Great Alpine Road Visitor Guide

PAGE 58 I THE GREAT ALPINE ROAD VISITOR GUIDE 505 Esplanade, Lakes Entrance (03) 5150 5155 SAME DAY 6x4 Photo Prints Fuji Film Micro Lab at the Yeates Media Photo Lab, Lakes Post Location “On e Esplanade” LAKES ENTRANCE Victoria’s premier paddle event The Gippsland Lakes Paddle Challenge has become a signature event for the region. The 2019 event will be held on Saturday, May 4, when a variety of crafts power their way across the Gippsland Lakes. Its inaugural event in 2011 had 30 starters. It has since grown to become the largest multi craft type of event in Victoria with more than 150 paddlers on each of the last three years who have `challenged the lakes’ Crafts eligible to participate include surf skis, outrigger canoes, ocean racing skis, sit on top kayaks, hobby kayaks, sea kayaks, SUPS, prone paddle boards, surf boats and St Ayles skiffs. The 2019 event will also see canoes permitted to contest the Metung course. Paddlers come from across the country to paddle across Australia’s largest inland waterways and to support the Lakes Entrance Surf Life Saving Club’s annual fundraiser. Challenge the Lakes has two courses to suit both the elite and recreational paddler. The 27km challenge begins in Paynesville while the 13km challenge sets off from Metung with paddlers in each event mixing with each other from Metung to go on and finish at the iconic Lakes Entrance footbridge on the front lake. With a variety of categories and age sections there is a course suited for most paddlers. It truly is more than just a race. If you are fortunate enough you will be sharing the lakes with an abundance of wildlife with kangaroos and goats watching on from the water’s edge, bird life from above and swimming alongside a variety of marine fish including seals and the Gippsland Lakes’ Burrunan dolphins. It is an event that is capturing the hearts of all who participate. The Family Paddle Muster category, which follows the Metung course only, has been renamed to ‘The Mates Challenge’ to be contested on a two person sit-on- top kayak or you can paddle alongside your mate on your own single or doubles craft. Single and two person sit-on-top kayaks will be for hire. They are extremely stable and come complete with paddles and life jackets and free paddles sessions prior to the event. They will be delivered to the start line and collected at the end. You can also use your own craft for this category. Participants can be as young as 10 years of age if on a two-person sit-on-top kayak but must paddle with an adult. All other categories start at 15 years of age. A terrific pool of donated prizes will see every entrant go into a lucky draw to win a prize - no matter what place you finish in - with the major prize being a world class 10’6” inflatable stand up paddleboard. It comes complete with a backpack carry bag, pump and repair kit and is valued at $2000. It is very versatile and user friendly and just about any age can have a great time on it. The lucky draw, presentations and a spit roast meal will be held at the Lakes Entrance Surf Life Saving Cub following the event. Water safety is a priority with nine rescue crafts spread out over the course. Online registrations open on February 4, 2019, and close on April 29. All enquiries can be found on the event website or Facebook page. Visit the website for further details. Since its inaugural event in 2011, the Gippsland Lakes Paddle Challenge has grown to become Victoria’s premier paddle event.