PADDLES UP: Rocky Outrigger Canoe Club president Andrew Crozier training on the Fitzroy River.
PADDLES UP: Rocky Outrigger Canoe Club president Andrew Crozier training on the Fitzroy River. Matti Brooks Rokmcanoe

Paddling all over the countryside

GIVEN the majesty of the mighty Fitzroy River it is no surprise it is home to a number of water sports in Rockhampton, most notably rowing.

But you might be surprised that the Rocky Outrigger Canoe Club, which also calls the river home, will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.

Founded by life members Mick and Kathy Barsby, the club's numbers are down. In it's heyday in the 90s the club boasted around 30 members. Today that has fallen to 12. And incoming club president Andrew Crozier is on a recruitment drive.

Because the more members, the more inter-state and international regattas club members can attend.

The club is unique, in that it would have to be one of only a handful in the country that train on still water to race in the surf. A real case of from the bush to the beach.

"Getting out on the water is just magic," Crozier said.

"We train on the Fitzroy and of an evening as the sun sets and the birds are out, well it is just magic. The tranquillity is amazing. It's just great fun and so good for fitness.

"And we also train on the ocean. We paddle from Emu Park to Yeppoon every Sunday morning in preparation for the local Queensland regattas."

Those regattas include the local version on the Capricorn Coast and the club then travels to races at Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Mackay.

It is an all year round pursuit. In winter the club utilises six-man canoes, two-man canoes and single canoes. Come summer, it is only the single canoes.

"We have all the boats and all the gear here and we also offer newcomers six weeks free training to see if they like it."

Crozier is confident they will.

"The more members we get the more regattas we can compete at," Crozier said.

"There are some big regattas around Australia and some even bigger races overseas. The biggest is the Molokai in Hawaii, the birthplace of outrigging. Rocky sent a six-man crew in the 90s. It would be great if we could get back there soon."

For more information, find the club on Facebook or call Andrew on 0438 968 885.



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