More than 100 stand up paddleboard, prone and surf ski paddlers will tackle the The Impossible Ocean Paddle from Torquay to Barwon Heads next weekend in a battle of the fittest.
Competitors in the eighth annual downwind race will be hoping for south westerly winds to help push them across the 18km course from Fishermans Beach in Torquay, past Breamlea and to the finish line in Barwon Heads.
In the event of a north-easterly wind, the course can be reversed, with the race then beginning in Barwon Heads and heading back to Torquay.
During the long-distance race, paddlers can reach speeds of 20 kilometres on the unbroken swells out beyond the surf zone and will he hoping to break stand up paddle board time records held by Hawaiian Robert Stehlik (men’s division, 1hr 51mins) and Jean Ringrose (women’s division 2hr 15 mins).
Event organiser Pete Currie from South West Race Management said it was exciting to have the race back and that organisers were hoping for a strong showing in 2022.
“[The entries] are going really well, and we know that we will get half our entries in the last week when people see what the weather is doing.
“We’ve had a variety of conditions in the past few years, we love the south-westerly winds, but we’ve never had to change to an alternative course, conditions have never been that bad.”
“We encourage everyone to come down and have a look.”
The race is scheduled to commence in front of the Torquay Yacht cCub, Fishermans Beach, Torquay at 9.50am for SUPs and 10.30am for skis, which will be 90 minutes after the low tide, giving paddlers plenty of depth over the bombora reefs offshore.
Plenty of prizes will also be up for grabs on the day including a night at the Amora Hotel on Bridge Road in Richmond, two six-month memberships at Anytime Fitness, and two $50 vouchers for the Barwon Heads Hotel.
Transport to and from the race be organised through Wave Rider shuttle bus, which will have a trailer and bus service to ferry paddlers to the start line on the morning of the race.
The bus will pick up at Barwon Heads (Torquay if the race is reversed) on the morning of the race and transfer to the start line. The cost $15 per paddler, paid on the day.
Craft must be loaded by 8.40am for an 8.50am departure. Book through Pete at Wave Rider on 0459 149 447.
More event information here.
Surf Coast Times story here.
Photo credit: The Impossible