THE 2018 marathon paddling season opened at the weekend with the fourth running of the “Impossible”.
Paddlers taking part in the surfski, SUP and prone paddle board race from Fishermans Beach Torquay to Barwon Heads via Pt Impossible were greeted with 20 knot WSW winds, which provided a rollicking ride to the Bluff for the experienced paddlers.
A number of inexperienced competitors selfselected themselves out of the race, leaving a field of about 60 paddlers.
In the surfski division, a fast group of four paddlers broke away from the field, hitting speeds of up to 20 kilometres an hour on the green swells two kilometres offshore.
Upon reaching the Bluff at Barwon Heads, paddlers had to round a safety buoy before making their way to the Bridge.
The route to the river entrance was very technical and had to be approached with caution; 7- to 8-foot surf meant most paddlers chose to follow waves in rather than paddle down the face of a wave and risk being swamped.
Some paddlers who came off their craft were helped back on board by the rescue boat teams.
Torquay’s Ivor Morgan eventually pulled away from the lead pack and was the first ski to enter the Barwon River for the difficult last 800 metres into an outgoing tide.
Former World marathon kayak champion, Mick Leverett finished second only a minute behind and young gun Nick Lowe third.
The women’s class was taken out by Kristina Meskauskaite from Melbourne in a time of 2hr 18 minutes. The SUPs who handled the conditions best were Wes Green, Danny LeClerc and Chris Clarke. For more information visit the website at swracemanagement.com.