULOUS Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud, recently called master athletes together to compete in myriad sports for the 2017 World Masters Games.
This included outrigger canoeing and a small, though intrepid, group from Noosa Outrigger Canoe Club answered the call, making their way across "the Ditch” to participate.
Representing Noosa were Roger and Di Arbuckle, Lyle Woods, Cath McKee, Sandy Kennedy and a small band of supporters.
While much could be said about the great organising of the event, the indisputable beauty of the host nation and the friendliness of the competitors drawn from all corners of the world, it was the competition that held their focus.
Events contested included V1 (one-person canoe), OC6 (six-person canoes), and V12 (12-person canoes). Noosa represented in each canoe category, over a variety of distances from 500/1000 metre sprints to 20km marathons.
The marathon course was contested off beautiful Takapuna Beach, just north of Auckland.
With events too numerous to mention in detail, suffice to say Noosa representatives did themselves and their club proud.
Roger won six gold and two silver medals; Di three gold, three silver and one bronze; Sandy three gold and three silver; and Lyle one silver.
Cath contributed greatly to her team in a strongly contested age category and they were unlucky not to gain a podium position.
Well done Noosa.
This weekend these same Noosa paddlers, along with dozens more of their club mates, are heading to Mooloolaba to contest the National Marathon Titles in both short and long course races.
Being held over Saturday and Sunday, the action will take place off the Mooloolaba Spit.
It's sure to be a spectacle, with hundreds of teams from across the country all vying for the championship titles.
If this sounds like a sport you would like to try, please call the Noosa Outrigger Canoe Club coach Des Mabbott on 0420 935 769.