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The Rock-itt : March Rock-itt 2014
KAYAK KAMEO KAYAK KAMEO WITH JUSTIN PAINE WITH JUSTIN PAINE WITH JUSTIN PAINE Brisbane to Sydney – standing room only Have you noticed that stand-up paddling has become very popular? Wander along the foreshore of Narrabeen Lakes some time and watch all the young people standing up on their boards as they wield that ultra-long paddle and wend their way around the water. Matt Blundell at ProKayaks says SUPs now are a third of his rental business. There have been some quite outstanding achievements by these vertical paddlers in recent times. First they raised a few eyebrows by racing in the 111km Hawkesbury Canoe Classic. Then they began competing in Paddle NSW’s open water surf ski series. And in late December a stand-up astonished everyone by completing the challenging Murray Marathon – admittedly reduced from 5 to 4 days and 404km to 305km, mainly because of bushfire threats, but still incredible. But these efforts pale when compared to the 920km, month-long journey down the coast from Brisbane to Sydney by two men publicising Beyond Blue, a government- supported not-for-profit organisation working to increase awareness and understanding of depression and anxiety in Australia. They called it the Big Blue Paddle. Sydney doctor Tony Miller-Greenman and Perth lawyer Michael Leith, who is studying medicine, set out from Brisbane on Dec 27, hoping their trip would alert people to the knowledge that physical fitness and a nutritious diet can help prevent depression and anxiety. They carried satellite navigation equipment, medical kits, water backpacks and mobile phones with them on the water, and were met each night by a land support team. “Along the way we’ve seen a few hammerhead sharks but nothing too big. We try and block the thought of them from our minds but at the end of the day we’re in their domain,” Miller-Greenman said at one overnight stop. “Generally it’s just me and Michael out there. Every now and again we’ll have a sit and rest but we are standing up for most of the time.” A highlight was one 40km day when they saw a hammerhead, 120 dolphins and 4 turtles. The two 28-year-old health professionals paddled into Bondi Beach on schedule on Australia Day, Jan 26, and were met by recent high school graduate Alex Cooke, 18, who had run and walked from Melbourne to Sydney in support of the same cause. Above right: The two paddlers greet runner Alex Cooke at the Bondi finish. Below right: Michael Leith surfs into Bondi Beach to finish a 920km stand-up paddle down the coast from Brisbane.