Great Alpine Road Visitor Guide

GREAT ALPINE ROAD VISITOR GUIDE | PAGE 73 LAKES ENTRANCE A fun Lakes event for all kinds of paddlers Considered Victoria’s premier gathering of water-based paddle craft, the annual Gippsland Lakes Paddle Challenge is happening on Saturday, 4 May 2024, raising important funds for Lakes Entrance Surf Life Saving Club. The event gives all participants the chance to share in a number of ‘lucky draw’ prizes, all generously donated by sponsors big and small. Bigger and better According to event organiser, Paul King, last year’s Paddle Challenge attracted more than 150 competitors who – despite wet and cold conditions – completed the event “with big smiles”. “Competitors described it as well organised, with a strong emphasis on water safety on the day, and one of the best Paddle Challenges ever!” Paul said. “The 2024 Paddle Challenge promises to be bigger and better than ever, with more than 200 paddlers of varying ages and skill levels expected to take part.” Many paddle craft options Paddle craft eligible to participate in the 2024 Gippsland Lakes Paddle Challenge, include surf skis, outrigger canoes, ocean racing skis, sit-on and sit-in kayaks, Hobie kayaks, sea kayaks, stand-up paddle (SUP) boards, prone paddle boards, canoes, surf boats, St Ayles skiffs, and coastal rowing boats. Two courses The 27-kilometre challenge (elite paddlers) begins in Paynesville, while the 13km challenge (recreational paddlers) sets-off from Metung, with all paddlers eventually mixing to finish at Lakes Entrance. Mates Challenge The popular ‘Mates Challenge’ Category, which follows the 13km Metung course, can be contested on any two-person paddle craft, and participants can be as young as 10 to 15 years of age (if paddling in the same craft as an adult). All other categories start at 15 years of age. Nature in abundance Paul said competitors are likely to spot an abundance of wildlife on the Lakes, which might include all kinds of sea birds - ranging from swans to sea eagles - as well as seals and “maybe even our own local pod of Gippsland Lakes Burrunan dolphins”. Watercraft hire Those who are keen to participate, but don’t have their own water craft, can hire one. “There will be two-person sea kayaks and two-person sit-on kayaks available for hire,” Paul explained. “These are extremely stable and come complete with paddles, life jackets and free paddle sessions prior to the event.” Surf skis and SUP’s are also available, with all hire craft delivered to the start line and collected at the end. Safety first Water safety is a priority for organisers, with 10 rescue craft spread over the course, and contingencies in place for reversing, relocating or rescheduling in the event of adverse weather. Presentations Place and lucky draw prize presentations - as well as light refreshments - will be happening at the Lakes Entrance Surf Life Saving Club following the event. Register now Online registration for the 2024 Gippsland Lakes Paddle Challenge opens on Monday, 12 February 2024 and closes on Sunday, 28 April 2024. To register or find out more, visit the event website at and follow the Paddle Challenge Facebook page for event updates. The annual Gippsland Lakes Paddle Challenge raises important funds for the Lakes Entrance Surf Lifesaving Club. CHALLENGE THE LAKES VICTORIA’S PREMIER PADDLE EVENT 4th 4 MAY 2024 MAY 2024 Presented by Surf Life Saving Lakes Entrance • SUP & Prone Paddle Board • Surf Ski • Canoe • Outriggers • Hobie, Sit on Top & Sea Kayak • Surf Boats PAYNESVILLE 27KM - METUNG 13KM to PB16597