Bongil Bash Report 2016 by Christine Berridge

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The second race of the NMS for 2016 was held at Bongil Bongil National Park, just south of Coffs Harbour, on Sunday 10th April 2016.

The night before the big race was drizzly as the intrepid paddlers met at Sawtell RSL Club for a hearty meal and social discourse on how to paddle in the rain.

The next morning dawned overcast but by race time the sun was shining and the day was great! 72 paddlers in 64 craft( 56 singles and 8 doubles) took to the water in three race distances – 6kms, 9kms and 18kms. The paddlers ranged in age from 10 year olds to 79 year old youngsters.

The highlights included:

1/ Paddling on Bonville Creek through the beautiful scenery of Bongil Bongil National Park with its abundance of bird and fish life. “

2/ The great BBQ food courtesy of the local Lions Club.

3/ The SUP paddler enjoyed the paddling view so much he missed the 9km turn and ended up recording a time for 12kms – and still finished with a smile on his face!

4/ The four juniors doing the 6km course were “shepherded” around the course by Bob B who jokingly told them at the start that they were there to rescue him. Well, this prospect spurred three juniors to take off at a great rate of knots and left Bob behind.

5/ One paddler capsized within two feet of the finish line. All the spectators urged the paddler to swim his boat over the finish line and record an official time. When this was achieved, the bank of spectators erupted into loud cheers.

Everyone had a great time and we all look forward to paddling the Bongil Bash again next year.

Great Paddling