Altman earns quickest time in eighth running of The Impossible Paddle

November 19, 2022 BY

All participants gathered at Fisherman's Beach on Saturday. Photos: MICHAEL CHAMBERS

THE skill of seasoned veteran Tim Altman was enough to claim quickest time on Saturday’s Impossible Ocean Paddle, despite Torquay SLSC champion Matt Gilling taking out the open division crown.

Seventy paddlers, skiers and SUP boarders gathered at Fisherman’s Beach in less-than-ideal conditions for the eighth Impossible Ocean Paddle.

Lead organiser Pete Currie said the race’s condition set the stage for a contest of skill as opposed to fitness, with a southerly wind testing participants’ technical abilites.

The field of 60 skiers await instructions from lead organiser Pete Currie.

“A great day overall, but the southerly wind was largely side-on to the paddlers, particularly the section of the race from Point Impossible to Barwon Heads,” Mr Currie said.

“Where possible, ocean paddling races are run downwind to ensure fast times, meaning competitors on surf skis can reach speeds of 20 kilometres per hour catching the off-shore swells when the wind is behind them.

“But no one controls Mother Nature.”

Mr Currie added there were a few noteworthy inclusions in the 2022 edition of the race.

The Rat Pack from Melbourne Water Rats.

For the first time, the Impossible Ocean Paddle hosted a competitor from England.

Amy Daysh from Devon comfortably won the women’s open ski event, and for the first time a coastal rowing pair were among the ranks as well.

“This is the new Commonwealth Games sport for 2026,” Mr Currie said.

70-year-old Brighton resident Terry Fox prepares to take on The Impossible.

“This sport is so new that there has only been one Australian Championships; this year in Noosa.

“Alex Wilcox and Nick Andreou handled the crosswinds well, finishing tired but elated with their first ocean race on the Surf Coast and indeed in Victoria.”

Belle Property Torquay Real Estate Agent David Sprague took home the win in the SUP category (2:43.26)

In the men’s ski, the open winner was Matt Gilling from the Gold Coast, Queensland, also a frequent lifesaving competitor at Torquay SLSC.

But the fastest overall time on the day within the 60-strong field, went to local veteran champion and often labelled the “Kelly Slater” of ocean ski paddling, Tim Altman.

A committed collection of jet skiers provided the safety for all competitors.

“I knew I didn’t have the outright speed of the young paddlers like Matt, Ant or Cary, but I thought if I could use a bit of local knowledge and skill by skating across the waves, I had a chance,” Altman said post-race.

“I really thought that this might be the last opportunity to win this event, so I gave it everything.”

The race was supervised by safety craft including the Ocean Grove Coast Watch crew and nine jet skis coordinated by Mick De Witt.

Divisional winners included:

Female Open Ski/Kayak: Amy Daysh

Male Open Ski/Kayak: Matt Gilling

Male 40+ ProneBoard: Ian Denness

Male 40-49yrs Ski/Kayak: Kenlea Murray

Male 50-59yrs Ski/Kayak: Tim Altman

Male 60+yrs Ski/Kayak Bill Strachan

Male Open Outrigger Canoe: Cory Avison

Male Open SUP: David Sprague

Male Outrigger Canoe doubles: Norm Lote and Andrew Mauff

Open Coastal Rowing Pair: Nick Andreou and Andrew Wilcox

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