Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cateract Extreme Race

TASMANIA - Australia

It appears to be common knowledge that Australia, with the exception of a small amount of water in queensland, is a boaters nightmere, with very little water all year round. this is true, but i think most boaters need to pull out their maps of the world and pay a little attention to the small island down to the south eas. Tasmania, the place where i was born, learnt to kayak and still return to for awsome whitewater between working seasons. yes, it is part of australia and yes it has both whitewater and gradient to boot. although it is still rainfall dependant during winter offers a host of classy creeks and fun intermadiate paddling.

2 years ago, the cateract extreme race was born, in addition to Tasmania's Lea River Extreme Race. Support for the race was withdrawn last year due to lack of support from 'Hydro', Tasmania's governing water body. This year, it returned with a bang, doubling the number of competitors from the last event to a whopping 68 paddlers, with in excess of 3,000 spectators lining the banks for the head to head race on day 2.
Colin threading the needle

The race kicked of with a time trial racing alongside your partner. The winners of that were best placed in the head to head heats to make the final on day 2. My partner, Colin Furmston, and i, raced relitively unscathed for 5th place besides both being "toasted" in the toaster.
Trying un-succesfully to chase down Ben Maynard

The party that night was a typical paddlers piss-up, besides the bouncers, dj and swiming pool. It came with your usual nudie runs, excessive beer consuption and free-style move description break dancing! Colin and i redeaming ourselves slightly being the final people to cross the finish line that night (and also last to arrive at the paddlers breif the next morning!) My trusty solo being a huge hit with the masses in saving the beer brought from home, from the clutches of the evil bouncers, commited to making us buy drinks at the outdoor bar...and take over the world. Apparently our trusty bouncers are not trained for 10 kayakers running into the lake with a kayak full of beer, simply to continue drinking whilst floating. huh...who would have thought?!?!

Adrian lining a hole, slalom rapid sprints

Cateract gorge is a popular run located only 5 mins from the city center in Tasmania's northern capital of Launceston. The South Esk river boasts some amazing class 4- 5ish standard kayaking and during high water Tasmania's best big water run. (hotly debated)
Colin Frumston running the shit, Cateract Gorge @ 17,000cfs

Day 2 saw a huge crowd gather on the walkways carved into the cliff high on rive
r left. Tasmania's very own Dan Hall taking the honours for second year running, with Ben Maynard taking a close second place, spured on im sure, by the thousands of fellow Tasmanians yelling support from the walkway. Who ever heard of that many spectators for a non-olympic event?

check out some tassie boating at
Keen to come and get beaten by the local hero's at the Lea River Extreme Race next year?
check out: say g'day to leigh for me!

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