About Outrigger Canoeing
- Parent Category: ROOT
- Written by Albert Au
Picture 6 paddlers fying through the waves in an offshore endurance race... this is outrigger canoeing.
Outrigger canoe paddling is widely regarded as one of the oldest forms of transport having it's origins in the Pacific Rim more than 30,000 years ago. Canoes played an integral role in the development and expansion of island culture. It was many thousands of years before outrigger canoe racing became a competitive sport and maritime advancement and saw the canoe evolve to the sleek racing boats of today. The first canoe race was held in the Hawaiian Island in 1917.
Outrigging is a relatively young sport in Australia with the first club being formed on the Gold Coast in 1978. The fitness, social and teamwork aspects have resulted in the sport enjoying rapid growth in recent years. The number of clubs in Australia has grown from 11 in 1991 to 88 at present; 23 of those we race in NSW regattas.
Races are predominantly endurance in nature, with distances ranging from 4 to 42 kilometres in harbour and open water conditions. Divisions include juniors, right through to senior master men and women and are based on different levels of competitiveness and participation.
One of the big highlights of the Australian outrigger calendar is the Hamilton Island Cup attracting top teams every year from around Australia and the world.