Flashes from the Past

From a small group of people gathering around a BBQ table at Dave Fordham's house at Shelly Beach drinking and telling jokes and oh yes, calling a meeting to order somewhere along the way, talking about something or maybe nothing, to the organised official monthly meetings which actually achieve something, one must admit that we as a small club in a small community can stand tall and say, ‘My god! We made ten years'!

These have passed by with such speed that so many memories of our achievements and mischievous times have faded. Something like this is needed to document a very small number of achievements and tall stories that are held dear to different members of the club and also new members will be able to join in when we say, "do you remember the time".

There are so many to recall but here are just a few that we have put together.

 To go back when we first started or should I say Bob's commencement of pain. We would have to go back to 1991 when he came home one day and announced that Laurie Monson had asked him to go and have a fun paddle in a canoe of some sort on Sunday morning some time.
The canoe at this time was situated in front of the old ‘beach worx' hire.

This of course was the start of the "master baters" team. Bob Smith, Laurie Monson, Vic Dowd, Ian Neal, George Koza and Paul Cave steering.
The first regatta that they entered into was at the old fisherman's wharf on the Gold Coast for Northcliffe Club or should I say ‘that club', where they went out through the spit into what we thought at the time to be huge seas and survived!

Great excitement and tall stories were told for months after that until they hit the National Titles at Noosa and they wondered what the hell they were doing out there. Lots of crews pulled out and the odd heart attack victim from another club was rushed away but our boys didn't give in.  What guts, what determination or was it just that the waves were too big to attempt to come in? Those were the days!

The senior master men went on to achieve medals and points for the club and were the first club members to get a medal at the famous Hamilton Island regatta.  They became legends on the water for their paddling prowess and off the water for their fun loving rum drinking attributes.
Some of my favourite memories with outrigging would have to be the times spent paddling with the ‘mother huckers' as we were affectionately called. The original girls were, Rhonda Goldsmith, Linda Koza, Diane Monson, Margareta Dowd and Annette Mewah and myself. Once again we started in front of ‘beach worx' with the aim reaching the Urangan Pier, eventually. This we did achieve after about 2 months of pain. Vic Dowd was our first official coach and as he would always say when we lined up for a sprint. "Girls, just one minute of pain!"  Yeh right Vic!!

We had a few changes with team members over the years and paddled together for nearly 5 years with lots of emotions shared throughout those times. We paddled at the National Titles in Byron Bay with our hearts in our throats paddling around the infamous Black Rock where the week before a diver had been taken by a shark, in our thoughts. Our coach at the time was Glen Darlington one of the then open boys. He took us under his wing after the National Titles at Airlie Beach with the view of greatness by the following nationals.
Glen would sit on the back of the canoe during training (allowed back then) and encourage us. ‘Come on you women' he would say when he could finally feel the boat lift. Ever tried to lift a boat with 16 stone, 6ft6 male on the back? By rights we should have come within medal contention at the Nationals in Byron but alas this was not to be. Our coaches ruling of no hanky panky the night before the race of course caused this! Or so we reckon. Something to this day Glen will never live down. For some unknown reason Glen's ruling of no hanky panky was never followed again!

We continued to improve under the guidance of Glen and paddled around Hamilton Island that same year and made it! We were so elated with this achievement that Byron Bay was soon forgotten. We then decided that if we can take on Hamilton Island why can't we take on the world?

And that is just what we did.  1994 we entered the World Masters Games, which was held in Brisbane and with amazing success. We won bronze in both the marathon and sprint. We were elated.

We also had Bob to thank for this. His management skills and advice regarding the currents in that dirty river, his team meeting's at breakfast and the sacrifice of an evening timetable with team members to keep up their energy after the fiasco in Byron Bay was remarkable. What sacrifices this manager put him self through! These were wonderful times with great memories.

Our team then consisted of Trish Scanlon, Rhonda Goldsmith, Di Wilson, Wendy Robinson, Penny Brennan and myself as steerer. We paddled for a few more years but after nearly 5 years together decided that we had a pretty good innings.

Over the years we have had some wonderful and exciting times with paddling and of course socialising afterwards, made ever lasting friendships but nothing will ever compare to the night that we were honoured with life membership of Fraser Coast Outrigger Canoe Club. This was a night in our lives that we will never forget and one that we will hold very dear to our hearts forever.

The idea that Lou had 2 years ago of a ten-year reunion has finally come to fruition. To try and recall so many memories for this special occasion would not have occurred without her enthusiasm and eagerness. Thankyou Lou for all of your hard work to put this wonderful event together, full of trips down memory lane for every one and for your tireless efforts with other events that you put together during the year and past years. Without members like you our club would not have made it to the 10th year. Congratulations!

Yours in paddling forever.

Bob and Wendy Smith

Life Members