Kayakers set the pace in gruelling 111km event

Posted 27th October 2015

Paddlers from three Armidale schools relished the challenge of the 111km overnight Hawkesbury Canoe Classic on 24-25 October, and raised more than $30,000 for charity in the process.

The Armidale School team, comprising 69 paddlers from TAS, PLC and NEGS, kayaked by moonlight and faced incoming tides and fog in the event, which goes from Windsor to Brooklyn Bridge.

First home for TAS were Year 10 duo Liam Donaldson and Sebastian Scott in a time of 11 hours, 53 minutes and 13 seconds, more than two hours faster than the 13 hours and 3 minutes they completed the race in last year.

“We were aiming for a personal best time, and we really pleased to get that,” Sebastian said.

“In some ways it was harder this year because we knew what we were in for – but paddling conditions were really pretty good, and we got in before a fog made it trickier for some of the boats after us to navigate through.”

TAS crews added another record to the Hawkesbury Classic books, with Dominic Pilon (TAS) and Dakotah Love (PLC) setting a record for the Long Rec 2 Mixed junior class, finishing in 17:50:02.

First time paddler Hugh Worsley, who with partner Sam Cannington completed the race in just over 13 hours, said it was a true endurance event.

“It was very draining – at some parts I just wanted to give up, but you try not to stop too much, used the currents when possible, and keep your partner going,” he said.

The TAS contingent was not just the largest team in this year’s event, but made up 20 percent of all paddlers. Included in the team were eight father/son entries, six father/daughter crews and one mother/daughter combination. Together they also raised more than $30,000 for the Arrow Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation. TAS students have paddled in every Classic except the first two.

Click on the race start photo to go to Tim Scott’s gallery of images of the lead up to the event.


TAS team boats were in the lead at the start of this year’s event


Sebastian Scott has his boat scrutineered by a race volunteer prior to Saturday’s Hawkesbury Canoe Classic


Henry Coldham gives the thumbs up before the race