The Wavemasters Outrigger Canoe Club is counting down to one of the season’s biggest racing events.
Outrigger canoe teams from Rockingham, Mandurah, and the South West will take part in the annual Monkey’s Relay on Saturday, February 16 at Koombana Bay.
In its eighth year, the relay will feature around 125 participants.
Teams will be tasked with completing four, five-kilometre laps of the course.
Wavemasters Outrigger Canoe Club coach Connie Hughes said she was thrilled to be involved in this year’s event.
She said the relay would benefit all junior and senior competitors.
“The event will give people a feel for what canoe racing is actually like,” she said.
“We could have up to 11 canoes all vying to get to that first marker.
“We are trying to move forward and get some more people into the sport.
“The club has been fostering junior development since 2011. This is the second year that we’ve had kids classed as open-age members.
“We’ve got 14 to 18 year olds paddling with adults.”
Gathering at the Bunbury Yacht Club on Cobblestone Drive, the club trains on Tuesday and Thursday evenings each week.
The club currently has 12 to 15 adults and 16 junior wavemasters.
The group also acknowledges the sport’s ties to New Zealand and Polynesia.
Hughes encouraged all community members, from ages eight to 90+, to give it a shot.
“It is a very social sport and you can make friends wherever you go,” Hughes said.
“The club has senior, gold, and platinum masters competitors.
“We try to take everyone, from all of the age groups, out onto the water.
“It is a fairly hardcore sport. If you want something that’s challenging and exciting, this is perfect.”
Training for sprints and marathons, the club regularly enters teams into state, national, and international competitions.
Last year, a group of junior wavemasters headed over to Queensland to compete in the Trans-Tasman Gubbi Gubbi Waka Ama.
The event saw them compete against top-tier teams from New Zealand and Polynesia.
Earlier this month, a handful of paddlers – representing Geographe – picked up medals at the Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association’s National Sprint Titles.
Along with carrying out its many duties, the club is preparing for the Wavemasters Geographe Classic on Saturday, April 6.
Interested in joining the Wavemasters Outrigger Canoe Club? Head to facebook.com/Wavemasters/ for more information.