Tags: Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club. Queensland. Brisbane. Bribie Island
As a way of beginning this month’s edition of “On the Water,” it is only fair to say that Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club member Barry Ayres has probably spent more time on the water than anyone who has previously featured in this series, considering his nine years of service in the Royal Australian Navy. Having joined the RAN in 1964, Barry served some of his time on board the anti-submarine frigate “Paramatta” and he explained to me that during that time, the vessel was tasked with escorting the HMAS Sydney in and out of Vietnamese waters.
‘Although we were involved in the Vietnam War, I really don’t regard myself as a veteran,’ said Barry. ‘Those blokes who were on the ground getting shot at, they are the real veterans,’ he added. As well as his time on the “Paramatta,” Barry also served on a survey ship before returning to civilian life in 1973. The next chapter of Barry’s life saw him rise to middle management ranks as a Senior Lines Officer with Telecom and, after accepting a redundancy package, he spent the following seven years as a taxi operator.
‘You can only drive a taxi for a certain amount of time before you need to quit,’ Barry pointed out. ‘After I sold my taxi business, my wife and I made the decision to move to Bribie Island in 1998. I had visited the island many times when I was young,’ he said. As someone who has a passion for fitness and the water, Barry soon became a member of the Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club and from that time, he has been involved with many facets of the club’s activities over the last sixteen years.
He was Club Captain for two years, the Surf lifesaving Club President for two years and also President of the Supporters’ Club for another two year period. Barry described his love of rowing surf boats and explained that he has only recently given that away due to a problem with one of his knees. In recognition of his service to the club, Barry was made a Life Member in 2017. After the onset of his knee problems, Barry began to consider other ways to continue his passion for water activities as well as to maintain his level of fitness and, as luck would have it, the Bribie Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club had recently been founded, providing him with the ideal solution.
Barry has now attained the necessary qualifications to act as one of the Mahalo Club coaches and he told me that he regards outrigger canoeing as a great low impact sport which is suitable for all age groups. The Bribie Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club operates from their premises next to the Bribie VMR and their club days are on Sundays from 9 am. Anyone who would like to discover the enjoyment of outrigger canoeing is welcome to attend on the club days and for further information, those interested can call Mahalo Club President CC Wilson on 0418 450 701.