Tags: Bribie Island. Canoeing Clubs. Brisbane. Queensland. Outrigger Canoe Club
ON THE WATER
WITH SANDY FIELD AND BRODY WINTON
I think everyone would agree with me when I make the comment that the relationship between a mother and her sixteen-year-old son seldom involves them actively participating in the same sport and, when I met keen outrigger canoeing enthusiasts Sandy Field and her son Brody, I realised that that assessment certainly did not apply to these members of the Bribie Island Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club.
Featured image(above): Sandy and Brody, in the winning team.
Whilst Brody, who has finished school and is keen to find a job in the construction industry, has only taken up the sport at the beginning of the year, Sandy told me that she was a very active paddler when she was in her twenties. ‘I was a competitive paddler when I lived in the Whitsundays and participated in events such as a race that went all the way around Hamilton Island,’ said Sandy.
‘I was actually rated as number two in Australia,’ she said. Sandy explained that having children more or less put her paddling activities on hold and so, when Brody took up BMX racing at the age of five, she was more than ready to become actively involved in a sport again so she took up the same sport as her son.
She pointed out that her daughter Ellie also became a BMX racer. Sandy recalled that in Brody’s early years in BMX, he became very competitive and often finished as a placegetter at the end of a meet. As I had already come to realise that Sandy, who is a fitness instructor and gymnastics coach, has a very competitive nature, it did not come as any surprise when she commented that she had won the BMX North Queensland Titles running. Sandy and her family moved to Bribie Island five years ago from Airlie Beach and, since the move, Sandy has worked at a local gym and also, in 2017, trialled setting up a gymnastics club.
‘It is such a great activity for kids and I keep getting calls asking me if I am going to get a club going again,’ Sandy told me. ‘Last year we held it in the Orchid House but we can’t find anywhere suitable, both in size and cost, to get it up and running. I have a container full of gym gear and nowhere to use it,’ she explained.
Obviously very dedicated to being able to promote the activity to children throughout the community, Sandy said that what she really needs is either a suitable building or a block of land where she could start with a shed and then build up the funds for a proper building. Since becoming involved with the Mahalo Club, both Sandy and Brody have been committed to training and during April, those efforts paid off when they were in the team which took out first place in the OC 6 Regatta at Raby Bay.
Sandy recalled that the race was held over a nine-kilometre course and the water was very rough on the day. ‘We had one canoe capsize almost on top of us and were cut off at one point by two other competitors,’ said Sandy. ‘Brody was the one responsible for steering and he did a great job keeping us all safe in the rough conditions,’ she added.
The proud mum told me that their aim is to eventually get Brody competing in a V1 single person canoe and she said that in this category, competitors can travel the world. Not that I probably needed any convincing but Sandy and Brody are proof that families can become involved in sports together. That old saying, “The family that plays together stays together,” certainly rings true here.
As members of the Bribie Island Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club, Sandy and Brody are among the forty paddling enthusiasts who have joined since the club was founded almost eighteen months ago. Club President CC Wilson told me recently that with the club growing at an incredible rate, the main priority at the moment is finding funds for more canoes. ‘We have applied for various grants and funding from other organisations but there has been no answer as yet,’ CC said.
‘What we would like is for a few of the local businesses to come on board as sponsors,’ she added. The Mahalo club meets every Sunday at Sylvan Beach near the Bribie VMR and CC explained that anyone who is interested in trying the sport should come for a trial paddle. ‘We are there from 7.45 am and if someone wants to see if they like paddling, we will send them out with one of the canoes,’ CC said. ‘We offer anyone who is interested in three free trial paddles and then, if they want to keep going, they go into a beginner’s program,’ she explained.
Information about either the Bribie Island Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club or the Bribie Island Sailing Club can be obtained by calling 0490 471 930. If anyone would like to give Brody a start in a job that is in some way related to the construction industry or perhaps knows of a suitable venue for Sandy to run her gymnastics classes, please contact them through The Bribie Islander.