Competitors conquer a new course for Impossible Race

November 16, 2023 BY

More than 60 competitors braced The Impossible Race on Saturday. Photos: SUPPLIED

WILD weather forced the ninth running of the Impossible Race Ocean Paddle on Saturday to be held on river at Barwon Heads for the first time in its history.

The 18km race usually starts at Fishermans Beach in Torquay and heads to Point Impossible before finishing at the Barwon Heads Bridge, but was altered due to local weather warnings.

Some of the top paddlers heading upstream towards Lake Connewarre.


Despite the inclement weather and strong onshore breeze, more than 60 competitors took part in the alternative course race to Lake Connewarre and back.

In the Open Women’s Surf Ski division, Peri Payne claimed victory in the clean and stable conditions.

Open Women’s winner Peri Payne.


Payne raced out to an early lead amongst the women’s field and didn’t look back to take home the title.

Tim Altman was able to secure back-to-back victories in consecutive years in the Open Men’s division, however crossed the line officially in second place behind Over 40’s competitor Iva Morgan.

Overall winner Iva Morgan in action.


Event organiser Pete Currie said the race, which had no following wind or swell, gave athletes a “decent workout.”

“All our competitors really enjoyed it, particularly those heading to the world championships in Perth from November 30.

“They all found it really valuable racing on a different course, than what we’d usually have on the open sea.

“Most of it was real pack racing, which made it really entertaining.

“Iva, Peri and Tim broke away in their respective divisions towards the end to make an exciting finish.

“We look forward to returning for our tenth edition back on the sea in 2024.”

Paddlers discussing their tactics before heading out for the race.


Other divisional winners included Mich O’Connor (40+ Surf Ski Women), Ben Johnson (50+ Surf Ski Men), Bill Strachan (60+ Surf Ski Men), Robin Va’auli (Outrigger Canoe Open), Alex Brunacci (50+ Outrigger Canoe Open).

For more information, head to swracemanagement.com/the-impossible