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CLARENCE 100: Gruelling paddle for a good cause

READY AGAIN: Clarence 100 organiser Ben Sullivan emerges from the Clarence after last year's first leg.
READY AGAIN: Clarence 100 organiser Ben Sullivan emerges from the Clarence after last year's first leg. Matthew Elkerton

WATERSPORTS: When paddlers set off from Copmanhurst today in the cool early morning air, they will do so for the betterment of sport in the Clarence Valley.

That is the motivation behind the Clarence 100, the creation of former Clarence kid Ben Sullivan, who wants to see sport act in a positive way for the youth of the Valley.

"Obviously the purpose is to promote the community and promote the river but the real purpose is the money that we raise from participants' entry fees we are going to funnel back into sporting groups within the community," he said.

"That should help funnel our kids in our schools to become more active in sporting communities and then more active in their community in general."

This year will see the first installation of the fundraising with proceeds going to the Yamba Nippers program at the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club.

"I feel our kids don't place emphasis on sport like they used to," Sullivan said. "All the positives that sport has to offer kids get ignored now.

"Essentially that is our purpose - using the Clarence 100 almost as an event the kids can aspire to compete in in years to come."

If you happen to be on the Clarence River at Grafton around midday today you will see about 65 paddlers in all types of craft arrive after the gruelling first leg of the 100km paddle.

This weekend the Clarence River will host the second annual 100km paddle from Copmanhurst to Yamba which will be completed in three stages across the weekend.

Competitors will set off early in the morning for the first two days to ensure they arrive at the check point at about midday before setting off at the later 9am for Sunday's final leg.

Topics:  clarence river copmanhurst kayaking paddling