Paddlers in good shape for international debut

But for Port Macquarie’s female outrigger paddlers, this gruelling training schedule will ensure there are no regrets when they cross the Tasman for their international racing debut.

Ten women from the Port Macquarie Maroro club will travel to New Zealand this week to take on crews from throughout the Pacific region at the legendary Takapuna Cup.

Seasoned paddlers Fiona Baker, Kim Roberts, Karan Bland, Sue Blackmore, Karen Newman, Kerry Owens, Chayanne Harihi and Lyn Lovering are being joined by club newcomers Cheryl Pavey and Cathy Cavanagh in the club’s first ever team to contest an international women’s “changes” race.

The format will require the girls to regularly change in and out of a moving six-seat canoe across a 42-kilometre ocean course, which is expected to take four hours to complete.

Port Macquarie outrigger coach Wes Byrnes is full of praise for the commitment, team work and camaraderie shown by the team in the lead up to the race.

“These girls have just kept turning up for each other, paddling an average of 60 kilometres per week for the past 12 weeks, and they couldn’t be in better shape for the regatta,” Byrnes said.

Byrnes said his charges had been mixing technical and endurance training in preparation for the event.

“This crew surprised its rivals with a gold medal at Wollongong in the first race of the season and they’ve been training up to six days a week ever since with a single focus on Takapuna,” he said.

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