Paddle power for hell of a good cause
DESPITE the varying degrees of exhaustion, organiser of the first Maclean Outdoors Hell On Water Tony Keogh said it was a fantastic adventure.
Over four days, the team of 15 keen paddlers made their way from Grafton to Iluka, raising funds for the Northern Rivers Region Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service along the way.
"It was a brilliant event, absolutely fantastic," Mr Keogh said.
"The scenery, the wildlife with pelicans and black swans, we had some close encounters with dolphins on a couple of occasions too.
"Everyone had a lot of fun, there was laughter the whole way down which was incredible."
Mr Keogh said everyone who took part wanted to be involved in the adventure.
"For most of us, this was the first time doing this sort of thing," he said.
"At least four people don't even own a kayak, they just wanted to be a part of something fun and different, and raising money for the rescue helicopter was a big draw-card as well."
Mr Keogh said Melissa Howlett, who was one of the kayakers, was so keen she wanted to keep paddling to New Zealand.
"All of the paddlers I know had a great time and worked hard, but they constantly had their hand in their pocket for other things along the way," he said.
"They're all a fantastic and pleasant bunch of people to work with which makes all the difference. Even if they were grimacing in pain there was a smile behind the pain."
Mr Keogh said this year's event was a trial run to see if the paddle would be successful.
"For the first time it was really just to work out the logistics and then open it up to the general public, everyone who took part in it were guinea pigs this year to test the logistics of actually running the event," he said.
The event is an offshoot from the Hell On Wheels mountain biking event, which also raises money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.