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Paddle or sail to new event

By Mark Beale

IT’S the ultimate water event in the Whitsundays and so far about 15 people have signed up to take part in the inaugural Whitsunday Stand Up Paddle Challenge.

This exciting new event, which is the brainchild of Whitsunday Escape’s Wesley Cole and Trevor Rees, is designed to promote the region and the already popular sport.

Mr Cole, who is himself a keen stand up paddle-boarder, said the race would officially begin this Sunday, May 17 and would be held over six days at different locations within the Whitsundays. Nara Inlet, Tongue Bay, Whitehaven and South Molle Island will all form the stunning backdrops for this first-time challenge

Those participating compete in four different races accompanied by their families and friends on board their own or chartered sailing or motor yacht. Mr Cole said while he would have loved to have seen double the amount of people sign up, he was still very excited about the event.

“It’s something really new and exciting. It’s really going to be a fun event,” he said.

Mr Cole said SUP wasn’t a hard sport to learn, with the challenge offering the opportunity for both experienced and amateurs to test their skills.

“(It’s) open to anybody,” he said, adding the number of people to be seen out on the water on their stand up paddleboards in the Whitsundays was increasing.

“It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world.”

The challenge’s final day on May 23 will be held off Airlie Beach and Mr Cole has put the call out for everyone to come along.

“If you can’t get away for the week, then on Saturday we’d like to see as many people as possible to help support this event,” he said.

For more information or to register for the event, go tohttp://www.whitsundaysupchallenge.com.

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