Masters of the paddle
Kayaking through the dark and cold of a Tasmanian winter might not seem like much fun, but for a group of Hobart paddlers it has resulted in 32 medals, including 16 national titles, at the recent Australian Masters Games. Going by the name "Moving Targets" the hardy group pride themselves on their team spirit and motivation to go training year-round in all sorts of conditions on the Derwent River.
Coached by former Australian representatives Ben Maynard and Sam Norton from Next Level Kayaking, the group of predominantly masters age paddlers have enjoyed a breakout year. In March, group member Roz Barber won silver and gold at the Australian Marathon Kayak Championships in Penrith, NSW. In July, four paddlers raced at the Mauritius Ocean Classic, and in September group member Andrew Fuglsang competed in the Maraamu Classic in Bora Bora, French Polynesia. Both events are part of the World Surfski Series. Also in September, Barber was announced as a finalist in the Australian Canoeing Masters Paddler of the Year awards. Over the last two weeks, nine group members have participated over five Masters Games events held at Lake Barrington and on the North West coast. The group regularly travels to club and state-level events as well.
Maynard puts this year's success down to consistent improvement since 2014, when the group was founded.
"We try and provide an environment where people from all walks of life can come along, learn to paddle, keep fit, develop their skills, have fun and make friends".
"Over time, as paddlers have advanced, we've created a pathway of groups, ranging from social & recreational paddlers all the way up to competitive paddlers".
"The pathway has started working really well this year, and the next step is to appoint more coaches to spread the workload, bring in new ideas, and work with younger paddlers too".
"Some paddlers do every single session, while others enter the group in the lead-up to their important events”.
Barber, who learnt to paddle only four years ago and won her division at all five Masters Games events, said that the support and friendship of the group helped her maintain a balance of work, life and exercise.
"During the week we train in the morning at 6am and in the evening at 5.30pm, so in autumn and winter it's totally dark".
"We use lights, high-vis clothing, put lots of warm layers on, and off we go".
"It's a great way to start or finish the day".
"We're a close-knit group who spur each other along".
Moving Targets paddlers will round out their year with the Surf Safari in Hobart and the Bluff 2 Bluff surfski relay on the North West coast during November. Group members will also tackle the World Series ranked Palm 2 Pines on Sydney's Northern Beaches in December, and the Australian Series ranked Great Ocean Paddle in Torquay, VIC, next February.
Moving Targets paddlers - Australian Masters Games:
Richard Lewis (multiple national titles, medallist)
David Pinch (multiple medallist)
Andrew Fuglsang (multiple national titles, medallist)
Travis Woods (multiple national titles, medallist)
Ben Maynard (multiple national titles)
Roz Barber (multiple national titles)
Steve Dineen (medallist)
Andrew Evans (multiple medallist)
Phil Watkins (multiple medallist)
Ben Maynard 0439 844 649 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About the event:
The Australian Masters Games (www.australianmastersgames.com) is one of the country's largest multi sport festivals, attracting around 6000 competitors across 40 sports.
Moving Targets paddlers training on the Derwent River (picture by Jordan Davis/The Shy Albatross)