Rowers’ massive help

November 24, 2017

Darryl Sutton and Andrew Miles during the Massive Murray Paddle. Photo by Luke Hemer.

COMPETITORS in this year’s Massive Murray Paddle arrived in Echuca-Moama on Wednesday afternoon in the middle of their gruelling five-day paddle from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill.

Day three saw the hundreds of entrants travel 78km down the mighty Murray from Picnic Point to Echuca, an easier day in comparison to the combined 187km on days one and two.

First in to the Victoria Park boat ramp was outrigger double relay team Dilligaf — which stands for ‘Do I Look Like I Go Awfully Fast’.

As it turned out, the four-man team led by Daryl Sutton indeed did go pretty quickly, and the captain was thrilled with a great day on the water.

‘‘It was good; conditons were great, the river was flowing, there was a little bit of breeze but the rest of our Dilligaf team put in pretty well,’’ he said.

‘‘Each leg today was good. And hopefully the river will still be flowing pretty well when we get up to Torumbarry because normally it backs up.’’

One of four teams under the Dilligaf umbrella, Sutton said the family environment of the event made it worth it.

‘‘We’ve got a good crew — a good family crew,’’ he said.

‘‘My daughter is paddling with me, we’ve got a father and son, and a next door neighbour. We had great support from the banks all the way in, there were people cheering us on all the way.’’

Next in was an Echuca team — father and son double canoe team Racy McQueen.

Gary Creed, who paddled with son Tyler, said they’d put the time in training to produce good results for the marathon.

‘‘We built up to it,’’ Gary said.

‘‘You don’t walk into these things. You train hard for it and we averaged 11.3 for the day and that’s better than what we thought we were going to come in at.

‘‘It’s for a good cause, and we’ve done two marathons so far (this year and last year). It’s just good fundraising.

Tyler was pumped a push late in the day had seen them pass a number of more-fancied competitors, including a four-man kayak.

‘‘It was really hard towards the end, the first part we started at the back of the pack and we came all the way from there to first, but then we got passed and dropped to second towards the end,’’ he said.

‘‘But we passed everyone we wanted to get, and to pass a (four-man kayak) — that’s really hard to do.’’

The event saw canoes, kayaks, surf skis, outriggers and even stand-up paddleboards make the marathon trip.

The near 400 comeptitors got back on the water Thursday morning with the race heading to Torumbarry, and drove 90km to Murrabit for the night. Friday will see them paddle the remaining 77km to Swan Hill.

The event raised more than $100,000 to support local community groups in 2016, but is well on track to pass the figure in 2017.

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