JOURNEY BEGINS: Paddlers in the water for the Hell on Water event.
JOURNEY BEGINS: Paddlers in the water for the Hell on Water event. Jarrard Potter

Paddlers take up challenge for Hell on Water

AFTER the success of last year's trial run, the Hell on Water four-day paddling tour launched into the Clarence River outside the Crown Hotel yesterday on their adventure downstream to Iluka, raising funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter along the way.

Event organiser Tony Keogh said this year there were 20 paddlers game enough to take on the challenge, and it was good to see some new faces.

"It's a good sized group, logistically after that it begins to be a bit of a problem," he said.

"The first year was fantastic, I just got a heap of mates to come and test the logistics of it, and it worked well so we thought we'd give it another shot.

"Almost all of the paddlers are new, we've opened it up to the public this year and I'm very impressed with the response."

Mr Keogh said he was pleased to be able to raise funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter after last year's success.

"Every cent goes to the helicopter, and all the paddlers pay money to come do the paddle and they pay for all their expenses and then donate $100 on top of that," he said.

"Then they've got to sell $50 of raffle tickets, and we'll do fundraising along the way. Hopefully if we can make $4000 that would be fantastic."

Leila and Mike Marron, from Maclean, are relatively new to kayaking but decided to give this year's event a go for the first time.

"We purchased kayaks about 18 months ago, and we've been doing little kayak trips ourselves, and then we did the Clarence 100 late last year which we joined in for one leg," Mr Marron said.

"We were telling Tony about the good time we've been having and he said why don't we take part in the Hell on Water, so we thought it sounded good.

"It's a great way to explore the water, we've been in the Maclean area for 18 years and we're realising while we're here we've got to explore the water.

The Hell on Water paddlers stopped at Ulmarra last night, before heading to the Bushgrove Hotel and Lawrence Hotel today, lunch at Maclean Hotel and onto the Harwood Sailing Club on Saturday before finishing on Sunday at the Sedgers Reef Hotel at Iluka on Sunday.



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