Press Release – 8 April 2008

LIFESTART KAYAK FOR KIDS – post-event report

Under perfect weather conditions, close to 200 enthusiastic paddlers in 80 kayaks took part in the inaugural Lifestart Kayak for Kids event on Sunday 30 March on Sydney Harbour.   The event was a 21km paddle that was both challenging and extremely rewarding for all those who completed the course.  Whether they brought their single or double crafts, or relayed the distance in the provided 3-persons sit-on-top kayaks, all participants had a smile on their face when they crossed the finish line on Lavender Bay.
The day started beautifully and Manly Cove looked spectacular at 9.30am when a fleet of yellow kayaks began to make their way to the first transition area, paddlers finding their groove and settling into a rhythm. Half an hour later all the solo and double competitors took to the water to follow (and in many cases overtake!) the teams.
At around 11.30am, 1 hour and 34 minutes after they started, Vision Building, the first boat (and only double surf ski!) crossed the finish line.  As more kayaks arrived, friends and families, including Lifestart families, started gathering in larger numbers cheering on the paddlers and enjoying the perfect weather looking out over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.  3 Clowns, a Case of Beer & a Kayak, a team of local Mosman boys was the first team paddling a yellow 3-person kayak to finish the event in 2hrs 46min.  The final kayaks arrived after 4 hours and 20 minutes with Team Macquarie REGA who showed extreme resilience and courage as they paddled (some for the first time) in choppy water under the watchful eyes of fellow Macquarian and solo kayaker Beverly Baker and Lifestart CEO Bob Dewstow.
The event was in all regards a success.  For participants, it turned out to be indeed a great day on the water enjoying stunning views of the Harbour, including Balmoral beach, some of Mosman’s secluded coves, the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge; for all the Lifestart children and families who will benefit from the funds raised on this occasion, it will definitely be a better lifetime.  Close to $50,000 have been raised to date by participants and with the support of Macquarie Bank Real Estate.  Lifestart marketing director Katinga Schroeder said “this is an amazing show of support for our event particularly in the first year. We are very excited about the enthusiasm shown by the competitors and of course thankful for their wonderful fundraising effort.”  Best fundraising team on the day of the event was Team On Ya Mark 1! with $6,560 and best individual fundraiser was Roger Marshall with $1,045.  Fundraising prizes will be announced after 10 April, but online donations are open until 27 April.
Lifestart programs provide much needed ongoing therapy sessions for the rapidly increasing numbers of children living with Autism and other disabilities in the Sydney region.
Results are as follows: in the solo sea kayak category, 1st male was Malcom Bradley in 2hrs 19min, while on the women’s side, 1st place went to Pat Thompson in 2:41.  In the single surf ski category, Matt Blundel finished 1st in 1:42, and Wendy Stevenson took out 1st spot in the female category in 2:32.  In double sea kayaks, the Mirage Boys (Simon Blumenthal & Duncan Ross) came out 1st male in 1:58, 1st mixed was Egos like Hairdos (Steven Hanley & Zoe Cameron) in 2:06 and the 1st female double was Team Ferrari (Sue Sommers & Suzanne Mikulski) in 2:16. First team of 3 in the male category was 3 Clowns, a Case of Beer & a Kayak (Josh Hart, Scott Connor & Werdna Llien) in 2:46, in the female category in 3:56 was Les Trois Amies (Ruth Chilton, Alison Saxton & Mary Evans) and in the mixed The ADCU Adventure Addicts (Sarah Robin, Dale Hooper & Rhys Jenkins) completed the course in 2:52. The first relay team (7 to 15 paddlers) was On Ya Mark 2! in 2:57. Finally, a special mention to 7-year old Mia Veitch and her 4-year old sister, Macy, from Team rub-a-dub-dub who paddled with their parents the full course: way to go girls!
Prizes from Solution, Dagger, Mion, Rudy Project, Zoot and Paqua were handed out at the award ceremony for winners and best fundraisers alike.  Thanks to Chirosports for providing much-needed massages and spinal checks to participants at the finish, and to Constant Security Services for watching over the kayak safety compound.  Endura kept paddlers hydrated and Ducks Nuts provided snack packs to everyone.  Franklins donated refreshing fruit to thirsty finishers.  Event organisers wish to thank those who made this event possible in such an iconic location: Manly, Mosman and North Sydney Councils as well as NSW Maritime.  And a huge, huge thank you to the many volunteers who helped out on the day and to the following organizations for their support regarding water safety on the course: Manly Boat and Kayak Centre, OzPaddle Rosebay, Manly Sailability, Manly 16ft Sailing Club, Pacific Sailing Club, Woollahra Paddling Club, the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association, the NSW Fire Brigade, and the following Surf Life Saving Clubs: North Bondi, Warriewood and Queenscliff.  The event simply wouldn’t have been possible without them!
Save the date for the next Lifestart Kayak for Kids: Sunday 29 March 2009!