Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club members (from left) Kevin Ohl, Mark Murray, Max Bennett, Richard Newton and Gary Wilkins at a training paddle at Lake Awoonga.
Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club members (from left) Kevin Ohl, Mark Murray, Max Bennett, Richard Newton and Gary Wilkins at a training paddle at Lake Awoonga. contributed

From racing crocs to the mighty Murray

PADDLING: Five members of Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club's men's surf boat crew will tomorrow embark on one of the world's longest paddling races.

Richard Newton, Max Bennett, Gary Wilkins, Mark Murray and Kevin Ohl will take on the Massive Murray Paddle, a five-day event which covers 404km from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill.

It was a hard-luck story for Keenan Gettinby, the sixth crew member who contracted influenza A last week and had to withdraw.

Richard said the six men had been training for six months in preparation for the marathon paddle.

"Mark Murray did it last year and he talked us all into doing it this year,” Richard said.

READ: Mark paddles 404km in just five days

"We didn't need much convincing after we did the George Bass Marathon, a 200km surf boat race in New South Wales, last year.

"It's good to have like-minded people around and we all saw it as another adventure, another one of those things we could tick off the bucket list.

"Max and Kevin have never been on a surf ski before so it was a steep learning curve for them just to get to the start line.”

Mark Murray, Richard Newton, Max Bennett, Kevin Ohl, Keenan Gettinby and, Gary Wilkins trained for six months in preparation for the Mighty Murray Paddle.
Mark Murray, Richard Newton, Max Bennett, Kevin Ohl, Keenan Gettinby and, Gary Wilkins trained for six months in preparation for the Mighty Murray Paddle. CONTRIBUTED

Newton said the training had been an adventure in itself.

"We have had encounters with whales and dolphins whilst paddling to and from North Keppel and other islands throughout the Keppels,” he said.

"On one trip from Thompson's Point to Rockhampton on the Fitzroy River we encountered two very large crocodiles, making it a very quick 32km paddle.”

Richard said each of the men was looking forward to the paddle but appreciated it would be a physical and mental challenge.

"The hardest thing will be getting up each morning and knowing you have to go again. Tuesday will probably be the toughest day for that reason after we've done close to 100km on Monday.

"The first two days are the biggest and then you're on the downhill run.

"We're all excited and keen to give it a good crack.”

The paddle is also designed to raise funds for local community programs and the men have raised more than $6000 for the Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club.

THE GRUELLING SCHEDULE

Monday: Yarrawonga to Tocumwal, 93km

Tuesday: Tocumwal to Picnic Point, 94km

Wednesday: Picnic Point to Echuca, 78km

Thursday: Echuca to Torrumbarry, 62km

Friday: Murrabit to Swan Hill, 77km



Mum fights through depression to shed 51kg

premium_icon Mum fights through depression to shed 51kg

Combat sport drives physical and mental transformation

Police warn of increase in rural fraud, hunters trespassing

Police warn of increase in rural fraud, hunters trespassing

Police say farmers have enough to worry about with drought

Subbies target Turnbull over $15b payment ripoff

premium_icon Subbies target Turnbull over $15b payment ripoff

Why building subbies aim to target marginal seats

Local Partners