Botany Bay 20 Groynes Event Paddle Clubs | County Leader of St George and Sutherland

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It was not an official race, but every community paddle still has a “first past the post”.

That was the idea behind the creation of the 20 Groynes of Botany Bay event, which is organized annually by the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club and Dolls Point Paddlers, supported by the sport’s governing body, PaddleNSW.

It’s an excuse for a very competitive group of racers to get together and have fun with the organizers welcoming paddlers from all over Sydney.

Held this year in early January, the event uses the physical rock barriers intercepting moving sand along the Botany Bay shoreline as navigational markers.

Starting at Lady Robinson Beach, outside the Georges River 16ft Sailing Club, they follow the groynes to Botany Bay until they reach the fifth groyne, then return to the start in the Georges River.

They repeat this loop as many times as they can in four hours.

Laps are 4km and paddlers can compete alone or as part of a relay team. Most competitors use ocean skis, but there were several outrigger canoes and a brave soul in a kayak designed for use in flat water, not the swell Botany Bay provided that day.

“Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, it wasn’t a very big field this year,” said event director Mark Sundin.

“For most of the week, the weather forecast was not too favorable which, combined with the current COVID situation, limited the numbers.

“But while the field was small, they made up for it with enthusiasm, with four paddlers challenging for the Queen of the Spikes title and four for the King of the Spikes title. There were five relay teams battling for the Multi Groynes Trophy .”

At the end of the four hours, local paddler Michael McKeogh of Cronulla Sutherland Kayak Club claimed the King of the Groynes title, having completed 10 laps (40.7 km) in three hours and 55 minutes. He also set the fastest single lap of the day, covering the 4.07km in 21 minutes.

Katherine Collings of SSCC finished second in the Queen of the Groynes title with eight laps (32.6km), coming home behind Naomi Johnson of Lane Cove River Kayakers, who won with a time of three hours and 48 minutes.

The Multi Groynes title winners were a team of SSCC-Gareth Stokes, John Denyer, Mark Moro and Jason Hodder who completed nine laps in three hours 36m.

Organizers hope next year’s event will attract many more attendees. Anyone interested in taking part should check out the club’s website (https://shirekayaking.paddle.org.au/) later this year or follow Sutherland Shire Canoe Club and Dolls Point Paddlers on Facebook.

The clubs will host two more Paddle NSW events this year: the Woronora Marathon on July 17 and the Dolls Point Classic on August 7.

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