Pain awaits Yeppoon crew at gruelling NSW surf boat marathon

OVER the Queen's Birthday long weekend, the Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club surf boat crew completed a three-day race scenario to Great Keppel Island, as part of their training for the George Bass Surf Boat Marathon on the south coast of NSW in January.

The marathon is the world's longest and toughest surf boat race. Held bi-annually, it attracts crews from all over the world and is a gruelling seven-day event over more than 200km, starting at Bateman's Bay on January 3 and finishing at Eden on January 9.

The crew - Ben Carroll, Richard Newton, Gary Wilkins, Max Bennett (captain), Mark Murray, Kiernan Gettinby and Chris Beaufort - left Yeppoon Main Beach for Great Keppel Island on Saturday.

It was a 20km row into a stiff southerly, completing the crossing in 2 hours, 30 minutes. Day two was a gruelling 28km row around the island in high seas and strong winds, giving them a feel of what they can expect in the George Bass marathon. Day three saw the crew row back from GKI with a solid south-easterly behind them, reducing the trip to 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Captain Bennett said it was a good warm-up for the marathon and gave the crew a realistic feel of marathon conditions.

"The training gave us a taste of what lies ahead," Bennett said.

"Rowing long distances with blisters and learning skills such as moving changeovers in tricky conditions, not to mention the mental challenges involved with long distance rowing."

The Yeppoon surf boat would like to invite the community to follow their journey to the George Bass Marathon at www.yeppoonboaties.wordprress.com. They are also seeking a major sponsor. Please email yeppoonboaties@outlook.com



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