WATERSPORTS: Former Yamba ironman Fergus Liddle has put one hand on the Clarence 100 Cup with a blistering first leg of the 100km paddle from Copmanhurst to Grafton.
Now competing for the Mooloolaba Paddlers in southeast Queensland, the 54-year-old paddler finished the first leg in a blistering three hours 31 minutes - almost eight minutes ahead of next fastest Ian Craig.
Former Olympic paddler and Clarence 100 female record holder Denise Cooper was the first female to finish the opening leg touching down at the Prince St boat ramp in a touch over three hours 41 minutes.
Clarence 100 organiser Ben Sullivan said the competitors had gotten the perfect start to the day with a clear blue sky overhead.
"The weather really turned it on for us today,” he said. "It was perfect conditions for paddling, now just need to hope it holds out for the rest of the weekend.”
Paddlers will resume their 100km journey to Yamba today with the second leg leaving the Prince St boat ramp at 7am.