From when the Bribie Island Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club was founded almost two years ago, outrigger canoeing has become popular with many within the local community and club membership has increased accordingly, with a number of keen paddlers successfully competing in a number of events throughout the region. As is to be expected, when a club is seen to be achieving these type of results, it attracts the attention of others in the sport and that usually inspires them to check out what the club has to offer, as was the case on a recent Saturday at Sylvan Beach.
Featured Image(above): Assembling at Sylvan Beach for the inaugural regatta
In ideal weather conditions, the Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club hosted a visit by members of the Polynesian VA’A-Alo Outrigger Canoe Club and this was regarded as something special as it was the first time that another club had paid a visit to the local paddlers. During the morning, I had the opportunity to catch up with visiting club member Eddie Jensen who told me that the Shorncliffe based club which was founded about three years ago and now has over forty members is concentrating on promoting the sport whenever the opportunity arises. ‘We are attempting to get interest from the schools because, as is the case with all sports, the future is with the young,’ said Eddie.
I had the chance to chat with visiting outrigger canoe enthusiast, Eddie Jensen
‘At our club, we are slightly more traditional than others, with our canoe outriggers being secured with lashings instead of the new clip-on method,’ he explained. Eddie also pointed out that whilst outrigger canoeing originated in the island nations such as Polynesia and Micronesia due to their need to commute over the water, some of the old ways relating to navigation by the stars are being lost and consequently, there is now a move to revive that tradition. Along with the Mahalo Club members, the fifteen visiting Shorncliffe paddlers made the most of the calm Pumicestone Passage waters during the morning.
On the same weekend, as the Polynesian VA’A-Alo Outrigger Canoe Club came to the Island, the Mahalo Club’s associates at the Bribie Island Sailing Club held their inaugural local regatta, attracting entries from eighteen boats which attended from as far away as Bundaberg. Club Commodore Barry Coulson told me that Judy O’Donoghue towing her boat “Blue Heeler” from Bundaberg, Chris Eldridge sailed “Alyth” up from Manly for the event which consisted of a race on the Saturday which included a BBQ lunch at Mission Point and then a short event on the Sunday.
Members of the two clubs enjoyed a morning on Pumicestone Passage
‘I would like to thank all those who helped to make the weekend possible. Tony Swinscoe and Warren Robertson who manned the start/finish boats, Alan Dossel and Jana made sure that all were fed at Mission Point and Meredith at the Pacific Harbour Marina provided berthing for the visiting boats,’ said Barry. ‘Without them all and also Doug Wilson who supported us with his photographic skills, there would not have been a regatta,’ he added. The Bribie Island Sailing Club and The Bribie Island Mahalo Outrigger Canoe Club are both a part of the Bribie Island Boating Club, operating from their compound beside the Bribie VMR on Marine Parade.
Both clubs hold regular club days as well as inviting anyone who is interested to come along for a look. For more information on either club, the website https://www.bribieislandboatingclub.org.au offers the appropriate links. To make contact by phone, 0490 471 930 is the number to call.