Lifestart Kayak for Kids 2010 Post-Event Report

200 boats to raise $200,000!

Sunday 28 March saw the third edition of Lifestart Kayak for Kids take place in Sydney Harbour. Like in the past couple of years, the weather gods were smiling on the event and the day started with beautiful views on the Sydney CBD, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as paddlers busied themselves around Blues Point Reserve. After registering, getting their kayaks ready and getting briefed on the unfolding of events for the day and the safety procedures, the teams started of at 9:00AM sharp, covering the water with yellow plastic kayaks laden with trios of yellow-bibbed paddlers. Some were going to paddle the whole distance to Clontarf Beach, a whooping 17.5km, while others were relaying the course, swapping paddlers at one of the three transition areas: Little Sirius Cove in Mosman Bay, Clifton Gardens at Chowder Bay and Balmoral Beach. They did not stay in the lead for too long though as paddlers who had brought their own paddling craft, from outrigger canoes to surf skis, and sea kayaks to sit-on-tops left on their heels at 9:32AM with the firm intention to overtake them before the first transition area!! The course kept on hugging the Northern shore line of Sydney Harbour, with lighthouses, protected coves and quiet beaches, rock shelves covered with lush vegetation, until it hit dreaded Middle Head. This is typically where the swell and wind coming from the Tasman Sea through the opening of Port Jackson is the strongest and, in the past, it has put even seasoned paddlers in tricky situations! But that day, paddlers were greeted by a rather middle chop which made the rounding of Middle Head into Middle Harbour more pleasant. Balmoral Beach and its myriad of boats moored in its bay made an interesting maze for kayaks to manoeuvre through before they pushed for the final stretch across to Grotto Point and to the landing at Clontarf Beach.

As the chicken kebabs were grilling and kids were jumping up and down in their castle at the finish area in Clontarf Reserve, the first paddlers made their appearance, running up Clontarf Beach after dropping their boat on the shore. The fastest at this game were Mike Snell & Matt Blundell on a double surf ski completing the course in 1:13:24, beating last year’s record of 1:26 by Team SleepMonsters. The first team of 3 through was Team Sydney Ultrasound for Women 1 in 2:04:19 and the first relay team was Team Jonah & the Whales in 2:12:30.

But this day was not just about paddling, but also about recognising the fundraising efforts of the participants! To date over $175,000 have been raised for Lifestart’s early intervention programs for children with an intellectual disability or developmental delay. The winner of the Lifestart Challenge Cup – a weighted mix of fastest paddling time and most funds raised – was Team Mumble & Maddox with a total fundraising on the day of $13,746, an achievement to be proud of!

An event of this proportion, in the heart of Sydney Harbour could not happen without the support of many, many people. Lifestart and organisers AROC Sport would like to thank the following people and organisations:
– The event’s Principal Sponsor Trust Company; the event’s Major Sponsor Baiada; PaddleNSW and Manly Council, both event Supporters; the following Product Sponsors: Solution, Dagger, Vibram FiveFingers, Aquapac, SmartShade by Gasmate, Wallaby Bars, Nutrient Water & the NutrientWater Response Team, Sustagen and Banana Boat; products & prize donations from: Franklin’s, Segafredo, Fresh for Kids, AFN, Mars Food, Unilever and Nestlé.
– Those who helped us promote the event: Water Magazine, SleepMonsters, 2UE radio, Blast Paddlers, Australian Outrigger website, PaddleNSW, Australian Canoeing, OZPaddle, Fat Paddler website, OceanPaddler website & the Bridge to Beach event, the YMCA Murray Marathon, the Hawkesbury Classic and many, many more.
– Our safety volunteers on water: Manly Kayak Centre (Craig, Roy, Will & Alex); Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association (Michael, Peter and the crews); Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol (Tony, Peter and the crews); the following Surf Life Saving Clubs: Warriewood (Rob & Daniel), Queenscliff (Jayson) & Collaroy (Clive) and North Bondi (Graham); Manly Sailibility (Eli, Peter and his crew); Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club (Jackie), PaddleNSW kayakers: Robert, Phil, Steve, James, Mark & Rhiannon and Tom, Charles and Alasdair Mott, Malcolm & Lyndal Graham, Karen and Shannon Gallagher.
– Our volunteers on land: Francis Cheng, Joshua Gordon Carr, Craig Shapiro, Evan Richmond, Toula Preketes, Keryn Donovan and Liza Tazewell from Macquarie; Margaret and Lindsay Woolveridge, Carol and Sam Sproats, Nurul Rahman and Lenore Plummer from Trust; Cheryl McPherson, Kim and Peter Teale, Kay Minchin, Chantelle Sylvester, Vicki Henry, Ben Weatherhead, Margaret Debono and Nikki Sharp from Baiada; Brooks Wilson, Liz Legget, Fiona Phipps, Catherine Lindsay, Heather Morse, Kerry Dominish and Sue Becker from Lifestart; Emilie Waiss-Rouleau, Kelly Thornbury, Jean-Marie Verrier, Ian, Nan and Elisabeth Landon-Smith.
– AROC Sport’s dedicated staff: Chris, Dave, Finn, Dylan, Steve, Tim, Andrew, Ashley Ryan and Libby, Georgia and Alex.
– The authorities involved: Manly Council, Mosman Municipal Council, North Sydney Council, NSW Maritime, HMAS Penguin and HMAS Kuttabul.
– And last but not least: Roger, Robert and Karen from PaddleNSW for scrutineering, Alex Francois for the photography, Helen and Alyce from Plaza Films for the video, Dez and his Blast Paddlers crew of Stephen, Sam and Brett + many others who did timing, Lions Club of Manly who grilled kebabs for hours, Jim and the Manly Fire Station for coming with their fire truck, John from St John Ambulance, Tony Hystek from PaddleNSW for providing material for the event, Peter Miller and Alexandria Park Community School for the bus for Lifestart families and staff, Manly Mayor Jean Hay for supporting the event for the past couple of years and coming down to the event hub to speak and Shelley Oates-Wilding for being such an inspiration to the paddlers both at the start and the finish and a fantastic supporter of the event.