Sharks don’t deter winning Outriggers

NO FEAR: Leesa Osborne (left), Tracey Rutter, Greg Jenkins, Ty Graham, Jodie Watkins, Paul Watkins, Scott Osborne, Karelle Johnson, Jon Tucker and Heidi Graham took placed second in the Changes race for Mollymook at the Nobbys Beach Regatta, despite beach closures due to shark sightings.With beaches closed for seven days due to great white shark sightings, 16 Mollymook Outrigger canoe paddlers were pretty nervous when they took to the water in Newcastle on January 17.
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The group took part in a regatta at Nobbys Beach, despite being surrounded by signs reminding people of the dangers.

While many aquatic activities were cancelled, the regatta went ahead as planned to the delight of the Mollymook group that had been training hard for months.

One paddler Jodie Watkins said the fear of sharks ensured “speedy changes” for the team.

Mollymook’s mixed team, made up of Paul Hill, Ali Hill, Angela Richards, Kerri Wild, Greg Sutcliffe and Libby Lamont, took out first place in the first event, the eight kilometre short course race.

Ten Mollymook paddlers also took part in the 33 kilometre changes race which involves six paddlers completing the first leg, then three or four team members float in the water and wait for the canoe before making a switch with other members while the vessel keeps moving.

“This was made all the more nerve wracking by the possible presence of large sharks,” Jodie said.

“The conditions were hot and it was an exhausting race.

“The adrenalin was pumping all the way as Mollymook held second place and overtook to be in first place for much of the race.

“In the end, Mollymook was the second canoe across the line and received hand carved medals that were presented to them by the mayor of Newcastle.”

The team consisted of Leesa Osborne, Tracey Rutter, Greg Jenkins, Ty Graham, Jodie Watkins, Paul Watkins, Scott Osborne, Karelle Johnson, Jon Tucker and Heidi Graham.

Jodie said the regatta was a successful event for Mollymook and lead up for the local event.

Team will come from all over the state when a regatta is held in Ulladulla Harbour on March 7 and 8.

WINNERS: Paul Hill (left), Ali Hill, Angela Richards, Kerri Wild, Greg Sutcliffe and Libby Lamont took out first place in the short course mixed team event.

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